Jeff Waters

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Jeff Waters
Jeff Waters at Rockharz Open Air 2016 in Germany
Jeff Waters at Rockharz Open Air 2016 in Germany
Background information
Born (1966-02-13) February 13, 1966 (age 54)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
GenresThrash metal, speed metal, progressive metal, heavy metal, groove metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, bass, drums, percussion
Years active1984–present
Associated actsAnnihilator, Savatage

Jeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian guitarist and founder of the metal band Annihilator. He was born and resides in Ottawa, Ontario. Waters has owned Watersound Studios Inc. since 1994 (where it was in Maple Ridge, British Columbia) and from 2003 until 2018, in Ottawa, Ontario, and now in the U.K.

Early life[edit]

Water's father was in the military and his mother was a teacher. His family had houses in Ottawa and Camp Borden, Ontario as well as London, England. He took some classical and jazz guitar lessons at a young age.

Waters has referred to Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Michael Schenker, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath as his early influences.[1][2][3]

Career with Annihilator[edit]

Waters formed the band Annihilator in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1984. He wrote and recorded the song "Annihilator" (not to be confused with their 1994 song of the same name) with singer Big John Bates. This original version of Annihilator was released on the special edition of the 2005 album, Schizo Deluxe.[4]

Waters has frequently changed Annihilator's line-up over the years. During the early era of the band, his goal was to produce a stable line-up. However, members left for a multitude of reasons such as family issues, substance abuse and work commitments. Due to these rapid line-up changes, Waters has taken on the role of bass player, engineer, producer and writer as well as guitar player. After some time, Waters began to embrace the idea of working with many other musicians, and recruited vocalist Dave Padden for 12 years (2003 - December 2014) as well as a revolving touring line-up. Jeff Waters has performed lead vocals for six of the band's studio albums and on the songs "Holding On" from 2004's All for You, "Too Far Gone" from the 2005 album Schizo Deluxe, "Operation Annihilation" from 2007's Metal, and "Demon Code" on the 2013 album "Feast".

After a couple of weeks of decision sometime in December 2014, Waters made a return to lead vocals for the band on their 2015 album, "Suicide Society" following former bandmate Dave Padden's departure. Padden cited he wasn't at all happy playing in the band over the past five years and the decision to leave was not caused by anyone in the band but by a general discontent with the lifestyle and constant touring.

Annihilator has been touring prominently Europe and Asia since 1989. Despite not touring and receiving virtually no press or label interest in Canada and the US, Annihilator has become one of the biggest selling Canadian Metal band of all-time,[citation needed] yet the majority of their sales have been generated from Asia and Europe. Most of Annihilator's discography is hard to find in the band's home country of Canada. Waters has been quoted as saying:

"I live a few blocks from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. One day, a few years ago (2005) I contacted the Entertainment editor by email and introduced myself, gave him links to our web site and info, and asked if he might spare a few minutes to talk with me about the band, as I live a few minutes walking from his office. He told me to mail him a CD and he would consider reviewing it. He didn't. It actually made me a bit sad, as I have been waving the flag for Canadian metal and Canadian music for over 21 years abroad and also have sold more than any other metal band from this fine land. Yet I could not even get a review or interview with our nation's capital newspaper, when local artists with no deal and no CD releases, were actually getting full page or front page stories. The last thing I needed was coverage in Ottawa but I thought, out of principle, I should try. Shot down in flames! Ha!"


Waters has been cited by many metal musicians worldwide as an influence on their own music. Artists from bands as diverse as 3 Doors Down, Slipknot, Nickelback, Megadeth, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, In Flames, Danko Jones, H.I.M., Children Of Bodom,[5] Johannes "Axeman" Losbäck of WOLF[6] Trivium are either influenced by Waters' writing and guitar playing or have revealed themselves as a fan of Annihilator or his guitar playing.[7][8]

Music writer Joel McIver identified Waters as the third best metal guitar player in his 2008 book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.[9] Waters is often compared to Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, due to being a multi-instrumentalist.

Waters is reported to have ghost-written many successful country/pop ballad songs for other artists.

Watersound Studios Inc. has been Waters' studio since 1994. In 2003, Waters relocated his home from Maple Ridge, BC to Ottawa, ON, where he continues to be a well-known and sought-after mixing/mastering engineer and producer.


In the early stages of his career Waters used a Hamer Flying V. Around 1994, he began to experiment with other guitars and over the next few years used classic models such as a Gibson SG and Gibson Les Paul to achieve the diversity of sounds in Annihilator's music during this time period. He would also use a Fender Stratocaster from time to time in the studio and a Gibson Flying V Gothic in live stage. Waters has been known to use an ESP Dave Mustaine signature Flying V that he owns and it was this guitar that he used to record Schizo Deluxe as mentioned in the video section of Waters currently plays Epiphone Annihilation-V Guitars (his own model, available in Red or Black, with a Floyd Rose FRX Tremolo System, custom pickups, kill switch and other modifications), previously endorsing Ran Guitars. On a tour in Europe in November 2009, Waters used a prototype of the Epiphone Annihilation-V Flying V, which he has since sold. The new Annihilation-V shape is very similar to the original flying V, but has a smaller body and four cosmetic lines cut into the center of the V as well as a rubberised patch on the lowest edge of the V (to stop the guitar from slipping). It comes in "Annihilator Red" and Pitch black. For amplification, he used the Hughes and Kettner Coreblade head and is now using the EVH 5150III amplifier.[10] He has also had his own signature overdrive pedal called the Jeff Waters Devil Drive by SolidGoldFX,[11] however this is no longer in production.

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Artist Album Song/s
1989 Defiance Product of Society Lead Guitar on "Deadly Intentions"
2003 Merendine Atomiche Walk Across Fire Game Over
Soulscar Python Anti-Faith
2005 Galloglass Heavenseeker Lead guitars on "Banished from Eternity"
2005 Roadrunner United The All-Star Sessions The Dagger and Independent (Voice of the Voiceless)
2005 Reckless Tide Repent Or Seal Your Fate Self Destruct and Misery
2006 Legen Beltza Dimension of Pain War of Wars
Memorain Reduced to Ashes TV War
2007 After Forever After Forever De-Energized
Reckless Tide Helleraser Vicious Circle
2007 Dew-Scented Incinerate Perdition for All
2007 Dimension Zero He Who Shall Not Bleed Lead guitar on "Way To Shine"
2008 Destruction D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. Urge (The Greed of Gain)
Dustsucker Diabolo Domination Lead guitar on "Land of the King"
Heavenwood Redemption Bridge to Neverland
Outcast[12] Self-Injected Reality Autonomy In Progress
2008 Bob Katsionis Noemon Athenian Light
2009 Evil One Evil Never Die
2009 Winters Dawn The Winter Is Dawning Raptors
2010 Evil One Militia Of Death Lead guitar on "Militia Of Death"
2010 Fozzy Chasing the Grail Martyr No More and God Pounds His Nails
2010 Lord Volture Beast of Thunder Pure Evil (Hides in the Dark)
2010 Rhemorha I Сжигая Дни
2011 Freedomination Power of Nightmares (Demo) Lead guitars on "Hide Yourself"
2012 Hell:on Age Of Oblivion My Doll
2011 Boarders R-Existence 4th Reich
2016 Enemy of Reality Arakhne Nouthetisis
2016 Freedomination Tales from the Vault (EP) Guitar solo on "Hide Your Self"


  1. ^ "Annihilator, interview with Jeff Waters". April 13, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  2. ^ "Jeff Waters of Annihilator". September 25, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "Michael Schenker - Metal Master Kingdom Interview". January 17, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "Allmusic bio". All Media Guide. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  5. ^ "Amazing Guitar: Guitar Master". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Rebel News! Interview Retrieved August 1, 2011". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  7. ^, Electric & Acoustic Guitar Gear, Lessons, News, Blogs, Video, Tabs & Chords -. "Jeff Waters". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Epiphone Magazine interview, retrieved August 1, 2011". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  9. ^ McIver, Joel (December 15, 2008). The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists. Jawbone Press. ASIN B0044KMQD6. ISBN 1-906002-20-7.
  10. ^ "EVH Q&A with Jeff Waters Of Annihilator". EVH Gear. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Jeff Waters Devil Drive". SolidGoldFX. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Self-Injected Reality", Encyclopedia Metallum (2009).

External links[edit]