There are few people who can say they were at the forefront of an emerging metal genre, but Ross Friedman is one of those people. A talented guitarist from New York, he cut his teeth in the punk scene of the 70s, making a name for himself with The Dictators. For a short time he also played with Shakin’ Street and scored a slot supporting Ozzy Osbourne.
This would turn out to be a crucial moment in music history. On this tour, the legend himself Ronnie James Dio introduced him to a bass player named Joey DeMaio. The two hit it off and formed a band together. The band? Manowar. This band is considered to be one of the founders of the power metal sound. They were well known for their epic, mythology and fantasy based themes. The band quickly gained popularity. After 6 albums Friedman and Manowar parted ways. The band continues to have a large following to this day. Friedman may have left the band but moved on to other projects. The most notable being his solo project Ross The Boss. Debuting in 2009, Ross The Boss quickly gained popularity, becoming well known in their own right. But Friedmans fondness for the Manowar songs he helped write came to the fore in 2016, When he was the surprise guest star at the Keep It True festival. With the Ross The Boss Band, they played an all-Manowar classic set. This grabbed the attention of fans and promoters everywhere. Then show has been so popular, the band are coming here in April to deliver this classic set to Australian audiences.
In light of this tour announcement, Overdrive had a chat with Friedman and he immediately expressed his excitement for touring here. “Well you know its a beautiful place, beautiful people, great fans and the fact that manpower has never played there. We just thought that, you know what, they deserve to see the real version of Manowar. My concept of the whole band, the original concept, and every one loved the idea. The promoter loved the idea. Bingo! We are coming soon.” The tour announcement was met with excitement, brining all the Manowar fans out of the woodwork. But it did surprise some. What made Friedman decide to tour with the exclusive Manowar set, rather than a more traditional Ross The Boss set? According to Friedman, the response to the surprise set at The Keep It True festival was so strong that “ Everyone said ‘You should tour around with that. People have such a need to hear. People want to hear the old school stuff fro your era’ – the six records that established the band and actually established power metal”.
So Friedman and the band hit the road and the whole thing snowballed. More and more shows kept getting added due to fan demand, including appearances at several large European music festivals. “And we just kept going, and going, and going’ remarks Friedman. It has been a whirlwind two years, with the band somehow fitting in the recording of their third album of originals due out in Germany on April 20th.
In talking with Friedman, his excitement about the band he will be touring with becomes apparent. “Well we can’t wait, very excited. The band is awesome. You wanna know about my band?”. Of course our answer was yes and Friedman excitedly runs us through the line up. On bass is Mike Lepond (Symphony X) who Friedman says is “an incredible bass player and song writer as well”. Mark Lopes (Let Us Prey) will be the giving voice to the songs and Friedman praises him as a great singer, “an amazing front man with tremendous stage presence” who really gets the crowd involved in the show. Of course Friedman will be on guitar showcasing his legendary skills that made him famous. Rounding out the band will be drummer Steve Bolognese (Into Eternity), who Friedman calls tremendous. He praises the band as very tight and extremely entertaining, going on to say that ”there is no BS when we play. It’s strictly songs, everyone is going to have a great time. There is no special effects in our show, there is no bulls**t, there are no speeches, there are no solos. Just pure 100% metal might.”
The band will be playing the Full Metal Cruise, before bringing their set here; in which “we are gonna land, were gonna kill you in a beautiful way, we are going to have a great time with you folks”. After that? More touring as the band will launch onto the popular festival season in Europe. Friedman is hopeful the new album will be a success, stating that if it is a tremendous success even better things will happen. Which sounds like he has no plans of slowing down any time soon. What keeps him going? What inspires him to keep putting out music? At this question Friedman becomes passionate. “What inspires me is the will to win!” He exclaims, continuing that he loves ”to play music, and perform. I love to compose the whole thing. That hasn’t gotten old for me. I have been doing this for long time, yet every show is fresh to me.” He is also driven by the need to improve. Despite already being considered a legend, he clearly expresses that he and the band set their standard very high and are constantly looking to get better. He is also grateful that the fans continue to support the bands endeavours. “We don’t take it for granted”, says Friedman, “I am just honoured to play music, thats my thing.”
Ross The Boss hit our shores in April! You can buy tickets here: