This is an interview with David DeFeis taken by Crown of Glory the official Virgin Steele italian fan club.
|OK! Here we go, at
first... CONGRATULATIONS a lot for the 20th Anniversary!!
MILLE GRAZIE!!! THANKS MY FRIEND!!!
There are two coming new-albums (release date 7 January 2002), can you introduce them explaining why they are out together exactly in the same time?
They are together because we felt it was a good time to reflect on what we have achieved, before diving headlong into the next areas on uncharted musical territory!!! Ha!!! And by putting them out at the same time it confuses everyone....which is kind of fun!!! Actually, I would have preferred the HYMNS TO VICTORY to be a double album...released a bit later and just THE BOOK OF BURNING for now, but hey...what the FUCK!!! Why not go crazy all at once!!!
With "The Book of Burning" you are going to offer to the masses some of the early Virgin Steele classics you wrote, have you had fun to re-touch & to re-record all the stuff in a more actual form?
I/We had a great time making that record!!! It was done in a very spontaneous fashion, with a live feel to the tracks!!! Quite an easy album to make actually!!!
Are any extract from "The Book of Burning" going to be add (or re-add) in the Virgin Steele future live performances?
It is possible. We would most likely feature various bits & pieces on our next tour. Why not!!!
WOW! Looking the contents of "Hymns to Victory", instead, I think it's great to offer a "Best of.." like that respect to the typical standard simple selection of songs with only one or two un-released 'low quality' b-sides...
THANKS I am glad you approve! It was a very difficult choice to arrive at that line up of songs! I think I made that album about 5 different ways, before deciding on this outcome!!!
I think, it should have been really hard indeed to choose, in the middle of the infinite masterpieces you wrote, which of them insert or not and done the sequence-list...
IT WAS FUCKING HELL TO CHOOSE!!! It should have been a double CD set!!!
Many persons still waiting a live album...
Really....me too!!! We will hopefully get to that over the next year!!! I really want to do it...it is long overdue!!!
If it is released, it will probably contain also the acoustic set recorded in Munich of October 2000, correct?
It will certainly contain those elements, if not that exact performance. We are very into our acoustic moments these days!!! Makes a nice contrast to the Epic Bombast!!!
Also, you told me you recorded some dates during the European-tour 2001 but, with all the respect possible to Frank Zummo, isn't it a nonsense to release the first live-album without Frank Gilchriest and his spectacular attitude?
We never consciously do anything in a nonsensical manner. I am sure we would deliver the live album with mainly Frank Gilchriest's performances, but Frank Zummo, is also quite talented and a song or two could possibly appear with him on drums as well. VIRGIN STEELE is a happy Family these days, no egos or problems among me, Ed, Frank G, Frank Z or Josh, we are quite happy together!!! In fact THE BOOK OF BURNING documents this quite clearly, with all of the folks I just mentioned contributing performances to the album!
DVD format seems to be the new frontier, do you agree?
YES I DO!!! We have a massive list called...."THINGS TO DO"....and on this list is...do a DVD!!! We would like to do an historical prospective, a live documentary and a behind the scenes look at the 2 Metal -Operas as well as some at.....home.....stuff!!
To propose correctly, without holes, in a live album the whole career of the band, Queensryche in their new double CD "Live Evolution" divided all their stuff in many suites... how do you see this solution considering the fact VS have got a big number of studio albums behind too?
I am not familiar with the QUEENSRYCHE Album, but I understand what you mean. I am not 100% sure how we will arrange the live album, but I do know that it will be Epic, Energetic and a whole lot of Fun Insanity!!!
Do you prefer to hear live recordings with the fans singing the songs or a more perfect reproduction very similar to the studio recordings higher in the quality but not so much touching in the feeling?
I like those live albums that contain a great atmosphere, like QUEEN -LIVE KILLERS, any ZEPPELIN recording, or THE WHO-LIVE AT LEEDS!!! Feedback & mistakes are OK to leave in!!!
Among the others, for example... with its delicate touch "Child of Desolation" (from "The House of Atreus act-1") could be a real smashing single even in the airplay of the 'non metal' radios worldwide, have you ever think a thing like that?
I always think of things like that!!! But as the saying goes..."From your mouth to the ear of Zeus"!!! Getting Radio to actually get behind it is another kettle of fish entirely!!! Quite difficult!!! They are afraid of anything even remotely smelling of Metal!!! Pity!!!
Any ideas for the new studio album? It is going to be a definite concept, in the style of the last 3 works, or it is going to be more a 'collection of songs' based on the Virgin Steele essential concept as in the two "Marriage..." before "Invictus"?
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!!! It will be whatever it turns out to be!!! Most likely a collection of songs with possibly a central theme or message like NOBLE SAVAGE or AGE OF CONSENT. Both had various connecting ideas, but not a through narrative.
In a previous interview, you talks of a third Opera but did you ever think to release a real full movie, for one of the first two projects, too?
YES THAT IS WHAT I PLAN FOR A DVD!!! I HOPE IT CAN HAPPEN!!!
Hey! Probably "The Rebels" is the more appropriate for a movie, but... why in this theater-opera are included songs even from "Noble Savage, "Life Among the Ruins" and "Age of Consent" and not only from the "Marriage..." trilogy?
Why not!!! They fit!!! And...the director loved them...so hence their inclusion!!!
I want to say, projects like that or like "The House of Atreus" are GREAT... it's AMAZING to see a band with so much courage to let its sound grows freely without looking where the trends & market blow...
THANK YOU!!! I am never interested in being the flavor of the month. It is my determination to push myself, the band and Metal in general, to new areas. I take it quite seriously and I want to see Metal respected as much as classical music or jazz is!!!
VS celebrated the 20th anniversary and their albums are, as you say, "a celebration to the Power of the Will, exploration and self expression"... what is your advice to all the young bands who believe that clonate Maiden and Priest music and to have a closed background behind, without any sort of ideal, are the only ways to play and have success?
I say that is a limited world view! I am not interested in such sentiments. I/we will continue to do Metal Music our own way!!! Never mind the mind of the mob!!!
Regarding Priest, by the way, you released a wonderful/powerful 'live-studio-version' of the classic "Screaming for Vengeance" for the second part of their tribute album, so... in effect, on "Holy Dio" the Ronnie James Dio tribute, reading its tracking-list (only 5/6 of the 19 pieces, in the whole double CD, are from his solo career), I heard a lot the needs of Virgin Steele there, maybe with a personal version of the mighty "All the Fools Sailed Away" or "Rainbow in the Dark" incredibly forgotten like many others Dio hits.....
Would have been nice, but nobody ever asked us!
Is true the story which says that after the "A Cry in the Night" EP & the split with him, Jack Starr usurped the name of the band for a tour in France (with the other guys present on his first solo album as members) and so your lawyers have had to stop him with a legal action?
He only did one concert, not a tour, a festival. I don't believe he has ever done a real tour with any band! And....from what I was told, he bombed. I heard it was quite terrible! We fought with him and we settled with him. The result was he was free to go away and do his solo career and we were free to carry on as VIRGIN STEELE, with me ending up owning that name.
I think, like anyone doesn't consider the real Deep Purple the first incarnation of the band with Rod Evans and Nicky Simper or the real Judas Priest the first incarnation of the band with Al Atkins, it's obvious no one can consider the real VS the band with Jack Starr! With his 'not correct' way to do and his current projects he only wants to ride the success of the band during the years. Have you got any ideas why Jack arrived at the sad point to use this facts to receive any sort of attention and never started a serious new project or a professional plannified solo career in the past?
I have several theories and possible answers. However, it is not my wish to speak of such things here. Perhaps you should ask him. The reason we are still here is hard work, honesty, dedication to the Fans and our cause, and a true love for the music!itself!! Perhaps these are things Jack does not truly understand.
Living in the N.Y. area, in these terrible times, how do you see the reactions of the persons there in the States after the sad facts of the last weeks? "Enduring Freedom" is a concrete solution or a simple reaction?
Everyone was quite numb, and grieving! I know I was!!! But we are now picking up the pieces and trying to continue with our lives & work. There are no simple solutions. I think we will be in a huge mess for a long time!!! Humanity has not progressed very far in 2000 years and it might not progress any further in another 2000 years!!! But...we can hope!!!
OK! That's all for now, THANX FOR THE KINDNESS & BY THE HAMMER AND THE NINE....!!
YOU ARE VERY WELCOME MY FRIEND!!! BE COOL & STAY INVICTUS!!!