Virgin Steele

Interview ...


Preliminary Greetings & Salutations:

DAVID: Hi Clara, we are well met once again. Thanks very much for the photo & the new drawing! Very, very Nice Work! There is great feeling here. It may sound strange, but I especially like the hair on this one! Very committed, and focused. I think you are growing all the time. Wow!!! Keep creative!!!

CLARA: Thanks! And thanks for your nice words about my photos! I loved all the new photos of you!! The one with your cat is so cute!!! What's his/her name?

DAVID: The Black one is Emalaith…

CLARA: Is that your house? You like candles I see, cool!!

DAVID: It might be my house I don't remember.... Yes I do prefer the illumination of a candle.

CLARA: I think I'm going to draw the one with the car. I quite like that one. When was it taken?

DAVID: I don't remember exactly when, but it wasn't that long ago if memory serves. I can tell you that it was a very inspiring day though…

CLARA: Shall we begin?

DAVID: Absolutely.


1. CLARA'S QUESTION: As for the last question of Interview # 2... you actually did that in Greece??! must be completely mad!!! Very funny indeed!!!
DAVID'S ANSWER: As regards GREECE...yes that actually did happen. There is more to the Story though…
For that part of the Tour I was rooming with Edward, (we usually all have separate hotel rooms), but anyway after destroying his bed (with him still in it), I felt bad about disturbing his distinguished repose, so I let him have mine, since I was not planning on sleeping in it anymore that day, or sleeping ever again. I careened out the door, ran into some Fans & signed a few autographs, but then...for some reason a few minutes later I returned to the room and proceeded to destroy my bed as well, (and he still never got up!!! That kid can sleep anywhere!!!) And then....I wrecked the rest of the room. (Yes of course there was too much Wine involved and various other problems going on!!!) Anyway, somewhere along the way I managed to slice myself up with the Sword pretty nastily. Then still crazed...I found my way up to the hotel rooftop, where the open-air breakfast buffet was going on.
Mind you I'm shirtless, with no shoes and wearing ripped leather pants and dripping blood. Zeus bless the Greeks...they stared but not one person suggested I leave, or even said anything at all to me during the entire episode!!! Anyway, I then attempted to sit down and either eat or drink...I wasn't sure what I wanted at that point, and my sound engineer who over those past several hours had been continually annoying me, finally said something that was the "straw that broke the camels back" so...I lunged over the table, grabbed him by the neck and screaming at the top of my lungs I started to strangle him and then behead him with...what was fortunately only a very stylish butter knife. (I had left the Sword stuck inside a chair back in the room, spewing stuffing). The bass player at first encouraged me in my execution of our sound guy, but he soon realized that he had better intervene, and he managed to calm me down somewhat. Somehow I made it back to the room, to have a shower and begin that days round of Interviews, (with a splitting headache which only more Wine could cure…and it did!).
Then later that Evening we all went into Town to the old City under the Acropolis...but that is another story.

2. QUESTION: That story is hilarious!!! I just can't stop laughing!!!
The mere thought of a half-dressed man dripping blood and carrying a sword, suddenly appearing in a hotel rooftop full of people... well, you get the idea.
ANSWER: Ahhh Yes I do. It was all quite serious at the time, but now…yes amusing.

3. QUESTION: So Edward didn't get up?? Does that mean he's used to seeing you doing such crazy things??
ANSWER: He can really sleep through anything! It's amazing. But…Edward...yes he is somewhat used to my antics. However, he does worry now & again. For example just this past August when we played in Chiaramonte, Italy, I wandered away from the group & began to climb the mountain, which the town is situated on. He panicked because he knew that it was just me and my big glass of brandy going forth on an adventure. So...he sent out these two Italian guys who were like our "minders" after me, and then...he enlisted Frank and the rest of our organization to search for me. I think he thought I was going to jump off the top of the mountain or something! Anyway, I met them all on my return trip down the mountain and we adjourned to the nearest bar for another round.

4. QUESTION: I love this part : "it was just me and my big glass of brandy going forth on an adventure..." ha ha an explosive combination!! Why is it that every time there's some kind of drink involved? You have an outstanding liking for them I see!!
ANSWER: The Spirits fuel the Spirit I suppose! It isn't all the time I assure you, but yes judging by the photos it can seem like that!

5. QUESTION: Great! But wait a moment, getting back to the Greek story, what did the sound guy say or do to turn you into that furious and dangerous creature?? Scary... and so funny!!!!
ANSWER: The sound guy...hmmmm… he was just incredibly insulting for far too many hours, plus he was one of these "know it all" types, to put it mildly. That's all I can express at this time. We did patch things up much later on, and we have no issues anymore, but….he doesn't work for us anymore.

6. QUESTION: Then you went to the old city under the Acropolis, what happened there? If you said "that's another story" it was obvious I was going to ask you, wasn't it?
ANSWER: Yes…I was afraid of that. The Acropolis…hmmm…that was an adventure with food, Fans and emotions on overload…It was a great Evening actually.

7. QUESTION: Any other tour stories as funny as that one? For example did anything strange happen during this month's Greek visit?
ANSWER: Yes. It snowed in Athens! We had thought that we had escaped the NY Winter, but it followed us to Greece! The snow totally confused the Greek Authorities and made our travel to Thessaloniki unfortunately impossible. We wound up staying in Athens, which was very nice, as we had a proper chance to thoroughly explore more of the City. We visited the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Acropolis, the Plaka of course, the Amazon Club, etc. It was amazing. Everywhere I looked I would hear in my mind…KINGDOM OF THE FEARLESS, VOICE AS WEAPON, etc. All the HOUSE OF ATREUS Songs rang loudly in my brain. We enjoyed the Greek Wines, Food and visits from the Friends we had made during our previous trips. We also had a visit from 2 people from Finland! The Web-mistress for the VIRGIN STEELE-Flames Of The Black Star Website, Sarita, and her husband & Web-master Juhani, came to the concert. The gig in Athens was quite amazing! The reaction from the Fans was really unbelievable! They were singing along with everything, stomping, chanting….it was Pure Magick!!! We had a most Glorious time!!!

8. QUESTION: Wonderful! Now back to the VS Website photos. As regards the old photo with the Led Zeppelin tour manager, did you ever tour with them?
ANSWER: No they disbanded before VIRGIN STEELE was formed. That photo with him was from the Tour we did with Black Sabbath. Richard Cole is the man's name, and he was Sabbath's tour manager for that tour. He's quite an interesting guy. He and Tony Iommi told Edward & I some wonderful tales of the old Zeppelin days.

9. QUESTION: What will the next VS album sound like? I do appreciate the freshness and variation in Virgin Steele's music. I assume the new album will continue that tradition of innovation, right? But… how does it sound??? Apart from the new elements that I'm sure you are going to include, is it more or less like the last albums, powerful, complex, with elaborate orchestrations? You just can't imagine how much I want to have that album in my hands!!
ANSWER: Thanks very much! The next Virgin Steele album....yes we will continue with trying to explore new terrain, while still maintaining the core VS signature sound and nature. We do intend for it to be Powerful & Epic!!! However, I can't say right now how it will be exactly, as we are still working on various songs for it. I can better describe the "LILITH" album.

10. QUESTION: Yes please do. Are there any spoken bits on it?
ANSWER: very… atmospheric. There are big Epic Anthemic pieces, and always sing-able, memorable "hooks", but there is also a dark, moody, impressionistic, quality that manifests itself throughout. There is over the top orchestration, yet simplicity. Nothing is done for the sake of overindulgence, or complexity for complexities sake. Everything is in proportion, balance and effective for the feelings/sentiments in question. It is another new development I think. If you mean spoken bits like parts of "BLAZE OF VICTORY contained ,...hmmm.... perhaps here and there, but mainly everything is sung. I have many really melodic passages. The songs are all quite good for my voice. I am able to utilize all my different "Voices" so to speak... I gave Edward a tape of some of the tracks a few weeks ago, and he tells me that this is the best writing I've done thus far. Hopefully you will like it too.

11. QUESTION: If the Lilith album does sound as you explained... I'm going to LOVE it!! You had a very creative couple of months. Is everything ready? Oh yes and one other question, are the vocals done in the same way as in HOUSE OF ATREUS, with lots of different vocal lines, harmonies, backing vocals etc, or are they not so complex, like in the Marriage albums? I hope you understand what I mean.
ANSWER. No, everything is not quite ready. I'm still sorting out the where, when and what form the Work will ultimately take. The creative outpouring was due to the fact that I really wanted to do this, and once I seriously began...I found it difficult to stop. Plus I had to prepare everything first for the stage presentations. I got so carried away with trying to express every single emotion in the "Story" that I ended up with so much music. And as regards the Vocals, yes some of the songs have multiple harmonies and choirs like the HOUSE OF ATREUS did, and some are more…hmmm… yes in the "Marriage" mode of straight ahead wailing! I tried to be as immediate & direct as possible, and the Songs are very conducive to my way of vocalizing, so it's a good example of several other new shades of my particular method of vocal chaos!

12. QUESTION: And will it be a double album?
ANSWER: Well there is enough material for 2 albums yes, or perhaps even 3, but...whether the Label will want to issue it as such...remains to be seen. It really should be a double CD, or at least a Part 1 & 2 type of thing, like THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL albums were, or THE HOUSE OF ATREUS.

13. QUESTION: Let's hope the label releases Lilith as a double album, haven't you spoken with them about it yet?
ANSWER: Only briefly there is still much to discuss.

14. QUESTION: I don't know, but in theory labels are there to support the artists and, from what I hear, they only make their lives more difficult... how ironic.
ANSWER: We actually have a good relationship with our label, but yes sometimes this is the case…

15. QUESTION: Did Edward write anything at all for the Lilith album? And if not why? Is he helping you with the new songs for the other project?
ANSWER: No Edward did not write anything for this album. He will play on it though. And he really absolutely loves the songs. That is all he listens to in his car these days! I was really driven and I had made a commitment to have the Work ready for the Stage Presentation, so I just went ahead with my instincts and my break-neck working pace. There was no time to collaborate, plus I had a particular vision, ideology & methodology that I wanted to explore, and this left no real room for collaboration.
He & I are working together on a completely different series of songs for another totally different work, plus we have been working together for quite awhile now on our live "Acoustic" set, which is turning out better & better all the time! That in itself is quite demanding, as he & I have been re-working existing material into a new form, so it does involve a fair amount of re-composition sometimes. But yes, I had a very prolific Winter, all this music came pouring out and... it works as it is, so there ya go!

16. QUESTION: Yes indeed it certainly seems like you had a very prolific winter! Were you inspired by something special or was it just... sudden creativity? How long have you had the idea in your mind of writing about Sumerian Myths?
ANSWER: Eons! The Sumerian Myths I have always loved...I just needed the right moment to explore them. The continual darkness, the grey brooding clouds, the cold weather and… the Dark business at hand, all conspired to create a divine inspiration! The Story of Lilith is very heavy and I was inspired to compose for it in the most raw, emotional way possible.

17. QUESTION: Will you ever do something about the Greek ones again?
ANSWER: The Greeks… yes I might visit their World again sometime as well.

18. QUESTION: It's great to see that you are having such a creative period!! I cant' wait to hear the album!! And what about the DVD? You still don't know when it is going to come out? Oh and what happened with that documentary that was done this summer in Germany? Was it ever broadcast?
ANSWER: I will be discussing the DVD and many other projects with the label and the Group over the next few weeks. We are compiling more and more footage all the time, so that project will need a good long incubation period to sort everything out. I would like to include live shows, history, the making of the 3 Metal-Operas, etc…The Documentary that was done this summer, is finished. I do not know about any plans for airing it yet.
If it doesn't air by the time we finish our DVD…I will try to include it.

19. QUESTION: Is the acoustic material going to be included on the DVD perhaps? Is it already finished or not? Do you know when it's going to be released?
ANSWER: Yes we will probably include some of the acoustic footage. Edward & I have filmed what we did on New Years Eve, plus several hours more of other songs and visuals. So yes…why not! The "Acoustic" presentation is equally as over the top & equally as "heavy" as the full Band presentation. It is not wimpy or easy in any way. It is still aggressive, "Barbaric & Romantic". With just Edward's guitar and my voice, we have managed to re-invent the Songs in a new way, yet still maintain their ferocity, Epic quality and original integrity. We perform them like it's the last day on Earth!!! No the DVD is not finished yet. As for when we will release it...I have no idea at present.

20. QUESTION: I recently read an interview in which you said:
"In order to create, a person has to open themselves up to various forces. Some of these forces are positive others can be destructive, when inviting them in. It's a question of challenge, exploration, and stretching the boundaries of your existence, and evaluating (...) ".
That sounds fascinating. Could you elaborate on that, the nature of the creative process?

ANSWER: I'll try. Sometimes when you are composing and either repeating certain musical phrases over & over, or just attempting to conjure your creative Spirit, your focus becomes extremely intense, and often you find yourself…or your mind finds itself either wandering roads never before traveled, or you find yourself in contact or communion with things that can be very positive for you, or things that begin to drive you crazy. A door opens… It is perhaps a form of self- hypnosis, or maybe an actual contact with the 9 Muses or who knows what. It is a flow and a direction of energy, and energy runs both ways like a battery, there is both the positive & the negative charge. I don't wish to sound like a complete lunatic, but in the course of my wanderings/composing I have encountered strange phenomena. For example, I once saw a poster of a human being snarl at me, and I heard it roar. This was while I was working on the song "Life Among The Ruins". Perhaps some quality in that Theme Riff woke something up.

21. QUESTION: Fascinating! Hey, I saw the news on the Site about the gig of "strange & beautiful" covers, nice! Which ones did you play? I wish I could have been there... was the show filmed for the DVD?
ANSWER: A few songs were filmed by a Fan, but I don't yet have a copy. We played all sorts of things, from Led Zeppelin to…Sly & The Family Stone! I believe there is a review & commentary about that in here somewhere.

22. QUESTION: As regards the "Marriage Of Heaven & Hell Part I" album, I don't quite understand Self Crucifixion, and Last Supper if it's somehow connected with it, could you tell me about them? Thanks!
ANSWER: "SELF CRUCIFIXION", is basically about either suicide, or any destructive
behavior that we commit upon ourselves. LAST SUPPER, can be construed as
either having a connection to SELF CRUCIFIXION, or seen as a separate idea. The perennial Godman in Last Supper does initiate his own doom or Self Crucifixion, in order to rise above his lower base nature. I don't believe those Myths are supposed to be taken literally. They are allegories for Spiritual Development, not history. In Last Supper the narrator's emotions are essentially anger and sadness at his betrayal by those who he thought were close to him. The "Mary" in the song is a reference to someone I knew/know... whatever???!!! There is a bit more going on in the song, than ancient myths. Even now, and also when I was growing up during my teens, I knew many people who performed SELF CRUCIFIXION upon themselves, either with drugs, drink a speeding train, or belief in their value as a human being. Sad...

23. QUESTION: As regards Self Crucifixion, I'm sorry to hear about that... I also had a very good friend who did that so... believe me, I do understand you...Very sad indeed.
I have another question. Could you elaborate on your literary influences, as you previously did with the musical ones? I'm especially interested in Baudelaire, who is one of your favorites poets if I'm not mistaken. I love Baudelaire, he is one of my favorite writers too. I've read the Flowers of Evil and Prose Poems, and although the first one is supposed to be his best work I've got to say that I enjoyed the other ones just as much, if not more. Perhaps the Prose Poems are not so sophisticated, less ambitious, but equally beautiful, full of symbols and images... I wish I could read French, as keeping the original language is the only way to maintain the sounds and slight variations in meanings etc that make each language unique. Anyway, the Spanish translation is not that bad, as both languages are quite similar. I think Spanish is a great language for poetry, and we do have a lot of good poets. Have you read any of them?
ANSWER: Unfortunately no I have not read any of your Spanish Poets. I would like to check them out sometime. Perhaps you could recommend some specific ones? As regards Baudelaire, yes I enjoy the Prose Poems also. I often read them while traveling via train to & from the City. Yes I love Baudelaire's work. It is dark, brutal, sensuous, intelligent and incredibly atmospheric. Another writer I greatly enjoy, is Ray Bradbury. He is a true poetic genius. I am also a fan of Byron, Shelley, & Emile Bronte among thousands of others.

24. QUESTION: That brief Baudelaire description was perfect! Just a few adjectives, and you said it all.... How can you always find the right words for everything?
ANSWER: Thanks for saying so, and thanks for all of your Faith & Belief!!! The right words….actually I am never quite sure if I am making any sense, but…thanks very much for saying so!

25. QUESTION: I haven't read anything by Ray Bradbury, which of his works would you recommend? Speaking of writers as I am listening to the Raven Song right now what do you think of Edgar Allen Poe? I absolutely love how you adapted that poem for the Raven Song lyrics, because you focused on the idea of Eternal Love and the result was splendid... I mean… Love is something about which just about everyone has something to say, and not always something particularly intelligent or beautiful, so offering such a sublime view of it is a great achievement. The music is awesome too it matches so well the concept of the song. The guitar riffs remind me of the frantic beating of the Raven's wings.
ANSWER: From Ray Bradbury I would recommend....hmmm…try his Fahrenheit 451 book or...the Martian Chronicles, October Country, or A Medicine for Melancholy, or any of them, as they are all great. Hey Thanks very much for your thoughts & kindness.
Yes I admire Poe a great deal. Musically "The Raven Song" is a nice example of my collaborations with Edward. Lyrically I wanted to express the pain of loss and the hunger of Love. The entire "Marriage" work is largely a testament of sorts to the "Love beyond the Grave" idea. I believe that I took that concept to its furthest extreme in the song EMALAITH on "Part II" of the "Marriage" saga!

26. QUESTION: I've another question regarding the "Marriage" albums... Are they influenced by Blake's poem? I think you said you hadn't read it when you wrote them, but I'm not sure, and besides, apparently there are some connections...
ANSWER: Actually no they were not influenced by Blake, as I did not know those works of his until we were nearly finished with the recordings. I knew his "Songs Of Innocence & Songs Of Experience" works, but at that time not much else by him. I did read his Poems concerning his "Marriage" ideas during the final stages of completing Part II, and I found that a lot of my sentiments were in harmony with his. They are extraordinary and very inspirational works! But no the albums were not. The title, the ideology & all of the various concepts were already there.

27. QUESTION: Oh, and one more thing, just out of curiosity, is it you singing in Exorcist's Nightmare Theatre? I just heard one track and according to many web pages that's you, but I don't know really, it sounds so weird!
ANSWER: As regards the Exorcist..... ha that's very funny!!! Only the Devil knows for sure!!!

28. QUESTION : So you're not going to clear up that mystery regarding the Exorcist?
ANSWER: No, you must conjure Lucifer and ask that question.

29. QUESTION: And how are things in VIRGIN STEELE these days.
ANSWER: Great! Everyone is in a really good place both musically & psychologically. The Band is playing better than ever before! Frank is just amazing on drums. He was always unbelievable, but now…he has surpassed even his previous high standards. Edward is wailing like a Savage Bee!!! His musicianship grows stronger with each passing year, and Josh has become more and more aggressive on his instrument, wailing up & down the fret-board, and exuding more confidence all around. So yeah…things are positively better than they ever were! It's definitely time for that "Live Album"!!!!!!!

30. QUESTION: That's great news! A few last things. Tell me what is one of the nicest things someone can say to you?
ANSWER: Although your World is changing I will be the same…

31. QUESTION: Any favorite quotes or sayings????
ANSWER: Yeah. "When the old dog barks…you'd better look out the window".

Here´s a new drawing by Clara, based on The Marriage of Heaven & Hell. She did it while listening to "TRANSFIGURATION". The following words are hers...

"It`s the one I did while listening to Transfiguration! I don't know if it actually makes any sense, I guess not haha. Anyway, I'll try, the "seas of hell" are in there, also the " red blood mixed with earth and became
mud black blood", and the woman being blue and cold seems to be sleeping, or dead, while the other one is Alive, and well the opposites, life-death hot-cold man-woman with the "bond between lives" in the middle... Something like that... "