Veteran Canadian rockers, Voivod, have enjoyed a long and loud career. Formed in Jonquière, Quebec, they made their speed metal debut in 1984 with War and Pain. Since then, they’ve released 11 more studio albums, mixing elements of progressive metal and thrash metal to create their own inimitable sound. The band found mainstream success in 1989 with Nothingface, entering the Billboard 200 charts for the first time, peaking at #114. On January 24, Voivod will be one of 40 bands to board the luxury cruise ship, Majesty of the Seas for a five day trip from Miami, Florida to Cozumel, Mexico, as part of 70,000 Tons of Metal, the world’s biggest floating heavy metal festival. Two thousand sea-loving metal fans will be treated to live shows, open-mic nights, music workshops and more, all while rubbing shoulders with their favourite real-life guitar heroes. Founding member and drummer Michel “Away” Langevin offers his thoughts on cruising the open seas and Voivod’s plans for the New Year.
Some might say that a heavy metal cruise is a bit of a bizarre concept. Metal is associated with darkness, brooding and intensity… and you’ll be thrashing out on a luxurious cruise liner en route to sunny Cozumel. What made you decide to take part in the 70,000 Tons of Metal?
Well, even though I’m a bit nervous to travel on such a huge ship, I’m excited to take part in this experience and have a good time with our metal brothers like Raven, Testament, etc. I also really want to visit the Mayan ruins on the island.
The appeal of this cruise for passengers is that they’ll get the chance to mingle side-by-side with Voivod and the other bands on board. What kind of people are they?
[Our fans] are usually heavily into politics, conspiracy theories and science fiction…so we should have some very interesting conversations during the trip!
The official 70,000 Tons of Metal website warns that passengers may need a vacation after this vacation. Is it easy for you to separate work from pleasure?
I’ll definitely be cautious about the partying. I don’t want to be seasick and I want to perform properly!
Iron Maiden planted their flag in the skies when their singer, Bruce Dickinson, flew them from gig to gig in their custom Boeing 747, Ed Force One, on their Somewhere Back in Time World Tour. Is there any chance your upcoming cruise might inspire you to acquire your own Voivod cruise ship?
Well…I don’t see any member of the band as the “designated driver” type (laughs).
Outside of cruising the Caribbean, what will keep Voivod busy in 2011?
We have plans to tour in Chile, USA, Europe and Russia. We’re also releasing a live album and a new studio album.
Guitar enthusiasts recently voted Voivod’s Nothingface #8 on the Gibson.com Readers Poll – Top 25 Guitar Albums. You also won Metal Group of The Year at the 2010 Indie Awards. Is it important to you to receive these accolades?
Being an underground band, it’s always great to get the respect of the public, journalists and members of other bands. I must say that the Gibson award was a big surprise though…
You have three upcoming Canadian dates in Quebec. How does it feel to play at home? Is it more special?
We are definitely made to feel like local heroes in Quebec. It’s always good to play [at home] and feel the positive energy from the fans.
Cabins are filling up, but you can still join Voivod along with Fear Factory, Exodus, Testament and others aboard the Majesty of the Sea for 70,000 Tons of Metal. You can also watch Voivod perform in Quebec later this winter: March 3 at Cegep Montmagny in Montmagny; March 4 at La Coudee Cegep in Rimouski and March 5 at Salle Desjardins in New Richmond.