In a recent interview with Tony Webster of "The Metal Command" radio show, mainman Jeff Waters of Canadian thrash metal veterans ANNIHILATOR discussed his second tour of duty as the band's vocalist. ANNIHILATOR — which Waters has long branded as essentially a solo project — has seen numerous vocalists come and go, the most recent being Dave Padden, who manned the spot for 11 years until his 2015 departure, leaving Waters to reluctantly reassume the role as vocalist while also doubling as the band's lead guitarist.
Waters previously handled vocals starting on 1994's "King Of The Kill" through 1997's "Remains" before "Alice In Hell"-era frontman Randy Rampage rejoined the band for 1999's "Criteria For A Black Widow". Rampage was then replaced by LIEGE LORD/OVERKILL guitarist Joe Comeau, who remained in the spot for two albums until Padden came aboard for 2004's "All For You". Padden sang on five ANNIHILATOR studio albums, his last being 2013's "Feast". ANNIHILATOR will release its 17th studio album, "Ballistic, Sadistic" in January, marking the third consecutive album with Waters on vocals.
"For me, I jumped into being a singer in my late 20s out of nowhere and did three albums [before I] decided it was time to get somebody else singing again because it was getting, 'Screw this. I want to play guitar only,'" Waters said (hear audio below). "I'm not the best singer, so I gave up a little bit there and got a better singer, and here we go, we had a couple of singers after that. Then, when Dave Padden left, our singer of 11 years, who also ended up being a guitarist for a lot of that as well, I just said, 'You know what? Instead of looking for another singer, I'm just going to do this. But if I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna practice, take some lessons. I'm not gonna give up, I'm gonna work at it and it's gonna take me years to do it.' So that's what I did. I ended up doing a couple of records where in the studio, since I'm a producer of all the vocal tracks of all the singers anyway and writing most of it, I knew what I wanted to do in the studio and how to get it in the studio, but to actually be able to play that and sing it live and have your voice last on tour and be a decent frontman and sing okay… literally, I was a 'three out of ten' at the beginning, then 'four out of ten' a year later, to the point where finally, on the new record, I was able to hit the record button and not worry about punching in or doing 30 takes until I got the words and the lines perfect. I literally just sat there with my guys in the band, sitting on the couch with their feet up on the table criticizing the whole damn thing and I would go and hit play and do the whole first half of the song in one shot and that's kind of how this album was done."
He continued: "Finally, winding down my babbling about the singing, this was the tour that we just finished, two-month tour, 42, 43 shows, and that was finally the time when I said to myself, 'You're actually a singer now. You worked up to a certain level where now you can pass and you can look at yourself in the mirror and go, 'You know what? I did it.' A lot of people who saw the last tour were pretty much going, 'Hey, dude. You're actually getting better.'"
"Ballistic, Sadistic" is due on January 24 via Silver Lining Music. Written, performed, engineered and produced by none other than Waters himself, "Ballistic, Sadistic" was recorded at the brand new, state-of-the-art Watersound Studios UK in Durham last year.
Photo by Kai Swillus