Remembering When Manowar Brought Crushing Metal To Nickelodeon

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For a band, there’s no greater rush than playing a good gig. The energy between crowd and performer is total symbiosis, bordering on the religious for both entities. Live music is the high to end all highs.

Playing live on television is a bit of a different experience. Sure, it’s cool to know untold masses of people might tune into your performance and get turned on to your band, but unless the show is itself a live music event like Soul Train, Top Of The Pops, or American Bandstand, chances are good that the seated studio audience are not there for you at all. It might feel weird to play Saturday Night Live or The Tonight Show, but it can get much more surreal than that. 

Picture the following: The year is 1983. You turn on the television and there’s Manowar, Kings of Metal and Guinness record holder for loudest band in the world, are decked out in glorious fur and leather stage gear, belting out the titanic “Gloves Of Metal” with all of their hearts. The camera pans back as Eric Adams unleashes his final battle cry, revealing a studio audience in childlike wonder… because the audience is made up of ACTUAL FUCKING CHILDREN!

This is what happened when Manowar went on the Nickelodeon talk show Livewire to promote their sophomore album, Into Glory Ride. Hosted by Fred Newman of A Prairie Home Companion and the All New Mickey Mouse Club fame, Livewire was a topical talk show on the fledgling children’s network that was geared towards kids, teenagers, and their parents.

After the performance, Manowar is forced to engage into a hyper-awkward question-and-answer session with Newman, literal children, and their condescending parents. Joey DeMaio does all of the talking, and he takes the hits in stride. Here are some of the exchanges:

Newman: You are the band that parents love to hate; you gotta be. How has that affected your career?
DeMaio: It’s made us stronger. Our whole message is unity and we get a lot of positive reactions from kids.

Little Girl: When you do concerts do you lose out on money because of parents?
DeMaio: Parents that take the time to listen and see what the band is about are as positive as the kids, so we don’t lose money.

Newman: You’re great musicians–why heavy metal, what is it that you like about it?
DeMaio: It’s pretty much the only musical frontier left unexplored. Everything else has run its course, but Heavy Metal is still open to new ideas and sounds and creativity.

Old Guy: I don’t mind the style, though it’s not my style. But the volume, we’re gonna go deaf and not be able to hear it.
DeMaio: It’s not for everybody. Heavy Metal is Heavy Metal and it appeals to a select crowd. Volume is a part of it. We think it’s loud, but not noise.

Judgemental Reagan-Voting Parent: You preach unity but you sing about total defiance?DeMaio: You have to examine what the band is saying. We’re not saying you should look to us to find yourself; you should look to yourself to find yourself and you don’t have to have any heroes in the world except yourself and everybody is capable of accomplishing what they want through hard work, determination, perseverance and the will to win.

Little Boy:  I liked it; I like hard rock, but it was very loud. 

Singer Eric Adams reminisced about the experience in an interview with, saying: “I had a fucking nightmare the day we did it! I’ve got a story for you… this is true. The day we did that show, the TV show, I woke up and I had laryngitis. I couldn’t sing a note, I couldn’t even speak! So, I called up my publicist in NY and I told her… I whispered to her on the phone ‘I can’t talk, I can’t speak. I don’t know what’s going to happen!’ She was freaking out. She made an appointment with me to see a doctor in NY. She said ‘Just fly down here. You’ve got the show… it’s too important to pass up. Come down, anyway.’ So I went down to the show and while those guys were rehearsing at the Ed Sullivan Theater, where it was shot, I went right to a doctor’s office down there in NY and got a shot of prednisone up my ass just so I was able to speak. By the time I got to the Ed Sullivan Theater we had no rehearsals, nothing was happening, the cameras went on and we just went for it! That was weird! It was really out there!

That’s why Joey did all the talking on the interview part! The questions… they had some questions all lined up for the people there, I remember that! It was questions like your parents would fucking ask! It really took people by surprise, like ‘What the fuck is this guy talking about??’ It was fun, we had a good time!”

Check out the performance and interview HERE

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