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ANNIHILATOR's JEFF WATERS Reveals He's Done Three Rock Solo Albums: "It Was The Time To Do Something Outside Of The Heavy Metal Thing"

"So it's more hard rock stuff. It's everything from disco to The Knack to Kiss to a bit of Van Halen."


After 35 years fronting his iconic thrash band, Annihilator, Jeff Waters is stepping out on his own, but not quite in the way you might think. Instead of launching another metal assault, he's crafted a surprising love letter to classic and hard rock.

Speaking to The Metal Voice during last month's NAMM convention in California, Waters revealed his most recent creative foray: "I've been doing this Annihilator thing for… Well, it's 35 years now since I put my little first album out called Alice In Hell, and I'm just gonna do a show, a festival in Europe this year. But I've been working on what all of us guys seem to wanna do when they wanna step away from a band they're in, which is a solo project. So I got a solo thing I'm doing. I finished three records in the last three years. And that's coming out."

A sonic cocktail of The Knack, Kiss, and early Van Halen, with a dash of 70s and 80s hard rock thrown in for good measure, is the world Waters invites you into with his upcoming solo project, a three-album extravaganza.

"I live in England. I've had a studio with my wife there for about six years. And just before the coronavirus pandemic hit, we brought in SSL exchange consoles upgraded things, and made it into one badass mixing studio. And then the thing hit. So I was kind of stuck with this beautiful studio and instruments and all this fun stuff.

"And I thought, 'Screw it. Now's the time to just get creative and do something outside of the heavy metal thing.' So it's more hard rock stuff. It's everything from disco to The Knack to Kiss to, like, early stuff — hard rock, heavy metal, '70s, '80s, a bit of Van Halen, of course. So it's not groundbreaking, amazing new stuff that's gonna come out for me. It's more like a tribute in a way, in my own way." Waters added.

Now, the release might surprise you as much as the music itself. Forget traditional record labels; Waters is taking an innovative approach, partnering with a video game company. He's offering them the complete package – music, artwork, branding – in exchange for a one-time payment. It's a bold move, one that landed him more money than his last five Annihilator albums combined!

"I think the first album starts coming out, I think, in summer. I don't know a lot of information because I decided to do something a little different. I tried to go with the first album to a few record companies, and it was, like, 'Oh, boy, this isn't the old days.' So instead of just trying to just let it go and let it get out there and know that nothing was really gonna happen, I tried a different idea, and I went to video game companies.

"And I thought, 'Hey, what if I did an album, or three, and gave you the album covers, gave you the booklets, gave you the trademark, the name of the band, the logo, and now you can have all three of them. It's gone. I don't get royalties, I don't get anything if it does well, but I want one paycheck.' And the second company I went to — without being a dick, we got more money from the video game company than I did in five or six Annihilator records. So somebody paid me to do a solo album more than my real band. They just paid the bills and it helped pay for that console I was telling you about."

To bring this musical metamorphosis to life, Waters enlisted the vocal talents of Stu Block, a powerhouse singer known for his work with Iced Earth and Into Eternity. But forget the growls and screams – Block is unleashing his inner Michael Jackson and George Michael on this project, exploring a whole new vocal range that will leave you surprised.

"I got real singers. Stu Block, who was in Iced Earth and Into Eternity and all that, a fellow Canadian and a great singer, I tapped him. The deal with Stu was, that I knew he was an incredible metal singer. And I know Iced Earth tapped him in a few other things, but I could hear in him that he had everything from Michael JacksonGeorge Michael, into some bluesy stuff. But nobody's ever tapped him on that as a producer or a writer. So I said, 'Would you be interested in trying something different?' He was, like, 'I don't know. What do you mean?' And basically, you won't be able to know it's him. It's fantastic… He did a couple of the albums with me."

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