Confirmed: New Annihilator Album Slated for October 2017

Annihilator founder Jeff Waters was recently interviewed by The Metal Voice. You can now listen to the entire chat above. During the interview, Waters confirmed that a new Annihilator album is slated for an October 2017 release. A few highlight-excerpts can be found below.

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On the new album:

Just finished my first song on vocals this afternoon.  It (the new album) should come out in October, if everything works fine.  We should be going out on a bloody-huge tour of Europe with a couple of killer, well known bands.  The new record started out in…well, earlier, writing riffs and stuff, but as far as writing and recording it was right after the 70 Tons of Metal (metal themed cruise) that we did in February.  It was three days off and right in to the whole full on process.  Initially the only plan I had was, ‘ok you gotta stop doing…’ something I like to do.  I love (James ) Hetfield, (Dave) Mustaine, Ozzy and Layne Staley…I’m not at the level of those singers, but those are the singers I like listening to, singing in the shower, you know what I mean, or in the car.  I had too much of that on the last record that I did.  It was too much of a fanboy… was like 65% fanboy 35% Waters.  Now I have sort of leveled it off with 75% me (laughs).  That was my plan, to get the vocals a little more on track.  So I was not going to worry about commercial, catchy choruses.  I thought screw it, forget the formulas that I had been leaning towards for the last ten albums…more.  What ended up happening is I thought the music started sounding a little like the first two records.  I also brought in another producer and writer on this one, co-writer of the music.  His name is Rich Hinks from the UK.  He’s actually our bass player for the last year.  After I met him and spent a year on the road with him, I realized this is the guy that I want to come in and kick my butt…he knows the band but he knows music and the studio as well, like me…but in a different way than me.

I am guessing the release date will be late October 2017, that’s what we’ve been talking about with the label.  But I will have the album finished before the Canadian tour.

On the possibility of joining Megadeth in 1989

The first contact I had with Dave (Mustaine)….I pretty well…..I didn’t almost faint but it was more like ‘whoa’. It’s ’89, we were on tour with Testament in the United States and Chuck Billy comes in my room and says ‘Mustaine’s on the phone’ and I’m like ‘right’, and he says again, ‘no, Mustaine is on the phone’. Of course, even then in those younger years, when Chuck Billy is standing over you at the edge of your hotel bed telling you ‘no, it’s Dave Mustaine get the phone’, you believe him. Dave was, by his own words, messed up back then, I was on booze at the time, just the beginning of my crazy drinking time. He essentially said, ‘listen, I got a couple of guys I want to talk to, but I wanted to talk to you first. I like your Alice in Hell album.’ I was blown away. I had to actually turn it down on the next phone call a day or two later, because I had just signed a deal with Roadrunner Records for a couple of albums and we just had the album explode. My manager said, ‘no, you can’t do it buddy, there’s no way’. So, I had to tell him (Mustaine) no and he hung up immediately and that was the last time I talked to him. I told him it was an honor but I guess it was….but he made the right choice, because he was eyeing a couple of other people and the best guy for the gig got that one, of course with Marty Friedman. With me, you might not have gotten Rust in Peace the way that everybody loved it.

On how the music industry has changed:

If you are out there all the time and have a catalog and keep doing the tour and the festivals, then you are worth something to someone in the business.    If you take away the fact that we have a catalog, we have a track record of ‘these guys are likely to sell’, they get the calculator out and they guess what we are going to sell in Europe and Japan and all that.  If you took that aside and we weren’t a band that has a track record or previous sales;  it’s a really tough, tough business to be in these days compared to the earlier days.  I’m lucky because I have the catalog, but if you take that away and I was starting out and I was younger that would be one heck of a tough job.  You can still make a career out of it, but you really have to learn, learn, learn and keep your brain and body clear.  There are just so many jobs you need to take care of, not just play guitar and write some riffs and let the singer write the lyrics and let the bass player do his stuff.  In a perfect band, perfect world, yes, but if you really want to do this as a career you have got to take on different hats, different roles and learn to say I am good at this and good at that, but this one I need to delegate and get somebody else to do this.  You have to be really careful because the budgets….you take off more than a zero off of what the advances were back in the late 80s.  For example, Annihilator was an unknown band, we had a demo or two out in the mid-80s.  They were very successful because demo and cassette trading was a huge thing (back in those days), not for business but for promotion and fans.  Young bands needed demos, sort of how like record companies today say, ‘ok young band, how many Facebook likes do you have?  How many hits on YouTube do you have?’  It’s similar to your cassette demos back then.  You just have to learn about everything you can about how to do things.  Alice in Hell, our first album, we were unknown and we got a huge amount of money to do that record, from a smaller label called Roadrunner….that was an independent metal label at the time.  If bands had that kind of money that I got on the Alice in Hell record, being an unknown band, (laughs) bands would be doing really well.  That kind of money isn’t out there anymore, so you’ve got to learn to do everything yourself.  In the early days, you would hire a producer, then you’d hire an engineer, then you’d hire a mix engineer, then a mastering engineer.  You’d pay $4,000 to $5,000 to hire a photographer for the promo shoots, the list would go on.  Nowadays, you find the best photographer friend you have, cut them a deal, buy them dinner, lend them your car for a few weeks, do whatever you have to.  Now, people that are at my level hire producers that are also engineers…like Andy Sneap, he will do everything for you.  If you have the money, he will do everything for you, except maybe not master it.  Times have changed, you’ve got to keep your brain clear, you have to learn to play other instruments, write for other instruments and parts, don’t rely on anyone else…and then you can do it;  if you really keep clear on it.  That’s kind of a catch there, when I got into metal it wasn’t all about business, it was about having fun, playing music and learning my music, but it was also, you know, for a long time I was partying, having fun….it’s tough, man…if you don’t have the catalog and you’re just starting out now you really have to be more on top of it than any of us were in the 80s.

Of course record companies are using the lack of cd sales as a reason to take away every right you could possibly have.  There are some deals, for new bands, where they take the publishing, they even take some merchandise design so they can sell the band’s t-shirts on their websites.  Even tour profits, some labels would take that…Ownership of masters (master tapes), meaning they would own your music, not just you’d license it to them, they actually own the masters.  You can definitely make a living at it, if you are good, if you are talented, but the hard work and being clean has to happen, otherwise you just can’t get to the end of that goal…and that goal, for some, is to make a career out of it…and to make a career out of it means you have to be around for a few decades…and that means you’ve got to really learn to get your shit together.

Annihilator will hit the road this summer to headline a 15-city tour through Canada, along with special guests Mason and Mutank. A list of those dates can be found at this location.

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