Ross ‘the Boss’ Friedman on ‘Born of Fire,’ the Music World During Coronavirus and More

2020-04-23

Ross the Boss – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Ross ‘the Boss’ Friedman speaks with Anne Erickson about the state of heavy metal, the impact of coronavirus on the music business and more in this in-depth interview

Ross ‘the Boss’ Friedman is known for his inspiring take on heavy metal music. His pedigree includes being a founding member of Manowar, the Dictators and so much more.

Now, Friedman and his band have unleashed a new album called “Born of Fire,” which soars with un-apologetically loud, fast and heavy power metal.

The Boss spoke with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink about the new album and how the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is impacting everyone who touches the music world. Read the full interview below, and listen via the Audio Ink podcast on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here.

Congrats on your new album, “Born of Fire,” which came out in early March. It’s such a great set of power metal. What did you musically set out to do with “Born of Fire?”

We had been touring for two years straight, and the band was extremely tight and everything was ramped up– our shows were killer, and everything was gelling, so the chemistry we had as a band went into the songwriting. I would say that the 12 songs we wrote were the byproduct of a band at war. The way it came out was that everything was heavier and faster and louder.

The new record is brutally loud and fast and heavy. Was that a conscious thing, or did it just happen?

It wasn’t a conscious thing. It just happened. The songs required that, and we were more than happy to do it. We wanted a no frills album that showed the band’s strengths and the songwriting and the hooks. The hooks were the most important thing for me, when we did it… Marc came up with amazing metal hooks, and you can hear it. Great drumming, great bass playing and everything working.

COVID-19 hit right around when “Born of Fire” came out. How has the coronavirus crisis impacted the music world?

It’s devastated it. Complete and utter devastation. Nobody is making any money– not the crews, venues, bus companies, the staff in the halls, the promoters and the bands themselves. We can’t get out there. It was hard enough with the advent of the Internet, and there’s no way to sugar coat it. It’s just a disaster for us and everybody. Everyone along the chain is impacted by it. But, it will take a while.

When people feel safe going out in numbers, I think they will, because people love music. I think for the huge bands, I think it’s a problem– with those big tours, I don’t know what’s going to happen with that. On my level, we can play a small hall, and if that’s under 1,000, that’s what we’ll do. But, nothing is the same anymore. I’m thinking it’s going to be OK, because I’m an eternal optimist, but it’s going to take a while.

Do you think concerts might change permanently because of COVID-19?

It will get back to that. In the beginning, maybe everyone is sitting apart or distancing themselves, but I think once the advent of the vaccines come — which are coming, and they’re coming quickly — once that happens and the vaccines are in place, I think it’s going to be no problem.

What are your thoughts on the state of heavy metal music today?

I would say heavy metal is very healthy. I think the genre itself is on an uptick. I think people love it. We just did a U.S. tour, and young kids were there with their parents, and I think the genre itself is in extremely good shape.

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