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Submitted by Kaj Roth on 2009-03-11
Ex-manowar Guitarist "Ross The Boss" On Illegal Downloading: "the Artists Get Fucked In The Ass"


MetalSucks' Sammy O'Hagar recently conducted an interview with ex-MANOWAR guitarist "Ross the Boss," in which the founding member of MANOWAR spent a good deal of time talking about the effects of illegal internet downloading on the music industry and metal bands. An excerpt follows:

MetalSucks: You mentioned earlier in your response how you think that the internet has killed rock and roll. Could you clarify that a little?

I certainly can. Okay so two weeks before my record was to be released on AFM in Germany, it was available online in Russia. By thieves. So anyone who wanted could just go there and get it. This happens to every single group that tries to release a record and puts out promo copies to journalists that probably for 15-100 euros sends it off to a friend in Russia or wherever. Then it is illegally downloaded. So what happens is the artists get fucked in the ass. The record company gets fucked in the ass and will eventually have to close its doors and not sign anymore groups. So the scene gets destroyed. The record company gets destroyed. The artists can't make any money from his work. They have to just go on touring and selling merchandise. Eventually the whole scene will just evaporate.

MetalSucks: Yeah. Have you already seen signs of that hitting you directly?

Absolutely. You can bust your ass on a piece of work, and you see constantly diminishing returns. So why should I even make records? I made 28 of them. Why should I even do it if I'm going to get ripped off? I mean would you? Would you do something for free?

MetalSucks: I would do something for free if it didn't suck up so much of my time and effort I suppose.

Do you have a son that is about to go to college?

MetalSucks: I do not.

How am I going to pay for the college?

MetalSucks: Not sure.


MetalSucks: Yeah. It's all money out of your pocket.

That's right. My time is my money and being that I am a grown man, I should think about supporting my family. When I get ripped off, I get rip riding mad. Everybody is enjoying the record, "Oh I didn't pay for it," but you know there are consequences.

MetalSucks: Yeah. I definitely agree with you. That sucks. The record is solid, but obviously as you mentioned with the diminishing returns may keep you from being able to support certain aspects of your life.

Exactly, and a lot of artists are facing the same problem. Everybody I know.

MetalSucks: This will probably put more emphasis on touring then, right?

Yeah, but now that the world is gripped in a recession, no one has the money to go out and support bands. So now it is a double whammy. So think about it. We're in a world of hurt right now. My option was picked up by AFM to do another record because we sold enough and made money. Which is great, and I am very happy about that. All the bands are out there touring, and no one has the money to go see them all. So it's a problem.

MetalSucks: Are you going to make another record for them?

I'm going to make another record. But, you know, it's almost like a side project. I made 28 records, and my first record is sitting in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Did you know that?

MetalSucks: Yeah. The first Dictators record.

Right. So really what do I have to prove to myself? I got to support my family. I am more of a musician than you ever want to meet. I have given my whole life to rock and roll and heavy metal music, but this is insane. I am very down on the downloads. For the price of like two beers in a bar, these people could have bought the record. A lot of these people could buy the record and support the artist.

MetalSucks: Definitely. You mentioned that you are still making another record. Why make another record if the returns seem to be diminishing?

Listen. You still have to be in the game. We have a passion for music and we love creating the music. Maybe the recession will end and the touring thing will get better. We still have to do that. Think about it. It's hard.

MetalSucks: Yeah. It's almost impossible to make a living as a musician.

And listen, I have done well in my life, very well. I cannot complain in that aspect. I can still make a living, but it is getting ridiculous. Someone should really find a way so that you can't get robbed. There has to be some technology out there where you can't get robbed. Everyone I know, all my friends in bands, have had it.

To read the full interview, visit:


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