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In Words: Virgin Steele



- David DeFeis - Sep. 1999 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- David DeFeis - Jan. 2002 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- David DeFeis - Aug. 2006 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- David DeFeis - Nov. 2008 - Claudia Ehrhardt -


www.virgin-steele.com








Virgin Steele live 2001 - David DeFeis
Claudia Ehrhardt


David DeFeis - Nov. 4th 2008 (by phone)




There is no new Virgin Steele album and so you might wonder what to talk about with David DeFeis, but there is a reason - the re-releases! Life Among The Ruins and the Marriage Of Heaven And Hell albums are no longer available David DeFeis and Virgin Steele's label decided to re-release the albums. And everybody who knows David, knew that he won't simple let them reprint. He invested time to overdo the booklets, add liner notes and looking for some suitable bonus tracks. For Life Among The Ruins David chose 5 tracks, 4 been acoustic ones which were live recorded during rehearsals. Most wouldn't publish something like that, coz the sound isn't 'good' enough. "We noticed that at many records the sound is too polished and the performance lacks attitude. There is not one wrong note. A good song don't need to be polished up." David states. And continues "We recorded the songs during rehearsals with a 2-track stereo mini-disc recorder, they were live recordings. No fixing. But the quality was quite good, so we decided to use them." I think it's a cool idea, coz these days with all the high-tech things sometimes things loose their soul... "Some bands really can't play their stuff live. If you have a good song, a good performance the technique isn't that important. All our recordings are pretty raw, we never been in the luxury situation to spend too much time with recordings, too polish it too much. We played the songs and I sing them, and hoped for the best." Its an illusion that many people have that a band like Virgin Steele who is around for so many years has all the time they need to record. And perhaps Virgin Steele albums sound so intense, coz they don't overdo things... Personally I sometimes prefer vinyl, coz it sounds more alive... "The old recordings captured the personality better, playing all the through the song you could feel the spirit. Instead of putting together pieces. Even a great singer isn't always perfect!" Quite true, and isn't it the charm of some old recordings that they don't sound perfect? And rehearsals - if acoustic or not - aren't perfect... David told me about this rehearsals: "About 3 years ago I set up a big PA system at my living room. The rehearsal tapes been recorded during 3 years and I compiled enough for a 2- or 3-CD set. We even did play 'live' - and recorded this 'shows'. On New Years Eve we had a party and you can hear the guests... glasses clinking, everything." That sounds quite cool! About 2 years ago David was talking about a live album and so I wondered what happened. "We recorded a lot shows, about 25-30 shows from the 2001 tour alone! I asked myself, do I have the patience to listen to all this? I picked some tape, the Budapest show and it really sounds cool! A good show, so we might use this." And I confess, I prefer a authentic live recording, even if this means also that some bits and pieces are fixed. Some bands overdo it and it's the same with some albums... Sonically perfect, musically.... "People appreciate good songs. But quite too often they put everything too the maximum. They maximize shit! There is no quality, it's just loud!" David states about a part of the music scene. And I can only agree. But there is another bonus track which I wanted to talk about - Blood & Gasoline as a duet of David and Crystal Viper... The Polish band wanted to do a cover of the song... "Bart Gabriel, the manager of Crystal Viper, contacted me and told me about their idea and I wanted to know how the version sound, so he sent me their version. They didn't get everything right, but it was good, so I sent the chords over. And when I got their version which is minor key and faster and it was great. I told them I want to sing a part, so I did my vocals and they agreed me mixing it. I remixed it for the bonus track use. Crystal Viper did their homework, they captured the spirit, the energy. I like it and I listened to some of their other stuff. It's good." Some bands try to draw attention be having guest on their album, but Virgin Steele aren't among them. And so this duet is something special, something you don't expect from Virgin Steele and I think it turned out great. And David talked about Virgin Steele and guests... "We are not that kind of a band. If we would have guests then it have to be real friends. People who are friends for years - like Dave Ferrara who I collaberated with recently. Personal friends I can imagine to do something with." Last time David mentioned a DVD, that was about 2 years ago and so I wanted to know what happened to that plan. "We have a lot footage, but I just got really into writing. I shouldn't say this, but I do it anyway, the Beatles released their best albums after they stopped touring. I wrote the new album and the album after this one is written, too. At the moment I just want to get out the new album and then go on tour. It's tickling me to get back on tour now." As he mentioned that the new album is already written, I wanted to know more! And asked David, if he can tell me something about it already... "I have 14-15 songs finished, but it might change. The new one is somewhere between the last album and the Marriage albums. The new one is barbaric, romantic, dark, moody... There is a kind of concept. It's the ultimate story finished off. There are a few things left over about Lilith, who is she as a person, not as a Goddess. And the coming of the father God - and the take over." Sounds really interesting, as Visions Of Eden had a great story, it will be cool to hear more of this... "It's a human-thing, not a time-thing. Its the society crying out for a long time. Its something we should talk about more, there should be dialogues / debates..." David puts in a few words why people are interested in this story and what's so appalling about it. I picked up the debate-thing... as today on November 4th everybody is debating about the US presidential election... "I have been voting." David states. Actually that's something I expected, coz I experienced that most Americans who traveled abroad have a slightly different look at the USA and so might understand better the importance of voting... of taking action. "I can's say Obama will win, I think the election is open. People are fine with Obama, the racial-thing isn't important anymore - at least I think so... I hope so... Whatever happens we have to keep going on, have to be optimistic." David puts in his 2 cent. Some say that the metal scene profits from bad economics, from tough times.. That people need something to let off steam and that they need something real... David has a slightly different point of view and told me "What helps the metal scene are good albums and good shows. And that they go out to this shows. We hope, expecting that 2009 will be better - after this strange summer." Quite true, we all hope for the better... We have to be optimistic, coz otherwise the financial crisis would have made us depressive and unable to act. But there always been ups and downs, not just in markets, also in every ones personal life. "Its all about balance. It's a natural thing that there are good times and bad times. We need both, but some, they can't handle any kind of problems. You have to feel everything, don't numb yourself with alcohol or drugs. Virgin Steele isn't choosing the easiest way, not the least resistant. It means a lot more when you achieved something the hard way. Doesn't matter if its in personal life or with the band, there been ups and downs. The essence is: Find out what you like in life and go for it!" And he got full circle back to the Marriage albums... "We made the Marriage albums to hear the music we wanted to hear! So it's down to do things, don't complain!" A strong final statement! And it's true, coz complaining won't change things, you have to do it. And Virgin Steele always stick to their guns, played the music they want to and never jumped on the bandwagon. The next album is on the way, but meanwhile they give their new fans the chance to get the 3 old releases with bonus tracks. But the waiting for a new album will be over soon! Watch out for the new Virgin Steele album in 2009!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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David DeFeis - August 2006 (by email) -




It's been awhile since Virgin Steele released their last studio album, but there been other projects David DeFeis was involded with. But now the new album will hit the stores soon and so it was time to talk to Mr. Virgin Steele again. I have to thank David for answering my questions by email and I hope that next time we can talk again face-to-face... Enjoy reading!


Your last releases were based on Greek mythology. What was the inspiration to write Vision Of Eden? To turn to another part of history / mythology?

No, not really. The inspiration was to raise questions and get people discussing Life, Spirituality and the true origins of the World's 'organized' religions. I was thinking about why the World is in such terrible shape. I began thinking that if you want to understand a Culture, you must include having a look at that Culture's creation myths. For even if you do not believe in a certain religion, the concepts and attitudes of the said religion do filter down through all the various layers of Society, and you are more often than not still affected by the concepts in that religion. I took a longer look at the myth of Adam & Eve and further realized what an unfortunate story it is. It makes Women out to be these vile, evil beings that must be punished for all Eternity. I knew from my research into Paganism, that this was not always the case. I knew that in certain Pagan Societies in various parts of the World, a Goddess was revered, and Women were afforded great status. I then began to explore how the Great Goddess once worshipped in so many places, was turned into the Terrible Mother. I found that the myth of Adam and Eve, is just another piece of propaganda in a long series of ancient slanders against the idea of the Feminine Divine.

The sub-title A Barbaric Romantic Movie Of The Mind indicates that the story is one to visualize. Do you plan to bring it to stage like The House Of Atreus? Did you had this in mind from the very beginning? Or did it just turned out like this?

Yes, that is correct! I have already done that. It was presented onstage in a Theatrical production, in Southern Germany. There were already over 50 performances of it. I would like to see the Work as a film one day. I have a massive amount of music that all relates to the concept, so a film could be quite Epic! I also called it a Barbaric-Movie Of The Mind, because everything that happens in the Work takes place in the mind of a certain 21st Century modern day woman, as she is going through a rape ordeal.

The story is complex and based on Gilgamesh, but there are parallels to other ancient religions resp. Goddess figures. How long did you work on the story? I guess you first had the story, so how much time do you spend on writing lyrics and music?

Yes it is complex, it might have some parallels, but it is not based on Gilgamesh. It is based on all Goddess figures. They may have gone by different names, but the primordial idea is always essentially the same. The story, the lyrics, and the music were all written over about a 3 year period. I did not only work on those 11 songs found on the new album! I was writing a massive box set of music. I composed well over 60 songs for this album. I originally wanted it to be a double or a triple CD! I actually composed the majority of the music first. I did have various 'scenes' that I wanted to describe, and I described them more in musical terms first, and then finalized more of the lyrics as I came to understand more & more of what each scene might be able to emphasize.

The story is based on the beginning of mankind, but you say it reflects today's world. Was there any particular situation that made you decide to reflect today's society?

Everything! The entire situation in the Middle East, the events of September 11th... All that is occurring in the newspapers of the world today, and more specifically, what I have direct relationships to in my Life.

Was it different to work on the music this time, coz this is an ancient story which somehow is reflecting today's world? To build a musical bridge between the past and today?

No it was not anymore difficult than other albums have been. I find it sometimes difficult to begin a project. But once I do begin and I am starting to come up with more & more ideas, concepts, etc., I then have the complete opposite problem. I do not know how to stop! I find it very difficult to turn off the flow of ideas. That is why I now have 60 pieces of music to find a home for.

Partly it seems to me that it's less 'metal', but still heavy and powerful. Some parts sound progressive and seems to be based on classical compositions - as far as I can say... Is this development based on your experience with the theater productions where you worked with an orchestra?

That all depends on what your definition of Metal is. But yes it is powerful and heavy. To me Metal/heaviness is an attitude and is about the 'weight' of the music in question. For me it is not about how loud the guitar is, or how pounding the drums are. Some music is full of 'sound & fury, signifying nothing'. The Metal is in the phrasing, the chords, the melodies, the tonal shifts of the music. And of course the passion...the intent. Yes we have always been 'progressive' in the true sense of the meaning of the word...forward thinking. And yes again there is a classical music quality to many of the songs, but no this is not due to my working with an orchestra in the theatrical productions, as I did not work with an orchestra for those productions. I had orchestrated everything myself. It would have been nice to work with an orchestra, but no...I have not yet had that experience. The classical side of things comes from my upbringing, my exposure to such kinds of music growing up, and from my training.

The focus is always on you and sometimes it looks like a one-man-show... So how much influence did the other band members have on the songs?

If someone comes to a Virgin Steele concert they will see a 'band' of brothers in action. Every member is equally important on that stage.
No, they did not contribute to the songwriting process on this album. On previous albums I also have composed the majority of the music, so this is nothing new to the Virgin Steele way of working. I do enjoy writing songs with Edward, and we have done some really nice work together on other releases, but he and I never managed to get together to finish anything for this album. I can assure you that we will write together in the future, and I can honestly tell you that he is extremely happy with the songs on the new album. He has said to me, "Dave these are the finest songs that you have ever composed". He as also expressed to me that he thinks this album is more focused than any of the previous ones, because I did all the composing / arranging, etc. myself. Frank Gilchriest our drummer also shares those same sentiments. They know that the door is always open to them. If they want to write a song with me I am available to them. I am sure it will happen from time to time. It is all a matter of arranging our schedules amidst the chaos of our individual lives.


It seems that these days more people think that the Bible left out things and that the organized religions formed their version of the past to fit to their dogma. Partly due to the popularity of Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code... Visions Of Eden are also showing a different story... What do you think makes it so interesting?

It is good that some people are becoming aware of the 'agenda' of many religions, and are thinking more about the elements that were discarded from the whole. If one comes to understand the real origins of the world's religions, I believe there would be more unity today than division. People would see that we are all seeking the same divine spark; each in our own way. It is appealing because it is like a great detective story, a 'Whodunit'! We all want to know the 'truths' about our existence, and by having a look at the real origins of these stories we can get closer to our fundamental sameness, while celebrating our wonderful individual uniqueness. All these stories, the dogma we are lead to believe today, have long and deep roots in the earlier Pagan & Gnostic Cultures. The Vatican itself remember... was built on top of an older Pagan temple.

Religion, the spreaded dogma and fanatism caused a lot of harm lately. Well, it always did, but today we see it on TV and not just read about it in some history book. Why don't we learn from our past? Is the lack of education partly responsible for religious fanatism?

Yes, I believe so. Also because so many concepts in these religions are made to seem so true, but they are not. These groups fight to preserve the outer trappings of an idea of which the inner meaning encoded in the original tale is lost. What is left is an echo of an idea, a form without meaning blindly followed for a forgotten purpose, or never fully understood to begin with. If the myths, legends, stories were revealed for what they are... allegories for spiritual development, there would be greater understanding of all the various religious ideologies.

Different topic: 2006 is the bands 25th anniversary. Are their any plans for a special anniversary release? A DVD? Or something else to celebrate this?

Not yet...we shall see. I do want to issue a live album as soon as possible, and a DVD. I would like to do a DVD from the historical perspective. I wish to compile a huge Work that would encompass many sides of the Group.

The theater productions surely would have interested many more fans of Virgin Steele, but not everybody could see the theater production. Have you recorded some shows? Will there be a DVD on day of this productions?

Yes, I have some of those shows recorded and I would include a segment about them, so that those who were not there could understand what went on.

I guess it's too early to talk about touring, but I think you sooner or later will hit the stages of the world. After 25 years you have tons of material, beside promoting the new album, how will you choose the songs for the set?

Yes, we are in the planning stages as we speak. We will choose songs for the set based on how we have always chosen them. We try everything in rehearsals, and play what sounds & feels the best at a given time. We also prepare many more songs than we can actually play in one night, so that we can change the set list a bit from night to night.

A few years ago Iced Earth toured alone - Horrorshow tour - and presented a long set split up into different eras of the band. They also use some visual effects to support the music. Have you thought about something similar? That would give you more stage time.... And would be perfect to do a live album and DVD....

I had not heard about what they did. But that is a good idea. We too would prefer to tour alone so that we could present as much of the catalogue as possible. We do intend to make each performance as special as it can be.

The music business changed through the years and more bands are now trying to catch the fans attention. One tool these days is MySpace where VS have an official space, too. What do you think about MySpace?

It is nice to have it. It reaches a different set of people, and can be helpful.

Internet and communities like MySpace become more important for a band every day.Is it easier these days? Or even harder, coz the competition is huge? And have the new media effected your way of working?

It is perhaps more difficult because there are so many bands all vying for attention. I am involved in all the different methods of communication, from e-mail, to blogs, to Official web site postings, to doing telephone interview, video interviews, CD/audio interview, and even normal postal mail, so my list of things to do each day gets a bit longer.

Thanks a lot for taking time to answer my questions! I hope to see you on tour soon and all the best for the album!

Thanks very much. Cheers, and thank you for your Belief & Support!!!
By The Black Sun & Moon,
David DeFeis



Claudia Ehrhardt

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Virgin Steele - live at BYH 2000
Claudia Ehrhardt


David DeFeis - January 2002 (by email)




With the release of Virgin Steele's The Book Of Burning and Hymns To Victory it was time to talk to mainman David DeFeis again. I missed the chance to do it by phone, but David was so kind to answer my questions by email.


How you came up with the CD titles The Book Of Burning and Hymns To Victory?

The Book Of Burning has several levels of meaning. One is the equivalent of "to shred" like to really rip it out on the instrument or the voice, hence..."to burn", so The Book Of Burning equals 'the Book of kicking ass'!!! Also there are mystical or occult trappings as well. Hymns To Victory, means various prayers or... Hymns to the Goddess Victory. The Greeks portrayed Victory as female for some reason, which I think is quite cool! The cover is the God Apollo, who is the God of Music as well as Archery. He is a God with both beautiful and noble aspects, as well as bloody and Barbaric aspects so.... He captures the essence of the Virgin Steele sound quite nicely!!!

Why do you choose to do it that way?

What way??? What is your question???

Why not some kind of chronology?

If you mean why are there new songs and older songs together on one CD, I wanted to do it because it seemed to make more sense that way. To keep those songs together because they had a cer­tain cohesiveness together, a similar mindset. And...The Hymns songs are quite different to that other mindset, sooo... It was better to show the two sides to the coin so to speak.

How were the songs which you re-recorded or remastered chosen?

For The Book, I chose those songs that I felt I liked and could perform convincingly, those that I felt a part of, or connected with. For The Hymns, I chose those songs that I felt summed up some of the finer aspects of Virgin Steele's song craftsmanship. The choice for Hymns, was much more difficult, as I feel there are so many quality tracks!

Two tracks you re-recorded are acoustic versions. Why this songs?

I wanted to do A Cry In The Night, and for many years now we have been performing that one live in an acoustic version, so it made sense to document it that way. The Spirit Of Steele, I wanted to add a new dimension to, and by doing it as an acoustic piece, I was able to make the song new again! I enjoyed being the orchestra once again!

Wouldn't it be interesting to release more songs in acoustic versions? I think there are a few more VS tracks which would sound really cool in an acoustic version?

Yes, I have been doing quite a bit of acoustic playing with Edward, and there are many songs in the repertoire that fit comfortab­ly in this style. So yes, there will be more of this type of thing in the future!

The new songs fit to the chosen 'old' tracks. Is this the return to the VS past?

It is what it is. I don't analyze it, I just enjoy it! It's just another side or mood of what we do. There will be more of these types of songs in the future, as well as the more involved epic things and Zeus only knows what else may come down from the Musical Mountain!!!

Are the new tracks are a kind of pre-view of what to expect from Virgin Steele next?

I don't think anyone should expect one particular thing from Virgin Steele. There are many styles and moods contained inside each and every release, and we can go back to various elements or go forward to new ones, so I think it is best to expect... The unexpected!!!

Why did the previously unreleased tracks didn't made it earlier?

It was not their time. Everything happens in it's own season. When the supper is ready.... We take it out of the oven.

Why the decision to do 2 albums and not a double CD?

I believe the Label did not want another double album so soon after the last double CD set. I personally think Hymns should have been a double set. Then I could have (hopefully) added everyone's favorites, plus the bonus tracks!!!

Do you think that this collection will make fans aware of Virgin Steele's history before Noble Savage?

Some yes and others no, because some fans might think those early songs are actually new songs!!!

This release of songs from the early releases, even if in a new sound, might get the fans interested in the early releases and fans might try to get them.

Perhaps!!!

That could make the price for the vinyl's rise at Ebay or on metal markets.

Yes, it might be as that!!!

Do you think that the first recordings can be re-released one day?

It certainly is possible, and I was in fact planning on that, and I did get the very 1st album about 85% ready! I was re-mastering / re-mixing from all of the original master tapes, (which I own), but a certain unprofessional person got in the way of my interest in completing this work.

Why not a live album with live versions of the classic tracks? Wouldn't the time be right to release a live album after 20 years?

Yes & Yes again!!! I would like to do a live album, and.... We will do it either as the next release or directly after the next studio opus, I'm not sure of the schedule at this time.

Will Virgin Steele tour early next year? A kind of "20 years on the road" with the highlights of the 2 releases?

We hope so!!! We are looking into all the possibilities now. And yeah, we would probably do some type of historical perspective I think!

When you toured with Hammerfall early 2001 you said that you might do a live album... Why do you changed plans? Or are they just delayed? Btw, how were the reactions on that tour?

NOT FORGOTTEN, just changed. We will do a live album in the not too distant future! Changed because another idea came up that was possible to do in a more timely fashion than the live album. The reactions to the tour were quite good! New Fans, new friends and a wonderful time all around!!!

On that tour you also presented some new faces on stage. Are you still working with that guys?

Yes! If you check The Book Of Burning Booklet, you will see that all members are intact,(me, Ed, Frank G.) but yes we are also expanding as well!!!

How you found this/the new members?

Through word of mouth. They are people we have known for quite some time, and they are very nice guys, quite talented and easy to work with. Edward found Josh and I found Frank Z.

Have you already began to write new songs for a coming studio album? What can we expect next from Virgin Steele?

Yes, I am always writing so there are new songs around! Expect the unexpected!!!

A while ago you and Sanctuary Records released a press release commenting Jack Starr's words about Virgin Steele. A long note to the fans explaining everything. Are there any new developments you might let the fans know about?

The Fans should know that the record that Jack is trying to put out, is essentially a bootleg, as it is only a CD made from an old vinyl copy. It was not made from the original Master Tapes!!! I possess those original tapes, he does not have them. And... The reason why we are having this problem, is because he wanted to take the re-mastering budget and put it in his pocket, while I wanted to release a quality CD. Jack doesn't care about the Fans, he only cares about Jack. Also he has taken off several selections from the original albums and added his own demos, and this folks...... Is CLEARLY NOT WHO Virgin Steele IS!!! Sanctuary has stopped his bootleg 3 times already! If Jack wants to seriously release those albums, and please the fans, he should behave like a true man and contact me in a professional manner, and I am sure we could put this thing together in the proper way.

At least something which hasn't anything to do with the new releases... September, 11th terroristic attacks... How do you experienced this tragedy? Did it changed something for you?

I was in total shock, numb, and bewildered! It was a horrible day in an already black year! I can't describe to you the grief, sadness and sense of loss we all feel here. Terrible, truly terrible!!!

Thank you very much for answering my questions and take care!

You are very welcome!!!!!!! See you soon!!! CHEERS & ALL THE BEST!!! Ciao for now - DAVID



Claudia Ehrhardt

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David DeFeis - September 10th 1999 - Hamburg (D)




At a sunny afternoon I met David DeFeis in Hamburg to talk about The House Of Atreus Act 1. For the ones of you who haven't heard about Virgin Steele before..... A short trip through the history of Virgin Steele. David DeFeis founded the band back in 1981 and about a year later Virgin Steele I was released. The follow up Guardian Of The Flames been out in 1983 and additionally the EPs A Cry In The Night and Wait For The Night been released. With A Cry In The Night the band got air play in Europe. After a break the band released in 1986 Noble Savage which soon become a classical and is a must in every metal heads collection. Virgin Steele always liked to tour and in 1987 they been out on the road with Black Sabbath and Manowar. Soon the band got a reputation as a very good live act. In 1989 Age Of Consent got in the stores and it took 5 years until the fans got a new album from the New Yorkers. Life Among The Ruins brought the band back into the limelight and a year later the first part of The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell been released. The band toured in Europe with Uriah Heep. In 1996 part 2 of The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell been released and the band toured several weeks in Europe. A headlining tour where the Yankees been supported by the German Superior and the Brazilian Angra. The tour was very successful and the live ability of David DeFeis and the rest of the band smooth the way for entering the charts in 1998 with Invictus. Now David thought the time was right to realize his dream of a metal opera........


David, how you do you got up with the idea to do this ancient Greek metal opera?

Well, it began that way... I received a call from the gentleman of the theater, the director of the theater Mr. Walter Bayers. He called me because he heard The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell Pt. II and he really liked it very much. He said to me on the phone: "I be interested if you could write something for my theater, a piece based on an antic theme." When he said the word antic it triggered in my brain The House Of Atreus, because in all my time of reading the myths, especially the Greek ones, this story stuck in my brain. The details were very, very clear and very fresh and organized. I saw the potential in this work for a great opera, 'cause it have love and death and hate and pain and catharsis and tenderness and beauty and supernatural honest. And I thought that I can do something out of this which could be very interesting.

Cause I think it's very unusual for a metal band to started something like that. It was just shown at a few theaters in the South of Germany....

Yes, it been shown at about 20 theaters already.

... so many fans hadn't the ability to see that. Perhaps they expect that you'll tour with this one, but you can't go on tour with the whole theater company.

Well, this is possible. We won't be touring until the release of Act II. This is on the Act I. I'm still in the studio mood. Once I finished this promo trip I'll go back to the States and go right back into the studio. Cause it have to be done. It's written and it's half recorded - the 2nd act.

But I think when both are released you'll tour or will you go on and record the next studio album?

No, no, no.

Because I think Virgin Steele is a band who likes to play live.

Sure! We'll play live than. There is a possibility that..... But I'm not sure when we'll release it. That could be any time between January and mid-summer. So if it's later, it's mid-summer, maybe we come out and play some shows here and there, some usual stuff. And when the 2nd act is done we'll do a full blown-up production.

So there will be a tour, but the last tour was quite a while ago.....

August of 1998 was the last show in Germany.

I think people expecting you to tour, coz there is an album out in the stores.

Yeah, expect the unexpected in Virgin Steele.

Have you thought about making a video of the theater show?

Yes, I actually thought about doing a complete movie, the whole thing. Including films from the theater, this and other crazy stuff. Something like Fellini meets Hellraiser, something like that.

I think that could be something different, 'cause most bands do live videos and I think especially in this case it would make sense. And this musical tragedy thing would be perfect for a video.

I think so and I think..... We can be quite visual and I have a lot of ideas. This summer I've been taking all kinds of photographs and I really got a whole visual head. So.... I'm think a lot about a video. It's just a question finance and finding the time to do. The time is actually more important than the finance. I have to finish act II. And then we'll see.

Have you thought about bringing that to Greece and play it there?

Of cause! We have to play in Greece. I was on the phone yesterday, they had an earthquake.....

I know.

I talked to 4 different magazines and despite of the earthquake they still interested in having us come to Greece and do this. They are quite proud that we take something like this. I have a special love for the Greek country.

Have you played in Turkey?

No, but I have received a lot of ... Recently a lot of emails from Turkey. I'm discovering that there is a metal scene. It's close to Italy, it's close to Greece and they got to hear this music. It's got to cross the boarders, you know.

I think they would love to have Virgin Steele there.

Yeah, I would love to come! Why not?

Another topic! People compare you with Manowar, especially with the 2 last albums. What do you think about?

I think it's a very shallow, very superficies comparison being based on the sound of our voices. I'm singing like this since I'm 13 years old. When I get aggressive with my voice and when he gets aggressive with his voice, we both have very commanding voices that could knock down buildings. So... What can I say, we are both proud.....

Okay, sometimes I got the idea that it sounds a little bit like Manowar, but I think that Virgin Steele have their very own style. I won't compare them.

Both bands are quite different.

I agree. Another thing is that the story contains different characters. On the album you are singing all parts. have you thought about working with different singers?

We thought about it. I think at some point we'll do the show several ways. We'll do the show with the band, of course, and we'll do some with guests. But I didn't want to do the album that way, 'cause I wanted the album ... I know it is a very ambitious work and I wanted it to succeed on the strength of the band. If it succeed we take the credit and if it fails we will take it, too. But... No, no guests.

Not this time.

No, not any time. No one ever played on a Virgin Steele album.

Yes, but I think in this case it probably would make the most sense, because of the different characters...

Yeah. but I wanted it to be a Virgin Steele record. I didn't wanted it to be the cast of a thousands.

Yes, or you could have used a different name for it. As a kind of a side-project.

Yeah, I could have done it, I could have hired a orchestra, a choir and guest people and could have done, like you know, a David DeFeis solo album. But I wanted a Virgin Steele album. I'm in Virgin Steele.

You are working for such a long time with Virgin Steele, it's 100% of you.

It's my home, it's who I am!

But sometimes you want to leave your home for some holidays..... Isn't working with the theater a different kind of work?

Sure, this is different, 'cause we got to bring a new inplugs of other people in. Regular theater audience and the upper audience came. ...so the production that was presented, but right a long side the heavy metal people came to the regular theater audience. At the end of the show they all applauding and going crazy and really enjoying it.... So, I don't know, if all those people will go and buy the Virgin Steele record, perhaps in the lobby of the theater. I don't think they'll find it in the shops, but for that night they were exposed to metal and they have a different outlook and perhaps next time they come across the world order. It's my ambition to not only increase the level of Virgin Steele, but to raise the awareness of the genre of metal itself and try if they would respect it.

Perhaps a few of your fans got a little more into this history thing and also classical music. And perhaps read something about the Greek history... I know that many younger people are not interested in what happened in the past.

Sure, if you don't know your past, your demons will make the same mistakes. History re­peats itself! I think, if ... In doing this the bonus is that people get turning on and discover this story and this welfare material which is there and that's a positive thing. The stories are great and I think they are timeless. I could have set those tale in New York or Hamburg or anywhere. Or in modern day Athens.... It's timeless!

I read this stuff when I was a teenager, after a while I got into other historical themes. I think everything from the past is interesting. It explains a lot of what happens today.

You have to know where you are come from to know where you are going to.

I think people forget about this!

So it's nice to be reminded by something like this or whatever.

People don't have the possibility to listen to the whole album before they'll buy it. So please pick one or two songs which represent the album the best in your opinion. Recommend the ones which give the people an idea what it's all about.

It's difficult. I guess I would say if you had to pick just 1 or 2 songs to get a taste of it, I would say Kingdom Of The Fearless and Through The Ring Of Fire. Because you have all the bombastic and tender classical moments as well.

People probably didn't know what to expect when they read about in the magazines.

It's metal. For those who haven't, hear it's still metal! It's bombastic. It's aggressive, but there are very tender parts as well, but at the end of the day it's still playing with the musical vocabulary and harmonic framework of what I consider to be true metal!

You never really changed your style.

No, just improve it in terms of getting more mature and just explore in a new style and push the boundaries, but still remain true to the line that was began way back when.

You always been in this myth you said earlier....

I've been involved with the myths all my life and in The Marriage Pt. 2 we did something which has to do with Prometheus from the Greek myths. It's a jumping-off point those myths. Then I take my own life, my own ideas about the world. It's a current statement. It's not a through back thing. Not presenting an entire lesson in Greek history or ancient history. It's using those points of reference as a jumping-off point for what I have to say today, a modern day, 21st century . That's what should be understood.

I think for a few people it's something to think about and get them a little bit deeper in this.

Yeah! Of course go backwards to go forwards. Coz 2,000 years ago we been highly evolved beings, the human race has not really progressed any further. We have MTV, we have Viva and we have computers, but nothing in our humanity has really changed.

Still the same things concern us as a person, as a human being. Still the same feelings...

The same questions, yeah! Myths are an answer to a lot of the questions that troubled humans. And the same questions still searching the same questing.

Right now the people are a little more into it because of the end of the millennium. And perhaps get a little bit more superstitious and more into supernatural things.

Right, especially at the end of any millennium. If you study the art of that time and study the writings, it's pretty much the same. We are the same creatures.

We didn't changed, not at all.

We could have had this conversation at the Acropolis about the last millennium.

Even this time it would be a nice surrounding...

It would be gorgeous, yeah!

I think it's fantastic what this people built in these days without the technic of today.

Amazing, amazing! They had an incredible advanced civilization and beautiful thriving culture.

In certain things they have been more civilized than we are now.

Absolutely, they were more advanced than we are now..

Back to the theater in Memmingen. Have you been there to see it?

Yes, I was in the theater for the entire first week of rehearsals and the premier. Than I had to go back to the States to finish the mixing and get the record ready, so.....

How was it for you being there for the premier? See this on stage without being involved I the show actively.

It was great. It was the first time that I heard anybody other than myself really singing my songs. So being bombarded the first day I got there, singer after singer and character after character and really getting into it was an amazing feeling. I realized that this music could live on after I'm dust.

Perhaps this is the classical stuff of the future.

As metal as a genre survives which I hope it will and I think it will, than perhaps this will be like an early opera like Monteverdi and the classical thing. And I'm sure somebody will build upon this and will go further many years from know.

Wasn't it a little surprise when the director of the theater called you?

I was quite surprised. I still have the original message! And it's classic! What happened a girl, a Greek girl who lives in Germany was friends with him. And she was going to school in Trier and Walter, the director, was stationed in Trier. She turned him on to The Marriage Pt. 2. Those big tracks like Emerald and that stuff. That's why he called me to do it. He was inspired. He said the word antic to me, ancient because of the ruins in Trier. Since then he moved to Memmingen and so it was presented in Memmingen. That was the inspiration behind it. I think I would have done this anyway. This story is like burning a hole in my pocket for a long time. It's the kind of story which stuck like glue.

Perhaps this was the push you need to do it now. That someone from the outside force you to do it.

Yeah, I think every step I'm taking in my life was lead up to that specific moment. That's a record I had to make, we had to make. I'm not compromising in the song writing. Something is delicate and tender, so be it. Something is really aggressive, so be it. No compromise!

I think that's the right way to handle it.

I don't like to compromise, especially on this record I didn't listen to anybody. This is what I wanted to do and tell me I can't, I'm gonna roll right over you.

And now youre satisfied with the whole thing.

I'm happy with the writing and I'm happy with the whole thing, but I thing the best is yet to come with Part 2!

So we have to wait for it!

Yeah, but... All I have to say I'm thankful for all the fans in Germany, Greece, Turkey and everywhere else in the world. Everyone who's writing letters or emails it's been really, really positive. I'm that keeps me going! I would do it to myself, but I wouldn't have this kind of burning ambition perhaps if none would really listening. I would do it anyway so that I can listen to it, but it's really nice to know that other people as well. That makes me work so much harder and more consistently.

I think through this new media like email you got more response from everywhere than in the past.

Just before I left I was reading emails from Turkey, Israel, Russia, all kinds of stuff is coming in. It's pretty amazing to me. Even if I still got letters, but it's faster.

It gets the metal community a little bit closer to­gether.

It's a small world. It really is, you hoop on a plane and a few hours later you are in a completely different place, in a completely different culture. You can send faxes, email. The next thing is gonna be emailing humans somehow through the com&puter.... Like Star Trek was there.

Science-Fiction become true in one way or the other.

Yeah, I think Star Trek will be­come true!

Without people who work out their ideas which perhaps sound strange, we wouldn't have most of the technology we have today!

Of course, without there would never be a person on the moon. What you mean the world is round, it's flat! You can fall over and it could be monsters there.

Yes, we have to learn a lot.

Some people still think the world is flat. There will always be some ignorant who want believe. There is always a lunatic fringe.

The metal fans get more open minded.....

I mean it's important in metal to keep an open mind, but it's also a matter of growth. Some people who are very young have open minds and some people take a while to mature.... About life, music, whatever. It's life experience and it depends on the people you are surround you. If they say the world is flat, you'll belief until you'll meet someone very different, very powerful who shows you a different way.

Sometimes the music gives people the power to go on! Not just for the one who wrote the music also for the one who listen to it.

Absolutely, I couldn't agree more! Music to me has always saved me at the worst points of my life. I rely on music. Not just my one, but..... Growing up before I written any music, I rely on my favorite bands and composers to get me through my day! Those are my Gods. My religion.

There is nothing more to say. I think every music maniac feels the same about this, perhaps Virgin Steele is God to one of you. Support them and let them know that you are out there and help to bring David and his mates to Turkey!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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