JEFF WATERS On ANNIHILATOR's Longevity: 'I Really Love Doing What I'm Doing'

April 14, 2018

Finnish Heavy Metal Fans conducted an interview with mainman Jeff Waters of veteran Canadian thrashers ANNIHILATOR prior to the band's March 20 concert at The Circus in Helsinki, Finland, alongside TESTAMENT and VADER. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the psychological lyrical themes found on the band's new "For The Demented" studio album:

Jeff: "There's quite a few of those themes in there. Also, things that sometimes that appear a little bit like that are often just real-life things, things that happen to me that I see, or family members or friends. So, that can be anything from addiction to happiness to sadness to anger to depression, anything. It's a lot of the themes, for sure. Some are fantasy, weird, twisted things. Some are really important subjects, not a lot. On every album, there seems to be one or two, maybe more subjects that are really important."

On why he reassumed the role as ANNIHILATOR's vocalist, a position he originally held from 1994 to 1997:

Jeff: "I guess, our previous vocalist, Dave Padden, was in the band for about a dozen years. He was also the live guitar player. So, and a good friend. When he left unexpectedly, I was kind of shocked. I just didn't really think, I thought for maybe a week or two that maybe I will look for another singer. I thought, 'You know what? I need a bit of a challenge because playing guitar onstage, just guitar, is not really that difficult because that's what I love to do.' I play guitar. Playing guitar and singing is not easy. I'm not a great singer. I haven't been singing every year for 30 years like a lot of great singers have been, so I sort of look at it like a challenge. I thought, 'You know what? I did this for three albums; 'King Of The Kill', 'Refresh The Demon' and 'Remains' from '94 to '97.' I got lucky with 'King Of The Kill' being a great success. So, I thought, 'Well, I don't think it will happen again. I will do it again.' It saves me from having to find another singer. I did take it seriously and I worked very hard on the singing in the studio and this tour, I noticed, I'm getting better live. I had a lot of problems playing guitar and singing live and my voice, again, I'm not a great vocalist. I have to work hard. But, I'm actually getting better on this tour. I'm happy."

On whether ANNIHILATOR will ever play any songs from "All For You" (2004) and "Schizo Deluxe" (2005):

Jeff: "I think the problem is on the two albums you mentioned, 'All For You' is quite an underrated album. When it came out, it was a shock for a lot of people. Now, 10, 14 years later, people are going, 'I really like that one now!' But, the one most people agree that was sort of the underrated, one of the best albums, and I agree, was 'Schizo Deluxe'. The common things those had was Dave Padden was singing. And Dave was a fantastic singer. That makes it very difficult for me to play those songs live. I think, I would love to do the entire 'Schizo Deluxe' album live, but I'd have to find somebody else to sing. Part of that is because he has a different range, a much higher and bigger range, and he's a much better singer. But also, because to play guitar and sing that album would be impossible for, I think, even [Dave] Mustaine [MEGADETH] or [James] Hetfield [METALLICA]. It's a really difficult one."

On why ANNIHILATOR continues to tour and record after more than three decades:

Jeff: "Some people were saying that there was all speculation and when you look back, you could always change things. I always thought when I was younger, 'Well, if we started and put our first album 'Alice In Hell' out in '85, when it was finished,' I'd written the songs by '85, it would have been maybe a different half for us. Also, when you change singers, we had a very unique, I don't think any band in metal has done where the first four CDs from ANNIHILATOR had four different singers and 'Alice In Hell', 'Never, Neverland', 'Set The World On Fire', 'King Of The Kill', four different singers, four different styles of metal. The first one, 'Alice In Hell', was more like a thrashy album, 'Never, Neverland' had thrash and melodic [metal], 'Set The World On Fire' was totally melodic heavy metal and a little commercial hard rock in there and 'King Of The Kill' was traditional heavy metal, like [JUDAS] PRIEST, [IRON] MAIDEN, that kind of stuff. All four records were very successful in some countries in the world. If one of those albums was not popular in Finland or Sweden, it was huge in Italy. The first four were really big. I think a lot of people that was the reason we never got bigger, but I think that's the reason why we're still here because a lot of bands, as you know, most bands that were around in the '80s playing this kind of music are not here today. If they were, they are reuniting after 20 years, that kind of thing. I think that's why we're here is because fans know if they don't like this CD or this singer, they'll still check the next one out because they want to see what Waters is going to do next time. I think that's it. I think a lot of people understand I really love doing what I'm doing. Once you're honest and fans realize 'Well, maybe I don't like this album or this singer or this style of metal' that we do, they like some of it. I don't think there's people that hate all of the music, all of the music, all of the singers, I think it's always a war. 'I like this singer or I like that album' and people will argue over that on the Internet all the time. I think that's why we're still around. You never know what's going to happen."

ANNIHILATOR's 16th studio album, "For The Demented", came out on November 3 via Neverland Music/Silver Lining Music. The effort marked the band's first full-length release to feature bassist Rich Hinks and drummer Fabio Alessandrini. Like 2015's "Suicide Society", the new disc sees Waters handling all lead vocals.

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