The Metal Epic Masters have returned with a new, wonderful album. Warlord are again among us and that is very encouraging for the heavy/epic metal music. The glory and the power are here to stay. William J. Tsamis talked honestly to Grande Rock about the past and the future of Warlord in a really satisfying interview.

Hi Bill. It’s great talking to you. Do you believe that this comeback shows the fury and the power that you had as a band during the 80s?
T: Well, first let me thank you for this interview and for the support of the Greek fans. I’m very sorry things didn’t work out for Warlord live in Greece. As to your question, I think this album is very intense and powerful. It contains all the elements of classic Warlord, yet it is more advanced. I think a song like Enemy Mind is quite furious and powerful, and I think the rest of the songs retain my melodic metal style with Mark’s advanced drum technique. Plus, the production is top-notch. My greatest disappointment is that some critics said, “Ah, Lordian Guard songs…” and they didn’t think there was anything new on this album. I think that’s absurd and ridiculous. First it ignores the wonder of Mark’s drum work with these songs. Second, it ignores the big difference in the guitar sound and the added harmony leads. Third, it ignores the powerful male lead vocal. Fourth, it ignores the great production quality. That really disappointed me, and I said, “To hell with these people...”. Everything they complained about with Lordian Guard, I changed it and gave them epic metal on a platter, and they’re still complaining. Sometimes, it makes me think the whole thing is not worth it… maybe it’s not. There are plenty of other bands to listen to.
So, “Rising Out of the Ashes”, is already a fact. Which is the reaction of the press and all those that have heard the album?
T: The press reaction has been very positive. The fan reaction has been even better. Many people have said that it captures the early Warlord sound and that it is one of the purest reunion albums ever. So, that makes me happy.
What idea is behind the title “Rising Out of the Ashes”? Do you have anything to say to those who said that Warlord were history?
T: Actually, I came up with about 20 titles for this album, and “Rising Out of the Ashes" was just one. I was trying to capture the myth of the phoenix. Then, a friend of mine suggested I put “Rising” at the beginning, and Mark and Joacim liked it. To me, it was a bit simplistic compared to some of the other titles I had… but perhaps keeping things simple is good sometimes. As far as Warlord being “history”, that kind of statement doesn’t apply to music. Is Rainbow w/Dio history? No. Is the first AngelWitch album history? No. Neither is Warlord to its true fans. The music always lives on no matter what… that’s the beauty of art… it’s always alive.
How do you explain the fact that Warlord is regarded to be a legendary band in the epic/power genre although you have only recorded 13-14 songs till now?
T: People ask me this question all the time, and my honest answer is, “I don’t know”. I think Warlord always combined the best of heavy metal, from power to melodic to epic to sad, sometimes fast, sometimes slower, good musicianship. I think that’s it pretty much, and also the fact that Warlord was always consistent. Every song was a killer.
So after the latest cancellation of your live show here in Greece, will there be a chance to see you here in Greece at last? We’ve been expecting this live show with great anxiety a long time now. And if you can tell us, what exactly happened and the show was cancelled? Many strange things were said here in Greece…
T: I hope we can come to Greece. The bottom line is “money”. It costs a lot of money for us to come from the States and use stage session musicians, and pay for their expenses, and everything. We need to have “tour support” $$ from our record company, and in Germany we got burned. Mark and I lost a lot of money. We’re still digging ourselves out of that ditch. And see, everything was promised to us, but we didn’t have any details… it wasn’t the Greek promoters’ fault at all. No, not at all. The Greeks were great. It was our label that said they would help us with tour support, but what they say and what they do are two different stories. In order for us to come, we have to have “tour support”, which probably means another label - a bigger label.
So, I want to believe that Warlord is here to stay and you won’t disappear again after “Rising Out of The Ashes”. What are the plans about the band's future?
T: Well, Mark and Joacim are very enthusiastic about doing another album and a European tour in 2003, so we’ll see. It's really up to me, whether I want to do it or not. And I love working with Mark and Joacim, so I am inclined to do it. I just want the songs on this next album to be massive and mind-blowing - and I need some time and space to “write” those songs, although I have some in the box right now.
Is there a chance to release “Deliver us” on CD?
T: Yes. Metal Blade wants to release it on CD, along with the first Warlord video on DVD. Drakkar also wants to release it on CD. And we have two offers for “DU” and “Rising” on vinyl and 12” picture disc. So, the companies are going to put out a lot of Warlord stuff.
Why didn’t you give a live show back in the 80s? Were there any problems? If so, what kinds of problems were there?
T: This is well documented. Simply put, we never had a singer who could sing live, the way he sang in the studio. Rick Cunningham sounded terrible live. We did do many showcases with Jack Rucker. He could sing live, no problem. But with Jack, he just wasn’t into heavy metal.
Warlord band pic

How do you manage to create such a unique music style with the great solo melodies and the epic atmosphere that nobody else could ever recreate?
T: I don’t know. Thanks for the compliment. I just write the kind of music that I want to hear. I love melodic music that is dark, powerful, and epic.
Which singer do you prefer the most from those who Warlord used to have? Do you think that Cans is the best choice for Warlord?
T: Cans is the singer that Warlord was always looking for. Don’t think of HammerFall. See, that’s part of the problem. People mix it up. But the melodies that he sings with Warlord are far different than the HammerFall melodies. When “DU” first came out, the critics said the singer sounded too much like pop. We always wanted someone heavier. Rick Cunningham was heavier, but he couldn’t sing live. So, Cans turned out to be the best guy, a Warlord fan, a humble guy, a great friend, and just a nice human being. Oscar is the same way - a super nice guy.
Well, we all know that you are a Greek. At what age did you leave our country? What are your strongest memories from Greece? And what do you love the most from Greece?
T: I wasn’t “born” in Greece. My parents were from Nemea, and I was there when I was 4 and 8 for a time. My parents moved to Canada in the 50s, then to Kansas City, then to California (where I was born in Oakland, and where I was raised), and then they moved to Florida. I didn’t move to Florida, though, until I was like 27. I don’t remember much of Greece. I was too young. When I heard that heavy metal was popular in Greece, though, I was very surprised. But I was surprised when I heard heavy metal was popular in Finland, because I didn’t even know they had electricity up there… J Now I hear there is a heavy metal scene in Turkey! Anyway, when I was a kid my mother brought me to the Greek Orthodox Church (I always loved the music), and to Greek School. But I was never really interested in Greek culture until I began studying philosophy and ancient history. So, now that I know a lot about my heritage, I’m very proud to be Greek. When I teach, two of my favorite segments are the pre-Socratic philosophers and Plato. I also teach extensively on Spartan culture, the Greek and Persian wars, Alexander the Great, etc. Hopefully, I will be able to come to the fatherland soon.
A weird question before the end… Imagine that your wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive, good ring for herself. How would you react?
T: Well, my wife would never do that so it is purely hypothetical. I’m really not that materialistic. I have lost an entire album collection once or twice before. My CDs aren’t organized or anything; they’re all over the place. I don’t really care… it’s not that important to me. If I have a guitar and a Bible, that’s all I need.
Thank you again for your time! If there is anything else that you would like to tell to your Greek fans, just do it!!
T: Well, thank “you” for the interview. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and I hope we can bring Warlord to Greece soon…

(Special thx to Alex for his valuable help! You rule bro! wink)