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14th December 2008


INTERVIEW with David DeFeis Questions by Edmund Alscott:

Question: Hi David what’s the latest news from the VS camp?

ANSWER: Greetings! Well we have just re-issued the albums LIFE AMONG THE RUINS, THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL PART 1, and THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL PART 2. All contain bonus tracks, and new more elaborate packaging. In February we re-issued NOBLE SAVAGE & AGE OF CONSENT. Over the next year or so I hope to re-issue THE HOUSE OF ATREUS albums, plus INVICTUS, HYMNS TO VICTORY & THE BOOK OF BURNING. In addition to that we will finally release VISIONS OF EDEN in the USA. I am also working on an album that will contain the various live acoustic shows we have done, and the live acoustic rehearsals that we recorded in the living room of my house. This will most likely be a 2 or 3 CD set, as there is quite a bit of material. If you have the new re-issue of LIFE AMONG THE RUINS, you will find that there are several acoustic bonus tracks on it. These performances are from the live rehearsals that I just mentioned, which were recorded in my home. I also hope to issue some more of the “full band” live recordings that I have. You will find a two of those as bonus tracks on THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL PART 2 re-issue.

Question: What do you call the style of music you play? How would you characterize it? And what is “True” heavy metal to you?
ANSWER: I define what we do as Barbaric-Romantic, Epic Metal. This is a category all to itself, and we are the only Group in this genre. This style of Music has its roots in several places. One place is the Blues, and the other is “Classical” Music, especially 19th century Music such as Chopin, & Debussy. It can be Symphonic with all sorts of orchestration or it can be just piano or acoustic guitar and a vocal. It is a Music that has far reaching ambitions. For me what I call “True Metal” or what I consider to be the kind of “Barbaric-Romantic” Music we do has a sound that I call the "Bones Of The Mountain" sound. This is a sound that has earthy, primitive elements, themes & riffs based around the modes, (the 7 ancient modes that is) the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolidian, Aeolian, Locrian and occasionally the Ionian, but also incorporating the larger extended harmonies of the 9th, 11th and 13th chords, as found in the "Romantic" and Impressionistic Schools of classical music. It runs the gamut from Gregorian chant to Stravinsky! This sound is full bodied, & rich, containing a solid rock base, with jagged peaks, and volcanic force. But in addition to the kinds of chords and melodies used, what makes it Metal for me is also its delivery. How the Music is executed means quite a lot! Is it put forth with a thrust, a swagger an attitude of total command? What is the intent? For it to be True Metal, it must be full bore hardcore to the hilt kind of playing. There must be reckless abandon combined with precision. There must be freedom, savagery, urgency, fearlessness, and ferocity. Even if one is playing a slow plodding doom oriented number, or a type of Metal balled, each note must have total commitment, and must be performed as if it was to be the last note ever performed before the entire Universe goes up in Flames! True Metal is a Religion, a Spirituality based on all the finer and nobler things in Life. It can show one a code or way to live by. It can teach, and it can heal. Intent is everything! If you really go for it, it doesn't matter if you hit a few wrong notes on your road to greatness and Immortality! Passion, commitment and intent are everything.

Question: What makes a song “metal”?

ANSWER: For me the inherent quality that is built into a composition is what makes a song “heavy”, or a Metal song. Some music is full of "sound & fury, signifying absolutely nothing". To me Metal is so much more than just loud guitars and exploding drums. If you think about it, even Punk has that. For me Metal is a special kind of harmonic & melodic vocabulary, a special phrasing and inflection that exists even when performing this music on an acoustic guitar or piano. Metal is far more than a cranked up Marshall amp and lyrics about dragons or elves. It is a Philosophy, a Spiritual quest, and a life long commitment to strength, honor, dignity and maintaining one’s place in the world in the face of adversity. As I said earlier, for me Metal, (or at least what we do), comes from this combination of the Blues, Gregorian chant, Classical & Operatic elements and of course Hard Rock. The musical vocabulary that I use in the songs of VIRGIN STEELE, are all these things and more. Even a very quiet track like “IPHIGENIA IN HADES”, from THE HOUSE OF ATREUS ACT 1, or GOD ABOVE GOD from VISIONS OF EDEN, is still Metal, in that it contains the phrasing, the intent and the ATTITUDE of Metal. I always try to write songs that I feel what I call “blood related to”…they come from the depths of my Mind, Body & Spirit. I try to make each one a universe unto itself…this takes time and this takes life…Living and exposing yourself to all that Life offers…the good, the bad & the ugly

Question: Where does the heaviness come from? What makes a song or an album heavy?

ANSWER: To me heaviness is an attitude and is about the „weight“ and depth of the Music in question. What is actually inside the construction...the actual parts, the chords, the lyrics, the melody...the rhythm. For me it is not necessarily about how loud the guitar is, or how pounding the drums are, or how aggressive the vocals are, or how fast you are playing. The Metal is built into the actual Music, the phrasing, the chords, the melodies, & the tonal shifts of the music and all that you are trying to express The emotions...the mood...the feeling...

Question: There are so many different genres in metal. What is your favorite metal genre?
ANSWER: I love the life or death stakes and the dramatic overtones of Metal, and I actually do appreciate all the different genres, but I am perhaps most interested in the Symphonic-Power Metal and Gothic Metal genres. That being said, I find that many groups and albums often straddle several different genres at the same time. I also enjoy various “Black Metal” things…”Thrash”…I try to keep an open mind.

Question: What are your influences? What artists did you admire when you first started out?

ANSWER: I grew up in a house where I was exposed to Rock music, Opera, Classical music and the Theater/Drama. My Family were probably my first influences. The Rock bands that my sister Danae and my brother Damon had, were inspirational to me, my older sister Doreen’s operatic singing was an inspiration, and my father’s theatrical performances were inspiring to me. Though she didn’t perform, my mother had a great, incredibly high voice and was always singing, so living in that house…my World was quite musical. I absorbed all of those elements, and distilled them into the style of my Life, and the Music I make today. Growing up in that environment…well there really is no other way that I could have turned out. That being said, the first groups of a Metal nature that I enjoyed were Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. I was also a fan of Mountain and Grand Funk Railroad. Then when Queen came out, I went completely crazy. Their combination of Metal, Opera and Classical music totally floored me. The song, “THE MARCH OF THE BLACK QUEEN” from the album Queen 2, is incredible! For me it was a revelation like I'm sure Beethoven's 9th was to other classical composers. I was amazed at how all that elaborate harmony was put together and how it carried you through from the first note to the last. It has incredible dynamics. That track paved the way for BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. The entire second QUEEN album is a true masterpiece! The compositional skill is astounding. Songs like MARCH OF THE BLACK QUEEN, OGRE BATTLE, WHITE QUEEN and FATHER TO SON, are excellent examples of the genre. They are powerful, well crafted gems, filled with intricacy and true development, yet always accessible and never bogged down in technique for technique's sake. They are always melodic and from the heart. I am amazed when I think about the amazing production value and recording skill that went into crafting them into those incredible records! The performances are all stellar, filled with royal power and precision far beyond those of mortal men! But even more amazing, is that behind all that is this incredibly brilliant creative "Mind" at work. This is the true mastery, to be able to envision the ideas...and then...execute them. I believe that there would not be many Power Metal or Symphonic Power Metal Groups working today if not for this album. When I was growing up in addition to hoping to one day be able to compose like Freddie Mercury. I also admired Jimmy Page. His guitar work had a direct effect on my singing. I wanted to sing like his guitar solos sounded. I wanted to be a human guitar. I use my voice in a rather instrumental way. I am not just singing words; I sing like I am on an extended guitar solo and I am also very percussive in my approach. I also approach playing keyboards, more like a guitarist. I think of all things as some kind of guitar!

Question: Can you tell us more specifically about any other particular albums that were of great importance to you?
ANSWER: Yes. There are many of course…Queen “1” was very exciting to me, Led Zeppelin “II”, Black Sabbath….but perhaps in addition to all that I mentioned earlier about QUEEN II, for me LED ZEPPELIN “I” is another landmark work. From what I have heard, Freddie Mercury was also very passionate about the work of Jimmy Page, and the incredibly full sound that he achieved both live and on record. ZEPPELIN I, is full of raw power, hunger, virtuosity and Nordic fury. They managed to capture the true sound of a band in total heat. Plant's voice is the wailing of the north wind. It can plunder or seduce. Bonham's drums are the implacable elemental forces of Nature, John Paul Jones's bass and organ/keyboards are the sinews and life force webbing that enfolds and enables growth, and Page's guitar is the lightning from Zeus and the Power of Odin. This was a sexual album as well as a mystical, and warlike effort. Passion oozes from every groove. The arrangements were well thought out and a great sense of dynamics; light and shade permeate the Work. Also one of the greatest things about the album is the spontaneity. They did not spend 100 years recording it. They rehearsed a bit...discussed and then went for it full bore hardcore. And now today so many years later, it is still fresh and vital. In this day and age, many are still trying to achieve what they achieved in those 30 hours of studio time. For me both albums (Queen 2 & Zeppelin 1), and both those groups in general, crystallized what Metal should be in my mind. First off, regardless of how technical or adventurous one may get musically, one should always maintain the raw heat and sensuality of where Rock Music essentially came from...the Blues. Always keep the heat and sweat in. Second, every member of the Group must be a true force. The drummer must be an earthquake, pure pandemonium...but always-in control, like Vulcan at his forge. The guitarist must be a guitar army, and a master of all things string related, he is the violin, viola, & cello of the orchestra. The bass player must be an earth-shaking prime mover, a million ton anchor, and the foundation stone. The vocalist must be an entire choir, plus a banshee, and a shaman, and the keyboard player must be the entire rest of the orchestra and a Master of Harmony. Each member must be a mountain of sound on their own, so that together...they can rule the Universe!!!

Question: Where does your interest in Greek Mythology come from? I know you wrote a three CD “opera’ based on a Greek story.
ANSWER: Yes, I did do a very large-scale work based on the “HOUSE OF ATREUS” saga, which was indeed 3 CD’s long. That Work concerned Orestes, Agamemnon, Klytemnestra, and the concept of judgment and forgiveness. This passion for Myth, and especially the Greek Myths comes from my upbringing. My father as I mentioned before, is a director, producer and an actor in the Theatre. I grew up watching his rehearsals, performances and productions of Greek Drama, Shakespeare, etc., this lead me to want to read such Works on my own. I devoured the Myths! In them I see parallels to our time, and I see that we have not changed at all since those days! If anything...we are more backwards now! The Myths contain universal themes and truths that are timeless. I also love the fact that the Gods & Goddesses are portrayed in Human form with the same lusts, strengths and weaknesses as us all. The Greeks created the Divine, in the image of the Human. Today we are all searching for Magick, for Beauty, Passion, Love…Transcendence. That is why we enjoy Music, the Arts, Wine, etc. The Myths remind us that we can transcend, that we can become Apollo, Zeus, Athena, Prometheus, King Arthur or Isis or whatever we choose to be. We can make our lives a Work of Art…

Question: Do you believe in these Myths? Do you believe in god? Is there an Eden for you and if so what is your definition of it?
ANSWER: I believe in myself. I believe in Nature, and a kind of Divinity and Power that resides within the Human breast. I don’t believe in some great father in the sky sitting on his massive golden throne stroking his beard, and playing chess with the World. We Humans create the God or Gods or Goddesses, that we feel we need at a given time. I think there is something more to experience after Death. My personal Vision Of Eden is a place, a moment where and when we can all be who we are and who we are fully meant to be with no repercussions, no judgments, no explanations. A place where honesty reigns supreme and understanding and compassion are in abundance. It could be reachable…at times it is. It is a matter of casting off fear and its entire attendant imprisoning characteristics.

Question : On a less serious note, I know that Virgin Steele has toured Europe quite a bit. Do you have any nice or funny memories ?
ANSWER : Oh yes…There have been so many, but off the top of my head, one of the memories that do stand out is coming to Greece for the first time. We had taken the ferry over from Italy, but we could not go directly across, because there was some kind of a dock strike, so we had to go to another landing place, which was much further north. Anyway…we wound up being on the ferry for 18 hours. We arrived in Greece just as the sun was rising, and I stood on the deck of this ship having my first look at this wondrous land, and the magick that I felt compelled me to shout out…”I am in the Home Of The Gods”! It was quite amazing. And then the concert that evening…after another long trip…this time by bus through the mountains exceeded all expectations. The power, energy, and love from the audience was overwhelming.

Question: I heard that you are preparing a new album. What can you tell us about it?
ANSWER : It will be Barbaric-Romantic, over the top, atmospheric, moody, dark and involved. It is quite varied in style. It has classical moments, straight ahead moments, all sorts of stuff. I am actually working on 2 albums at once. I am preparing both the very next album…and the next one after that, so…it is a chaotic, busy time and it can be confusing to discuss exactly what the next one may be like, because when I speak about the music I am also thinking & speaking about what comes after the very next release…and beyond. However, I can say that I will fill it with passion, hunger, wailing guitars, diabolical piano, devil/angel kinds of vocals, warlike drums, grandiose bass, and an otherworldly Spirit…


Read another great interview with David at

For a review of the re-issue of LIFE AMONG THE RUINS, visit: 

It has been chosen as Classic of the month / Retro review.
Here is a direct link to the review:


4th October 2008


On October 31st… Halloween… VIRGIN STEELE will be re- releasing their albums LIFE AMONG THE RUINS, THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL “PART I”, and THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL “PART II”. These discs will be issued in Europe through the German label Dockyard 1. All three albums will contain bonus tracks and new booklets and liner notes.

As bonus tracks on “The Marriage Part 2” album, the group has included two live performances recorded in Germany, and on “Life Among The Ruins ”, they have included several live acoustic tracks that were recorded in the living room of David ’s house during rehearsals. As regards these live acoustic rehearsal tapes David DeFeis had this to say, “ Upon listening back to those recordings, we felt that we had achieved a really interesting mood… the performances are really raw, honest and direct. We did not add any multi - track overdubs or any additions whatsoever, they are just the stereo recordings presented live and unvarnished as we played them. In this age of high technology we felt that it was nice to do something really raw and low- tech. The songs work well in this stripped down format, and the feeling in the room was incredible. At some point we may actually release an entire disc of these various live onstage performances and rehearsals we have in our archives. As regards the full band live tracks…it is the same… no overdubs or enhancements. The tracks were recorded with just a simple stereo cassette player…not a multi - track high- end machine”.

In addition to the above, the re- issue s of the album s NOBLE SAVAGE and AGE OF CONSENT will at last be released in the USA on October 21st and November 4th respectively through Locomotive Records.

A brand new VIRGIN STEEL E album will appear early in the New Year. Stay tuned to us here for more information and the full track listings.


Many Cheers and a Royal THANKS to you All!

Mark Gorman

19th May 2008


We are honored & proud to announce that VIRGIN STEELE has just signed a new recording contract with the Hamburg Germany based record company, DOCKYARD1. “This took quite awhile to conclude, as it was a difficult decision to make in regards to who to sign with, as we were offered several very good agreements from various labels, but in the end we decided to go with DOCKYARD1, as we have a very long history with several of the key members of the team there and have always enjoyed working with them”, said David DeFeis, the Group’s vocalist.

While there is yet no specific release date, the projected target area for the album is for sometime in January of 2009. DeFeis claims, “If all goes well we should be able to issue a new album sometime between January and March…”Meanwhile in addition to working on a new album, the Group will continue to re-issue various albums in the catalogue, once again with bonus tracks. We will keep you up to date with more details as we receive them.

For more News and other interesting chatter we direct your attention to the following Interviews:

David DeFeis.

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