David Defeis - Interviews & Virgin Steele - F.A.Q.

How long has Virgin Steele been together?

The band was formed on October 1981. The first album was released in 1982. Therefore we have been together almost 5 years! I find that pretty amazing.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never Virgin Steele?

I call it "barbaric expressionism." It has a primal primitive-savage quality, combined with a lyrically, elegant side. The heaviness of metal, combined with the bombastic-grandiose power of classical music, along with strong melodic sensibilities.

Is there a meaning behind the name Virgin Steele?

The name Virgin Steele means a fresh approach, a new lease on life, full of hunger and power, rich with dignity and majesty, with an awareness and respect for tradition, but with a desperate need to carve out new frontiers of expression. Taking the music as far as it can possibly go, breaking boundaries wide open. There are NO LIMITS. Pure metal - pure power, and also that dichotomy, of lightness or softness, and heaviness and aggression.

Who does most of the songwriting?

I am the main composer. All the songs are written completely by myself, and sometimes I collaborate with our guitarist Edward Pursino.

Where do you get inspirations for your songs?

The inspiration comes from living life, being in touch with my surroundings and then interpreting what I see and feel. Also I read a lot and enjoy theater and film. Wine can also be very inspiring!

Many of your songs deal with mythology? Is this something you've had an interest in?

Yes, I am an avid reader of all the classic Greek, Roman, and Nordic Myths. I find many similarities and connections within these three types, as well as connections with many other religions, like Christianity or Judaism.

In this age of AIDS, how do you deal with the groupie situation?

There are always groupies if anyone wishes to indulge in this behavior. It is in the best interest to use condoms and be as careful as possible. It is still possible to have fun this way.

What do you hope for the future of Virgin Steele?

I want to successfully tour all of Europe, especially the places we haven't been to yet. I also wish to record a live album and a massive metal/symphonic opera!!!

I'm a big fan of that kind of traditional, ambitious metal, and this really stood out among most recent releases in the genre.

Beautiful. We intended it to, and we tried hard to make it everything we wanted it to be. As good as people think it, is, I'd still be in there mixing it if I wasn't stopped.

Perfectionist?

Oh yeah, probably to a fault.

What were the musical influences behind these albums?

If you're referring to what other bands we listen to, growing up it was always the big three: Led Zeppelin, Queen, and the whole Deep Purple family, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Coverdale, all those offshoots. Those were the biggest ones, UFO... so many things. And on the other side of the fence are things like David Bowie, Roxy Music, Brian Ferry, Ultravox, a little stranger type of stuff, T. Rex, I was always a huge T. Rex fan. Yeah, Sweet... the whole glam era was a big influence on me, Slade, bands like that.

I've heard people say some parts of Marriage do remind them of Queen.

Yeah, we totally loved Queen, I probably saw them every time they toured here from 1974 on. They were a big influence, and also studying classical music, Chopin, Debussy, Liszt, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, all those people were as well. The romantic and impressionist school really struck a chord with me, I think that's influenced my writing even more than Bach and the earlier baroque music. Though I do love that stuff, the chord structures that I use and the way I write are probably closer to the Chopin / Debussy school.

You can hear that classical influence, and the latest albums are very romantic, both musically and lyrically.

That was a conscious thing, to have the dichotomy of being really savage and barbaric, but also having the whole romantic element too, not afraid to make things sound beautiful.

That's not very popular in the U.S at the moment.

Oh no, no, it's be as ugly as you can be. Ha ha.

How would you compare the last two CD's with your previous work, like Life Among the Ruins, Age of Consent, and the early Virgin Steele, the self-titled and Guardians of the Flame.

What we're doing on the Marriage is carrying on from what we started with the first and second albums. Noble Savage was the real fruition of that style, I think. The first two albums and the EP were essays in the craft, before it was fully sown, and it really came together with Noble Savage. Life Among the Ruins was really kind of a strange, left-field album, kind of more American sounding, and really just what our lives were like at the time. It came at the time when there was a gap of three years or so between Age of Consent and Life Among the Ruins, so there was a lot of jamming around, we had gotten back into an early Zeppelin kind of feel. Things were somewhat a little simpler in some respects. Rather than saying, "Okay, we have to write these epics", there were songs I had written, and that Ed and I had written together, and we just said "Let's do what we have and see what happens." The record was recorded really, really quickly, and has kind of a raw feel. It's just one photograph of what life was like at that point in time, whether or not we come back to that style and do a whole another album...I don't know, maybe isolated songs here and there. It's definitely different. The first album was a combination of those epics and straight ahead rock. It was just done after three weeks of being together. We did it in a week, less than a week for the whole album. Ha ha. For I think under $1000.

That was put out in 81, 82?

The band formed October of 81, and we went into the studio I guess...It was on Halloween we formed, so we went in, the end of November, beginning of December. Came out sometime in March or April of 82.

The next question is about the lyrics. What were your lyrical sources for the album? I see some Greek("Prometheus, the Fallen One"), Norse("Twilight of the Gods"), Christian("The Last Supper"), E. A. Poe ("The Raven Song"), even Tolkien("Blood of the Saints")...any other sources?

Oh, god there's so many things that I love. I read pretty voraciously. One of my favorite writers is Ray Bradbury, I really like his stuff, his whole style of writing and the things he says are a big influence. Especially on the Noble Savage album, Ray Bradbury was a big influence. Also, (Aldous) Huxley, Brave New World, books like that, Fahrenheit 451. I like a lot of the French poets like Baudelaire, Rembault, Verlaine, those people. William Blake, I actually didn't know this at the time, but after I had finished doing Marriage of Heaven and Hell Part I, and it came out, we got a new drummer, Frank Gilchrist, for the remainder of the Part II tracks. The first thing he says to me, "Oh yeah, William Blake." I said, "What about William Blake?" He says, "Yeah, he wrote a poem called the Marriage of Heaven and Hell." And I didn't know this. But I got that poem while we were in the midst of doing Part II, and got back into Blake. I had known his earlier things, but I hadn't known that work. So that was just a title I came up with, I don't remember exactly where I came up with it or why I came up with it, but it's just opposites. I love those opposites, Noble Savage, Heaven and Hell, Virgin Steele, so that was pretty interesting. It's nice to have a guy in the band who reads probably as much as I do.

How about any certain grand themes? There seem to be a lot of repetitive images and emotions in the lyrics?

The album works conceptually on several different levels. One is the theme of death and rebirth, the eternal resurrection, like a love that never dies, from beyond the grave. "Emalaith" is the sequel to "I Will Come for You" from Part I. So that's a constant, recurring theme, exalting change, "Transfiguration", and what happens with death and the spirit. Another theme is the flesh and the spirit. People like trying to say, "Well, if you're spiritual, you can't be earthy", and vice versa, but it's not true. What I'm trying to say on the album is that the spirit lives in the house of the flesh. They're connected and it's those connections that make us whole, and it's supposed to be that way. The flesh gives us energy, and the spirit gives us something else. So there's that. Freedom, personal freedom, and with that freedom comes personal responsibility, for your actions, and where you stand in the world. Quite a few things that are happening.

The death and rebirth really comes through, "Out from the wasteland, death into life." All that encompasses, whether it's the Norse Twilight of the Gods, giving birth to a new age; or the flood mythologies in the various cultures; or Christ rising up from the grave...

That's one of the things I think about, that all religions are essentially the same, and it's like language, there are different languages, but a chair is still a chair, whether you call it a chair, or whatever it is in Italian, or French. I think the myths have essentially the same properties, the creation myths are similar, the fiery orb coming from the sky, and these rebirth things. They have their differences of course, but they are all interpretations, I think, of the same phenomenon and man's questions, "How did we come to be?" explaining why the sun goes down, and the moon comes up, so on and so forth.

Is "Emalaith" based on mythology or literature, or is your own creation?

That's a name I made, it's derived from two different sounds, I guess the sound of it is Celtic in origin, and I wanted something that was from that part of the world. And something that sounded otherworldly, sort of vampirish, of another race of beings, or something like that. What Emalaith stands for is that eternal love that everyone's searching for, something, someone, some partner who will be there forever, a love that never dies no matter what happens. That spiritual connection which I think people do have with each other in relationships. There's the exploration of that kind of thing. It's similar in a way to "The Burning of Rome", where there's death, and coming back, and the connection of spirits and common souls. ["When I die, in your arms/One child born/To carry on...I'll meet you again through the eyes of our son"-From "The Burning of Rome", a tremendous epic from Age of Consent.-C]

Is "Blood and Gasoline" based on anything specific?

Nothing specific, it's just things that I was going through. Some of those lyrics were actually written around the time of Life Among the Ruins, and that album's a real personal album, because I was going through a lot of trips during its writing. It's dealing with how people don't really have time for one another because we're moving so fast, there's not enough time to establish relationships. I was feeling this because I was not connecting with people in my life with whom I wanted to connect at the time. So there's a lot of negative energy in there, but channeled in a positive way. It's so fleeting, we're just burning through our lives. Blood and gasoline, they both burn, and it's just so much wasted energy. We're a mobile society, always on the run in cars, we live in cars, we listen to music in cars. Tonight I'll sleep in the motel where you slept this afternoon, and somebody else slept the night before. It's just this burning through time, something that was on my mind.

Getting back to the music, who's going to be on the tour (year: 1996), you, Edward Pursino, and...?

Rob Demartino [bass] from Life Among the Ruins, he's been in the band and out of the band for a while. He was playing with Blackmore's Rainbow for a while, so he really didn't get a chance to play on the two Marriage albums, but he's back. Frank Gilchrist is the drummer, who did the three tracks from Part II, Joey has retired from the music business.

How did you come to put the song "Life Among the Ruins" on the Marriage album? It is better suited than it was for its namesake album.

Ha ha. It wasn't really quite ready during the Life Among the Ruins album, and I always liked the concept. It's happened before. Queen had the song "Sheer Heart Attack" on a different album than the album Sheer Heart Attack, and Led Zeppelin had "Houses of the Holy" on Physical Graffiti, so I didn't invent that idea, but I thought it was nice to continue that tradition. It didn't really fit, as you say, on that other album. I wrote that song at the same time I was writing "Blood and Gasoline", so there's a similar sort of manicness to them.

The European tour is with Angra (year: 1996)?

Yeah, they're supporting us.

Anyone else you'll be playing with on these shows, or just Angra?

A band called Superior from Germany. Kamelot was supposed to be the opener, third on the bill, but at the last minute they pulled out, so Superior's doing the German dates. For the other European dates it's a band called Poverty's No Crime. I don't know anything about either of them.

Are you a fan of Angra?

I don't know much about Angra, someone gave me the Holy Land record, and I haven't really thoroughly digested it, I've just kind of scanned through and checked it out briefly. To me it reminded me of Supertramp a lot. Like Breakfast in America and that kind of thing, I thought they were going to be much heavier, but I think their earlier records supposedly are much heavier, because that record's pretty light.

Their previous one is a little more straight forward heavy metal, but still has a lot of the classical influence. Holy Land has so many musical influences, worked into a grand scheme, it seems to fit with your music in a way.

I think they're a good band, what I've heard sounds good, I just haven't really had time to digest the record.

I think Marriage works even better than the new Angra, but I like what they did, it's very ambitious.

It's good, they've got the Brazilian influence and so on...we'll see how it works live. I'm sure I'll like them, I'll get to hear them every night, ha ha.

What are some of the bands you currently listen to now?

Type O Negative, I like them. I'm still listening to Queen and Zeppelin, ha ha, of course. Actually I just picked up this five-track EP, I guess it's a primer thing from this band called Nevermore, I heard their track... we just did this Judas Priest tribute thing ("Screaming for Vengeance"), and they had a track on there along with us, "Love Bites", and I thought, "Well that sounds good, I'd like to hear more of these guys," so I just got that, and that sounds kind of cool.

When were you starting out in music? Was that always in New York?

Yeah, always in New York. I started playing in bands when I was 11 years old, so...when was I 11 years old...Maybe 71, 72? I'm not sure exactly when that was.

Any other bands we'd recognize before Virgin Steele?

No, there was really nothing of note, just cover bands doing the club circuit and that kind of thing, I started doing the club circuit when I was about 16. The only other thing I've done besides Virgin Steele was a short lived thing, a little project that was strictly live, with me, the bass player from Foghat (Craig McGregor), Jack Starr (Orignal Virgin Steele guitarist), and this drummer, and it was called Smokestack Lightning. That was around 92, so probably right before Life Among the Ruins. It was really a blues-based thing, like Foghat, because of the bass player. I'd like to record those songs some day. I've talked with Jack about that and we might do that at some point. It'd be fun.

What kind of bands were you playing with in New York when you started out? Was Manowar there? Riot?

Yeah we played with Manowar, we did many shows with Manowar. Riot, we played with, the Rods, Motorhead we did a gig or two with, Mountain, Twisted Sister, Zebra, and a lot of our own shows, because we were able to headline then. It was strange, when we first began, the cover scene in New York was very, very big, and we were like one of the only bands to do our own music, but it worked, because we had an album out that was getting quite a lot of press. We were constantly in the local papers, so we could get the gigs, and it was wonderful. It was a really cool time in rock and roll. It's changed so much since we began.

There's something definitely in this water inspiring this grand, fantasy based heavy metal, as you say, when you talk about us and Manowar. I can't account for the similarities, we didn't hear them growing up, and they didn't hear us growing up, but there's certain similarities between both bands that people find, and I think it's just from being in this part of the world, and probably similar influences.

Both bands are different, but both have this very noble, glorious, warrior imagery and such...especially in the last one, yours is a lot more subtle or intellectual, but I love them too, so...

They're a good band. We enjoyed touring with them; we're probably one of the few bands that enjoys touring with them, ha ha! Because I think they're pretty hard on a lot of the people that support them, but we didn't have any problems. Everything was quite cool, and we found them to be quite nice, actually...

They're still on a major label! Their record just came out here in the record stores, which is a rarity these day.

Yeah, I don't know how they do it, but they always manage to get these wonderful deals. God bless' em!

It seems pretty desolate in America right now. Is there any kind of chance to play live there in New York?

Yeah, we still play here, and it's usually quite good, we'll probably do more of it. I'm starting to cultivate the situation to get the records out here again, in the states, so that should start happening within the next year. And then it will be even more of an event, more like the old days.

Are you happy that Noise is selling your albums? They're not really released in the US, but at least they're available at domestic prices.

No, that's good, I'm happy about that. I've been offered various distribution deals from people like Nuclear Blast and stuff, so I might do something with them. I'm also at the point now where I can do it myself, like we did in the past. I'd just sell them through the P.O. Box, and keep all the control of everything. I might explore the possibility of that in the States.

Now there's some good news for Virgin Steele fans? You're going to start rereleasing the older albums, starting with Noble Savage? Is that going to be through you, or through T&T?

Now that's coming out with T&T on October 21, so it will be here as an import. But they don't have the rights for it in the States, so when I get back from the tour, I might put it out myself in the States, I'm not sure. Or I might put Age of Consent out in the States first. I'm still thinking about what I'm going to do, I'm really not sure. Noble Savage has six bonus tracks on it, three tracks that were recorded during the Noble Savage sessions that I've now gone back and added more orchestration and things on it, remixed, and it's got two tracks that were recorded during the Marriage sessions, or partially recorded, and finally finished now, and one little piece I just recorded for this thing.

Noble Savage is definitely a high point, that's where it really came together, I like the first two records and there's some good things here and there but Noble Savage was the first one I felt was really done right. The songs really came together. I really dove into the songwriting, and the song "Noble Savage" is one of my favorites. We still play it live, it's a big epic, and "The Angel of Light" is really quite good, and the production was good, and we had enough time to do it properly. The other ones were really, really rushed all the time and there was always some kind of problem.

And that's the first one with Edward Pursino?

Yeah, I've known Ed for a long time, I knew him since he was about 15 or so. We used to jam all the time when we were younger, and he was my first choice when things weren't really working out with Jack. Which was very easy, he just brought his amp down to my house one day and never left. Ha ha. It's good. We go back a long way.


I understand Virgin Steele sales overseas are doing really well?

We are doing well, and the record company is really happy with us at the moment, so they're kind of rolling out the red carpet because things are going well in Europe. It's only going to get better, I think. This Noble Savage rerelease is going to do quite well, and so is the tour. We just toured last year with Uriah Heep. That was also quite good. They're still doing well, and they're really a great bunch of guys. We had the same lineup as now, Frank Gilchrist and Rob Demartino.

They were back in the 70's too, late 60's even, and I think they had a lot of influence on metal, but they're not a band that gets much press or acclaim that way.

No, but they're still holding their own, and they have a healthy respect over in Europe. That's what's nice about Europe. If they liked you ten years ago, they still like you.


What do you think of the current scene in America?

It's mutated into something else, a combination of new and old elements. I call this the Nothing New 90's, it's kind of like the 60's and 70's revisited. I like some of these bands, I like Pearl Jam, I liked their first album. I like some of the Soundgarden, some of those bands I can deal with. Some of it I'm not that crazy about. I wasn't all that crazy about that resurgence of punk, because I didn't really like it that much the first time around. Ha ha.


I think the saddest part is not the new bands or the new styles, it's the fact that the traditional metal is "out," and even the traditional metal record labels won't sell it...

Yeah, it's this fashion thing, and some people are so put off by a name, they don't even get beyond a certain image or look, to really hear the music. A major label A&R guy hears "Virgin Steele", he thinks, "Oh, it must sound like Iron Maiden", but it doesn't. It's thoroughly modern metal. If they would just listen to it they would realize that people would like this stuff. But it's a very weird mentality here. I decided a long time ago not to let it get me down, not even try that hard in the States, and just concentrate on Europe. Once that was solidified completely, then I'd know the States thing would happen, and it's starting to work out like I planned.

I would guess you're pretty big in Japan too?

Japan is okay, Japan is a strange market. We were on a label called the Zero Corporation, which didn't do anything with Life Among the Ruins, but now that record's coming out again with JVC, and the two Marriage albums came out with JVC, and they seem to be a little more happening. I think that's going to be a nice market as well. Southern Europe is really Virgin Steele territory, Germany, Italy, Greece is fanatical, Spain we're going to this time, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland.

The thing about Marriage is that it's very original, it's not the same old thing by any stretch of the imagination, even though it appeals to the traditional spirit of metal. Still in the States, unless it's more industrial, or more alternative, it's not a proper way to be original.

I know, it's tough. If the band was called Bloodline, or Type O Positive, or something, there would be a chance for it, but the name Virgin Steele is a handicap in some respects in the States. If they do remember it, they remember it as whatever it is they remember it as, at a time when that's no longer relevant. But it doesn't matter, as long as it's happening somewhere, and I can continue to have a career then I'm happy.

So am I and so are all the fans! Now you said you were in a project called Smokestack, I also understand you wrote and Edward wrote and played for Piledriver's second album.

Yeah, we wrote those songs because we were asked to. It was really like a favor to our manager, and we recorded that stuff for him. The rest of Virgin Steele wasn't on that, it was a drummer friend of mine, a childhood friend named Robert Espizito, and a bass player named Mike Paccione.

Word association: the movie Zombie Nightmare?

"We Rule the Night"... when he gets run over by the kids in the car...

I only saw it on Mystery Science Theater 3000, where they have witty robots make fun of the sci-fi and horror movies.

It was a really bad movie, ha ha.

It was funny, you were on the soundtrack, with Motorhead...

Fist...

Girlschool, and Pantera, pre-any of the..

Was that? I didn't even think that was the Pantera, that's now. I think there was another band called Pantera, with a girl singer. I think that's who that is.

Hmmm. The other Pantera had all these hard rock and traditional metal albums before Cowboys that they kind of pretend don't exist...

Maybe, it's possible, I know there was another band, when Thor was around, it was a band called Pantera with a girl singer.

I think Thor was in that movie, wasn't he?

Yeah, he did that, and he did another one called Rock and Roll Nightmare which was even worse than Zombie Nightmare, really really bad.

Were you on the soundtracks for anything else?

Yes, the movie Hear no Evil, with Marlee Maitlin and Martin Sheen, that has "On the Wings of the Night" in it. It was a better movie, it was a little dull, but it was a much better movie. And also, Casualties of Love, the Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher thing, we had three tracks in that.

Which brings up that he was in the video for...

"Snakeskin Voodoo Man."

That was from Life Among the Ruins era, but that wasn't on the European version of that CD?

It's on the U.S. version of it.

I remember seeing you guys on Current Affair and Inside Edition.

Yeah, we were on every major news network when that happened. It was kind of cool for a while.

Unfortunately, it's not just recognition for the music, but at least..

No, but it was kind of fun to be on TV, and every time you turn on the thing, you'd see yourself, ha ha. Kind of nice in its own weird sort of way.

You asked me about Exorcist- Nightmare Theater, that was not the same situation as the Piledriver, I know Gord is giving interviews and saying that Nightmare Theater is Virgin Steele and all this, and it's not! It was a band that disintegrated during the making of the album, and I was brought in to make it happen. The band just kind of fell apart, and didn't have it all together, so I ended up with Edward writing, or rewriting, a lot of the material, and the whole record was done in three days. It was just totally insane. The vocalist got really weirded out, and didn't want to sing a lot of the lyrics or stuff, it was like he went on some kind of Jesus trip, so there's points when I'm doing stuff, but it's not Virgin Steele. Same thing with Piledriver, there's one cameo vocal, I do "The Warning" ha ha. I just wanted to set the record straight on that, because a lot of people think it was Virgin Steele, and we were trying to cash in on some death metal thing or whatever it was we want to call that kind of record. That really was not the case, it was just trying to help out people who needed help, and we didn't make any money on it, so it was not cashing in to get rich quick scheme at all. I saw this whole thing in Sentinel Steel, and Gord was going on and on and on about the band, but it was really false information in both his interview and in Jack Starr's interview. There were a lot of incorrect things going on there.

Anything else you want to set straight, or...

Off the top of my head...I don't remember, I'd have to look at the thing again, because it's late and I've had a full day of blasting Virgin Steele in my head, ha ha..

That's about it, do you have anything you'd like to say to the fans or the people that might be reading this?

Most importantly, I'd like to say thanks for all the people who still believe in this kind of music, for being there, and for not forgetting about Virgin Steele, and picking up the Marriage CD's, and getting with what we're doing again. We're very grateful for that. We hope to have more stuff out, easier to get, whether it's through me directly or some company here, so it makes their life easier.

And if people want to keep in contact with you for availability, they can write to that address on Marriage II?

Yes, I've been answering all the mail since we began, myself, I don't know how long I'll be able to do that, but at the moment, I'm handling all the mail.

That's very admirable.

Well, I like to know what's going on, and I like to stay in contact with them closely, as much as I possibly can.

Which are your favourite songs to play live?

The songs I really like playing live are: ALL OF THEM!!! I LOVE PLAYING LIVE!!! Perhaps, NOBLE SAVAGE is one, EMALITH, CROWN OF GLORY, BLOOD & GASOLINE, and this next album (Invictus) will be fun to perform.

What is "Erebus" in the song Emalith?

EREBUS, is a part of the underworld, (HADES). It is a Kind of city. I am saying that I will smash through or tear down a part of HADES or HELL, to find my EMALITH.

Do you like the band Vicious Rumors (with Carl Albert, r.i.p.)?

Yes, expecially I like the voice, it is a great pity about Carl ! ! ! ! ! ! !

- 1998 -

Is the 'INVICTUS' album related to the 'MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL' concept?

"Yes it is! However, it can also be enjoyed as a completely separate entity as well. One does not need to be familiar with the previous work, in order to relate to, or get into this new one. INVICTUS, stands up as an album on its own. If a person is familiar with the 'MARRIAGE' then of course it's easy to spot the references/relationships! For example the "'EMALAITH' theme returns in 'A WHISPER OF DEATH', and it is quite obvious in the lyrics, that the 3 albums are connected."

What is the main connection or theme of the 3 works?

"Well... That is a long and involved story!!! Do you want to buy me dinner and some wine while we discuss this??? What ... no time!!! Ok, I'll try to be as brief as possible. The albums really have several main ideas. But in the end, they boil down to the one major concept of the Triumph of the unconquerable HUMAN SPIRIT!!! Our capacity for endurance, our powerful Will, our determination and drive, is the motivating factor behind all 3 albums. Of course we also have the death/resurrection theme, the Eternal/Immortal Love theme, where regardless of what happens our hero & heroine, EMALAITH & ENDYAMON remain joined in either life or death. This is that elusive unconditional love that all people seek! These two have it!!!!!!! A very strong theme of rebellion and overthrowing tyranny, is found here as well. What could be more tyrannical than an all powerful deity??? Here we have MAN/WOMAN rebelling against the GODS/GODDESSES! Humanity is proclaiming itself DIVINE!!! (As it should). It's Life , Death & THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!!"

The album is very aggressive. Why is this??

"Well... I'm more fucking pissed off than ever before !!!!!!! Ha, ha!!! I believe that it's half the actual power of the songs, and half the way the songs were actually captured on this tape. I tried to create more of a live feeling for the production of the album. I wanted to capture the attitude of what the band is like live, and everyone was behind me on this, from the rest of the guys in the band, to the enigneer. 'THE MARRIAGE' albums' songs are aggressive as well, and live they sound very fucking heavy!!! In the studio on those albums we didn't quite capture the full animal magnetism of those songs, where as on 'INVICTUS', I think we are much closer to that achievement! Also the subject matter was a tremendous inspiration and catalyst for that aggression."

What can you tell me about the meaning behind the cover?

"In life there are various problems, or challenges if you will, that need attending, or straigthening out. Perseus cutting off the head of Medusa, stands as a symbol for humanity rising up, facing its fears, demons, terrors, problems, challenges, etc., and saying I will conquer you all, I will get at the root of this problem, I will take my sword and plunge it through the neck, heart and soul, of this problem and win!!! I will survive, kick ass, conquer, persevere, continue, overcome etc.. In a phrase, 'THE TRIUMPH OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT'!!!!!!!"

Is all this that you speak of based on reality or what?

"Do you have a death wish??? How can you ask me such a question?

Sorry I was just wondering about the inspiration behind all the lyrics/philosophies and such!

"I can assure you that no matter how fantastical the concept/lyrics/philosophy may seem, it does in fact have its basis in reality!!! All is based on either my life experience or my observations of life, and the people in my world. Of course there is poetic license and fantasy woven in. But that doesn't change the core facts of the reality of these situations! The names have been changed to protect the guilty, ha ha, but the facts still remain!"

I didn't realize that you were such a touchy interview subject. Sorry about that.

"Hey relax it's ok. Generally I'm pretty calm but every now and then when someone pushes the right buttons or doesn't take me seriously, I get a little crazy. Actually I think that I am getting more insane due to all this composing/recording."

What do you mean?

"In order to create, a person has to open themselves up to various forces. Some of these forces are positive, others can be destructive, if inviting it. It's a question of challenge, exploration, and stretching the boundaries of your existence, and evaluating, or re-evaluating what it is you've found, lost, or invited to stay for dinner. Let's leave it at that for now."

What can we expect for your upcoming Tour program?

Expect the unexpected. A little bit of the new, some of the past, like the 'MARRIAGE' etc., and perhaps a touch of the earlier years as well. We will probably do some things that we've never played from the past before. We like to keep everyone interested, entertained and on their toes. If you've seen us live before, then you know that every night it can be a bit different. Our catalogue is quite extensive, so there is a great deal to draw from. Of course also every night someone will tell me one of two things. Either we didn't play their favorite song or more often, we did!"

Is this 'INVICTUS' album the OPERA you have been promising?

"No, it is not. However it is a very promising OPERA!!! Someone could if they so desired, come up with dialogue and a cast of characters and create the 'MARRIAGE CYCLE OPERA', I'm sure. It has all those dramatic ingredients that Opera has, love, death, power, struggle, conflict, beauty, pain, joy and peace! With the inclusion of 'INVICTUS', I can see a wonderful OPERA TRILOGY, or perhaps a movie! Yea, let's go!!!!!!! The OPERA you are referring to, is the plan for next year. I will compose (I've already started), a METAL-OPERA based on the Ancient Greek Myths concerning THE 'HOUSE OF ATREUS'. This should be finished by the beginning of next year. It will be an album by VIRGIN STEELE, as well as a stage production which will premier in Germany, in the cities of TRIER & MEMMINGEN. We of course will Tour in support of it as well!!! OK my good friend, that's all for the moment. Keep well and see you on Tour next month!!!!!!!

CHEERS, PEACE & BY THE GODS TO YOU !!!!!!!

Wait! I have one last question. What is your meaning or message?

"We are trying to invoke the powers that were lost. We want everyone to feel energized, powerful, confidant, and in control when they listen to this music. It is positive, uplifting, and has healing properties! Feel integrated, MIND, BODY, SPIRIT!!! Don't let your Spirit be broken, remain INVICTUS!!!!!!!!!!! This power is growing, from one, springs many!!! Pick up your Sword and join us!!!!!!!