Heart of Steel: Interviews

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Interview With Virgin Steele
Interview By Keith

Virgin Steele has been a mainstay in the metal world since the early 80’s, even though they were never a household name. Despite having gone through numerous member changes, Virgin Steele continues on and have recently delved into their past and released their first two albums, Virgin Steele and Guardians of the Flame on CD through Noise/Sanctuary Records Group. Digitally re-mastered, with new liner notes and bonus tracks, these are a must-have for any Virgin Steele and true metal fan. I recently had the opportunity to speak with singer/songwriter/keyboardist Dave DeFeis who gave some insight about the band and it’s new releases.

Why did it take so long for the albums to be released on CD?

It was always a question of finding the time to resurrect those recordings properly. For the past 5-6 years or more, I have been quite busy creating new music/albums, plus "Metal-Opera Stage Presentations" of the works and touring. Therefore, I did not have the proper time to devote to such a project. I finally found a window of opportunity to work on it, as soon as I came off the road from the HOUSE OF ATREUS ACT II Tour. That's when I began compiling all the tapes, photos, etc.



Who's idea was it to finally make this happen (yours, the label)?

Mine. I told the Label about it and they were interested, so we made it happen.


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I see there are bonus tracks and new liner notes. How much do you think this will help? It did well for the Motley Crue reissues.

Yes of course! I always like to include Bonus Tracks and Liner Notes whenever possible, which is in fact...Always! I did the same for the NOBLE SAVAGE & AGE OF CONSENT Re-issues. How much will it help what? Sales? I think the Fans enjoy and appreciate it, and they... are the ones who matter most! That's why I do it. I don't know if that makes the albums sell any more copies or not, but I do think it makes more value for the money spent by the Fans.



Are the bonus tracks from the original recordings?

Yes some like LOTHLORIEN, are from the original recording sessions for VS 1. Others, (THE LESSON, LIFE OF CRIME, & BURN THE SUN), are demos we made sometime between the completion of the first album, and the start of the second album. And still others were from the early EP's we had done, (I AM THE ONE, GO DOWN FIGHTING & WAIT FOR THE NIGHT), and one is a live track from the early 90's, (BLUES DELUXE OREGANATA). That one features Edward Pursino on guitar.



How is your relationship with Jack Starr? Would you ever consider working with him again?

There is no relationship. No, never again.



I see you had a lot of input on these releases (producer, etc.). How did you get that power?

I always have a lot of input on every album, as I am writing the songs, producing & singing & playing keyboards. I was granted that Power by all the Gods & Goddesses on Mount Olympus! Ha!



You are now part of a major metal label (Sanctuary). How much of a change have you noticed and how has it helped?

Yes we are! It is too early to tell, but I think all will be infinitely better all around! We are excited by the possibilities!



How do you explain Virgin Steele's longevity?

Total Commitment to bringing out the best each & every time! We have maintained a direct & honest approach to all that we do, and we are always progressing, getting better with each release & tour. I think mainly, it is the songs and the ideology they contain. They translate Powerful Emotions to those who come into contact with them.


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How much longer will the band continue? Is there a new studio album on the horizon?

Forever and a Day! Yes of course, many more, plus a live album, DVD, etc!



How much has the music scene changed, more importantly the metal scene, since VS first came on?

It has become perhaps more fragmented and sub-divided than ever before. More genres of Metal are constantly rising up. Technology has changed things quite a bit, but the underlying feeling of Metal...still remains!



Do you notice any difference between the metal scene here compared to the rest of the world, most notably Europe?

Sure every country has their own particular slant or take on the Metal Experience, but ultimately the Fans of this Music all have the same undying devotion, passion and pure love for this profoundly wonderful genre! You know a Metal Fan, as a Metal Fan! It doesn't matter what part of the World they come from. Music/Metal, is the great unifier!



What's the difference between VS of today than the VS of the early 80's?

We have become better musicians, and composers! We are more focused, & more dedicated than ever before! The Music has grown up since the early days and evolved into a more adventurous, sophisticated Metallic Beast! More Epic!



How much of a change has the recording process has there been since the first recordings of these albums?

Technology changes, but my basic way of composing is still the same, and our approach to recording has always been to try to capture as much emotion, power and substance as possible on tape. Therefore the basic approach is still..."keep it spontaneous, go for it and explode"! Capture all that you are on tape for posterity!



What are the tour plans and will you travel overseas?

We will return to Europe, that is certain. We will also attempt to play in South America as well, and we have been doing the occasional concert in the States too! In fact we have a very big one coming up NY, at a place called THE DOWNTOWN. We will record this one. We will continue to tour and make the best Music we possibly can. A Royal & Noble Thanks to all Our Friends & Fans for listening! Keep well & remain Forever...INVICTUS!


Band Website: www.virgin-steele.com