This is an interview with David DeFeis taken by Sebastien Besteiro of the french Virgin Steele fan club - The Redeemers.
How is the tour going ? I've heard about troubles at the Slovenian border..
Yes, they didn't want to let us cross the border, and we had additional problems : when we finally crossed, we've traveled for 15 hours while it should have taken only 2 hours ! We did the gig late, and it was a little chaotic, but we did the show and it was great : a very big place with a lot of people. Every night has been really very good since the beginning of the tour.
Are you composing songs during the tours, or do you need to be at home,relaxed, to write ?
I don't really compose much while we're touring, but I get some ideas and things and later I remember this stuff. I sometimes write some lyrics. Touring is like a physical training : you need to be physically fit, to be strong and do the show. But I also like to observe, to keep all this energy and things I've learned, bring it home, and make it a part of lyrics or whatever. At home, in the studio, I can let that side go a little bit, get a little more cerebral, drink a lot of wine... and it's a different thing.
You're performing an acoustic set during the show : where did this idea come from ?
In October there was a premiere of Klytaimnestra -the stage version of The House of Atreus- in Munich for two nights. They wanted me to be part of the celebrations. I didn't want just to go there and just get on stage with the actors and actresses and sing... I did that, but I wanted something else, so I said "Let's do an acoustic". So Ed came with me and we did about 40 minutes of acoustic stuff, with "Great Sword of Flame", "Perfect Mansions", "Emalaith", ... It was very nice, so we decided to keep it somewhere in the show now. But not at the beginning of the tour, we started that somewhere around the third week. I think it's a very emotional moment in the set.
What is the only thing you cannot live without during a tour ?
Having my voice in good health !
Nothing like an object or so ?
Yes, I like to read on tour. Reading is good to leave the world you're in. When you're on tour for a long time, you want to escape that reality, so when you read 5 or 10 minutes, 1 hour or a couple of hours, you're in a different world : you escape the pressure of the tour.
At the end of "The House of Atreus Act II", Orestes dies. Is it really the end of the story or will it be an act III ?
In fact, he doesn't die in the old myth. I had to kill him, and make him like a sort of Jesus Christ. With his death, the cycle of horrors and vengeance is hopefully stopped; and that's why "Resurrection Day", the last track, is maybe one of our most joyful songs.
Is the music behind the Metal Opera "Klytaimnestra" the same that the one on the album ?
Exactly the same. And the vocal parts are divided between the eleven actors and actresses. What happened is that I made special mixes of those songs without my lead vocals so they can sing on it.
...and it's the whole album from the beginning to the end ?
No, it's 22 pieces of music from the whole 45 songs.
Will this Metal Opera be played elsewhere in Germany, or even in Europe?
Yes. It will cross the borders outside of Germany, there are some people interested. But it's played not just in the Memmingen city where it started. It's 50 performances so far and it's still going... And we'll do a second one : we'll do the "Marriage of Heaven and Hell" opera, it will premiere on June 7th.
I've heard that you'll release a live album soon...
I would really like to do a live album now, because we've done so much music... it's an other way of presenting those songs in an other fashion. We will revisit the catalogue, with songs from the first two albums and probably new things. When we played the acoustic concert in October in Munich, I wrote two new songs for that, so maybe those songs will be included as well. The release is to be expected around October/November. We'll be back in may to do five or six shows, probably two in Germany, one in Italy and two in Greece, with no support band. We're gonna play three hours -play everything from the first album till now- and maybe play the 40 minutes acoustic section. And we'll record and film that. We've been filming and recording every night too on this tour.And also planed for this year is the reissue of the first two albums of Virgin Steele. I wanted to do it for a long time, but the work on "Invictus" and "The House of Atreus" has been so much to do... I need time to really listen to those tracks, see what's there and what I've got to do with that : remaster or mix some tracks...
...and add bonus tracks ?
sure. We've got some unreleased material for that : I recorded
some songs with Jack Starr in 1997 and we can also include the
"Wait for the Night" EP, I've got some stuff from the
"Noble Savage" sessions that maybe we'll use, there
might be some brand new tracks recorded too, and I even got some
songs done on a 4-track at the time of the first album. All could
be released as a box-set, with the EP as well. I'd like to do it.