ANNIHILATOR's JEFF WATERS Has Finished Three Solo Albums: I Wanted To 'Do Something Outside Of The Heavy Metal Thing'

February 1, 2024

In a new interview with The Metal Voice conducted at last month's NAMM convention in Anaheim, California, ANNIHILATOR leader Jeff Waters was asked if he is working on any new music. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "New music, yes, [but] not with ANNIHILATOR. I've been doing this ANNIHILATOR thing for… Well, it's 35 years now since I put my little first album out called 'Alice In Hell', and I'm just gonna do a show [with ANNIHILATOR at] a festival in Europe this year. But I've been working on what all us guys seem to wanna do when they wanna step away from a band they're in, is a solo project. So I got a solo thing I'm doing. I finished three records in the last three years. And that's coming out."

Regarding the musical direction of his solo material, Waters said: "I live in England. I've had a studio with my wife there for about six years. And just before [the coronavirus pandemic] hit, we brought in SSL exchange consoles and upgraded things and made it into one badass mixing studio. And then the thing hit. So I was kind of stuck with this beautiful studio and instruments and all this fun stuff. And I thought, 'Screw it. Now's the time to just get creative and do something outside of the heavy metal thing.' So it's more hard rock stuff. It's everything from disco to THE KNACK to KISS to, like, early stuff — hard rock, heavy metal, '70s, '80s, a bit of VAN HALEN, of course. So it's not groundbreaking, amazing new stuff [that's] gonna come out for me. It's more like a tribute in a way, in my own way."

Asked if he is singing on the whole album or if he has other vocalists guesting on it, Jeff said: "I got real singers. Stu Block, who was in ICED EARTH and INTO ETERNITY and all that, a fellow Canadian and a great singer, I tapped him. The deal with Stu was, I knew he was an incredible metal singer. And I know ICED EARTH tapped him in a few other things, but I could hear in him that he had everything from Michael Jackson, George Michael, into some bluesy stuff. But nobody's ever tapped him on that as a producer or a writer. So I said, 'Would you be interested in trying something different?' He was, like, 'I don't know. What do you mean?' And basically, you won't be able to know it's him. It's fantastic… He did a couple of the albums with me."

On the topic of when fans can expect the solo music to come out, Waters said: "I think the first [album] starts coming out, I think, summer. I don't know a lot of information because I decided to do something a little different. I tried to go with the first album to a few record companies, and it was, like, 'Oh, boy, this isn't the old days.' So instead of just trying to just let it go and let it get out there and know that nothing was really gonna happen, I tried a different idea, and I went to video game companies. And [I] thought, 'Hey, what if I did an album, or three, and gave you the album covers, gave you the booklets, gave you the trademark, the name of the band, the logo, and now you can have all three of them. It's gone. I don't get royalties, I don't get anything if it does well, but I want one paycheck.' And the second company I went to — without being a dick, we got more money from the video game company than I did in five or six ANNIHILATOR records. So somebody paid me to do a solo album more than my real band. They just paid the bills and it helped pay for that console I was telling you about."

ANNIHILATOR will celebrate the 35th anniversary of "Alice In Hell" by performing the album at an exclusive appearance at Topfest 2024 in Slovakia this June. Block will sing the entire LP. There will also be a few "best-of" songs that will include "hits" chosen by the fans.

Block can be heard on "Metal II", the reworked version of ANNIHILATOR's 2007 "Metal" studio album. "Metal II" also features former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo.

Founded in 1984, ANNIHILATOR took the metal scene by storm with "Alice In Hell", upped the ante with 1990's "Never, Neverland" and has continued a non-stop career-pattern of releasing records and touring with many of the biggest bands in the metal genre (mostly all outside North America),ever since, cementing ANNIHILATOR as the biggest-selling metal act in Canada's history.

"Alice In Hell" was the first of six ANNIHILATOR albums to feature songwriting contributions from the band's former singer John Bates, who was credited as the co-writer of the songs "Alison Hell", "W.T.Y.D.", "Burns Like A Buzzsaw Blade" and "Human Insecticide".

To promote "Alice In Hell", ANNIHILATOR supported ONSLAUGHT internationally on the "In Search Of Sanity" tour, and TESTAMENT in the United States on the "Practice What You Preach" tour.

"Alice In Hell" was re-released twice: in 1998 with three demo tracks as bonus tracks and again in September 2003 as part of a two-disc compilation set along with "Never, Neverland", titled "Two From The Vault".

Three years ago, earMusic announced a reissue series of (almost) the entire ANNIHILATOR catalog. In total, 18 records are being released over the next few years, including the original 2007 version of the "Metal" album.

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