Jeff Waters has decided to step down as Annihilator’s vocalist to focus on guitar duties. With this news, the band have also revealed that Stu Block (Into Eternity, ex-Iced Earth) will be joining them during upcoming live shows.
Waters told Blabbermouth the following when asked if his battle with COVID-19 impacted his vocals:
“It might make them better. The way I sing, it might make them better. Finally, I can do a raspy voice without having to try. No, actually, what I’ve done, again, with this big sort of life-changing thing in my little world, when I talked to Stu Block and Dave Lombardo about doing this — it’s not a new record [‘Metal II’], but I consider it ‘re-envisioning.’ It’s not meant to be some competitive thing. The drummer on the original, Mike Mangini, is probably one of the best drummers in the world. Dave Padden, our singer and guitar player, was great. It wasn’t about that. It was ‘Let’s release a second version.’ Not stomp on the past. It was something fun to do to create attention for the label that they are releasing the catalog. It’s working so far. People are like, ‘Wow! A new album.’ I’m like, ‘Well, sort of.’ So I decided I’m not singing anymore. I’m a guitar player. I took over singing on my fourth record, ‘King Of The Kill’.”
He continued when asked if Block will have more involvement in the band:
“Bingo. I asked him if he would do the reunion thing — because it’s been 31 or 32 years or something for our first three Roadrunner albums. To North America, those are the only ones anyone has ever heard, especially the first two. We actually have another 14 albums.”
Waters also hinted at the possibility of a North American tour featuring past members of the group:
“If Coburn [Pharr] is healthy enough, he’s into it. I told Stu I don’t want to sing anymore. It’s too taxing. It takes too much of a toll. I’m not a great singer. It’s really tough to play and sing. I don’t have that natural, awesome singing voice. Like, for example: [METALLICA’s James] Hetfield and [MEGADETH’s Dave] Mustaine are amazing. Hetfield for his tones, but Mustaine, as I found out singing — I’ve done about seven records with my band as a singer, so probably about 20 tours, including festivals — Hetfield was my guy, but Mustaine also became my guy, so to speak, he can write these rhythm guitar riffs and what James does is he’ll do a simple riff and sing on it. When he’s done singing, here’s the real, killer James Hetfield, then he goes back to singing. That came out of JUDAS PRIEST. That’s probably where he got it. [Glenn] Tipton was a genius. If you listen to [Rob] Halford on any of those classic PRIEST songs, they’re playing one note on the guitar. When Halford stops, here’s the riff. That’s Hetfield. Dave Mustaine threw out all that garbage. He’s playing all this crazy-timed stuff and able to sing over it. It’s incredible.
“I’m not in that league. I think I’m a good guitar and bass player — I do all the bass on the albums. I think I’m pretty good at guitar and bass and some other things, but guys like that are just the top. Fans know it because of the songs, but I think musicians who take this seriously for a career look at these guys and go, ‘They’re so much bigger and better than what you see on the news sites posting and showing people making a mistake on YouTube.’ They’re beyond genius. I was like, ‘Let me stay on guitar like I used to do. Do you want to come and sing with us anytime we do shows, like the anniversary tours?’ [Stu] said, ‘Absolutely for the anniversary tour. It would be a blast.’ Plus, he’s a good backup if one or the other singers wasn’t feeling well or can’t make it.”