Jon Mikl Thor Interview

Back in 1984, if you were looking for something really different in Heavy Metal, you might very well have looked to Thor.
A former Mr. Canada and Mr. Teenage U.S.A. Thor was the rage of Europe.

Q – Why did you decide to combine weight-lifting with singing?
A – Actually, I’ve been a musician as long as I’ve been lifting weights. I was playing piano when I was 7 years old. And I got into guitar when I was 12. I was playing in Heavy metal bands in the late 60’s, early 70’s, when I was very, very young. When I was training for contests is when the two concepts came together. I used to listen to Heavy metal music and work out. So, this concept was thought of 11 years ago.

Q – Manowar. Armored Saint. Thor. All of you guys project pretty much the same image, don’t you? And that would be this warrior image.
A – This is a favorite topic of mine. I was doing this 11 years ago. No one was doing this 11 years ago. No one was even close to doing this. I’m the original. These guys are all copying me as far as Crue make-up. I did that with my first record ‘Keep The Dogs Away’ back in ’78. If it wasn’t for the lawsuits, I would be a lot further in my career in America. My physique is part of my show. If you’re going to play the part of a warrior or a barbarian you got to have the physique to do it. Ross The Boss (Manowar) is a short, pudgy guy. He’s a tremendous guitar player, but, if you’re going to play the role of a barbarian, you got to be able to pull it off musically which is very important – and physically.

Q – Why aren’t you as well-known in the U.S. as you are overseas?
A – Because we haven’t pushed it. In Britain we had a publicist and everything being pushed for me. Nothings really being done for me in America yet. It soon will be. We’re just building all that up right now, ‘cause we want to do it on a big scale. Heavy metal magazine the largest science fiction magazine in America had a whole page on me just a couple of months ago. I’m quite well-known. I’m getting a following. We did a concert in Queens, N.Y. recently that was sold-out. The whole thing is I need a major label here that can give me the push.

Q – What about the record label you record for – Mongol Horde – what are they doing for you?
A – Oh, they’re not doing anything for me right now. We made the record. We put up the money. They basically just distributed it and it did very well. That got us to the next step. That got us a management co. in England interested in us and they took the record album ‘Unchained’ over to Albion Records who did very well with it in England. Then, after that we did ‘Let The Blood Run Red’ and ‘Thunder On The Tundra’. Things are going really well right now. We’re just planning everything for America. We’re going to be doing a deal with E.M.I. Enigma, a one-off album deal. We’re going to do a deal with one of the majors, a 5 album deal.

Q – You’ve been recording for how long?
A – In 1978, I had a record released on R.C.A. in Canada called ‘Keep The Dogs Away’ and it was released on MCA down here. Midsong International distributed by MCA. At that time we were to have a huge push on the act. We had a whole tour set up. But, as they say ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’. Managers, promoters all started suing each other because everybody wanted a big piece of the money kind of thing. So, I was stifled in my career for a couple of years and I had to start all over again. It was only last year (1983) that I started to come back really.

Q – Why do you think the “Metal” scene seems to be thriving in L.A. but not New York?
A – The A and R people here do not realize what is going on. There’s a lot of tremendous bands around New York. Manhattan is a screwed up place for Heavy Metal. It’s all dance music. All the clubs are dance music. The A and R people will not even go out to Long Island to see the Heavy metal groups. In L.A. it’s all happening in the city. These people here are lazy. They don’t understand what’s going on. They don’t understand that ‘Twisted Sister’ is a representation of what’s happening in New York. I’m very impressed with some of the groups in New York, but, it’s like they have to go to Los Angeles to get something happening. It’s ridiculous. All the major labels are here.

Q – Where do you call home?
A – Vancouver, Canada, the west part of the coast. Back when I was growing up I used to read things about the States and say, that’s the place for me! I love the audience in the U.S.

Q – What’s your stage show like?
A – The show that I’m having a guy build right now is going to be amazing. It’s going to be an all metal stage and iron robots on stage. Our emblem is a metal mask that’s going to shoot lasers. I have this all metal hammer that shoots lasers. I’m really looking to take this show out in ’85 all across America.

Q – When you tour, there’s probably two things you need to do: Work-out regularly and eat properly. How do you balance that on the road?
A – Everybody’s got the wrong misconception that because you’re big you have to eat a lot of food. I don’t eat a lot of food. I eat maybe one or two meals a day. And, I don’t eat late at night ‘cause that’s when you get fat. I’ll have an omelette for breakfast and that’s easy ‘cause any restaurant can have eggs, and salads. That’s what I eat. And, chicken for dinner. I don’t enjoy exercising. To me, it’s a big chore. It’s something I have to do. I’ve been training for 14 years now, so I’m at the point now where I can train once or twice a week and do my stage show. When I’m onstage I’m bending iron bars with my teeth, smashing bricks, I’m bending microphone stands, gladiator battles. That whole thing really tenses my whole body up ‘cause I’m jumping all over the place. So, that’s like a work-out in itself. That keeps me in shape.

Q – Are you ever worried that down the road somebody will reveal your real name and there goes some of your mystique?
A – Even if it’s my real name, I am Thor. I am the guy who goes into the subway with a club and I’ve had fights in the subway. I live in New York City. That’s my life. I live dangerously. That is me. I’m that character whether it’s onstage or off stage. In New York, it’s the kind of place where I feel I’m always ready for anything here. I’m looking up in case a guy throws a concrete block on my head. Anything can happen. A guy can try to run you down on the sidewalk here.

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