Interview with David DeFeis, Virgin Steele (November 12th 2008)

Power of – three more re-releases has just been released. Those three represent you in the mid-90s, looking back what did you do right and what could have been better…


Virgin Steele – I believe that we accomplished what we set out to do. On LIFE AMONG THE RUINS the emphasis was on conjuring up the Bluesy side of VIRGIN STEELE, and making an album that reflected what we had been currently thinking about, which was our roots in all their Bluesy rawness. On the two “MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL” albums the emphasis was on getting deeper into our Epic nature and developing further those huge bombastic elements that we have always had. I think we captured pure honest moments with all three albums. We were able to record strong performances within well-crafted songs. With every album we have ever done, I would always like to have had more time on the mixing end of things, but all in all…we did manage to make Magick happen.


Power of – To me, ‘Life Among the Ruins’ marks your last traditional heavy metal album, while ‘The Marriage’ albums represents the beginning of you transforming into a more symphonic and epic metal band. Why did your style change (that much) at that stage - was it a natural change?


Virgin Steele – I’m not sure that I would call “LIFE AMONG THE RUINS” a traditional metal album. For me it is more of an Epic Blues album, or Symphonic Blues Metal…while the “MARRIAGE” albums are indeed “BARBARIC-ROMANTIC” albums. The “Barbaric-Romantic” element had always been there, through songs like Noble Savage, The Burning Of Rome, Lion In Winter, etc., but prior to recording the “LIFE AMONG THE RUINS” album, we had made a sort of sideways step back into exploring some of the kinds of music we all had grown up with, such as the Blues, and Led Zeppelin, (all filtered through the idea of what VS has always been about), therefore when it came time to actually record something…we naturally recorded the songs that we currently had. Upon completing the recordings I knew that the album was quite different to anything we had done before, but I said…” well this is us at this moment, and these are quite interesting songs, so…let’s put it out there”. Those Fans who discovered us through the “Ruins” album really liked it. Some who were expecting another Noble Savage might have been disappointed, but regardless…we have always stood behind the album. After completing “Ruins”, I wanted to get deeper into the “Barbaric-Romantic” style; this is why the two “Marriage” albums sound like they do. It was a conscious decision to try to further the style that we had begun earlier on songs like Noble Savage, Angel Of Light, etc…to see if we could surpass that and create something that while having its foundations in that style…went far beyond it…This I believe was achieved. Going into the “Marriage Of Heaven & Hell” project I said to myself…”I want to make an album that I can listen to as a Fan…regardless of the fact that I am on the album…” At that time I was not getting much satisfaction from the music I was hearing from other groups, and I wanted to make an album that embodied all my thoughts about music, about how it should be written, performed, recorded, presented etc….The “Marriage” albums were my response to this desire on my part. And yes…I do derive a whole lot of nourishment from them still.


Power of – The albums have been given a make-over, how much has given a lift?


Virgin Steele – If you had both the earlier versions and these re-issues side by side you would notice that on the new albums there is a more elaborate packaging scheme, and…there are bonus tracks. The other element that the new ones contain which is not so obvious is that these re-issues have been re-mastered.


Power of - Virgin Steele – any special story behind your name? Is there some kind of connection to Iron Maiden?


Virgin Steele – No there is no connection to Iron Maiden other than the concept that on the surface both names seem to contain a light element and a heavy element. The same can be said of names such as Led Zeppelin, or Iron Butterfly and perhaps in a sense…Black Sabbath. We wanted our name to express that dichotomy, to show that the sound of the Group would embody both ideologies. Under the VIRGIN STEELE aegis we can create very heavy over the top things like KINGDOM OF THE FEARLESS, and A SYMPHONY OF STEELE, while at the same time craft more gentler songs such as IPHIGENIA IN HADES, or GOD OF OUR SORROWS for example. The name also implies the idea of something new fresh from the forge, and ready to be tested…such as the Sword Excalibur.


Power of – ‘Vision of Eden’ was released in 2006, when can we expect a new album from Virgin Steele?


Virgin Steele –Most likely sometime between March and May of 2009…if all continues to go well.


Power of – Will the next album have more in common with ‘Noble Savage’ or ‘Invictus’ (my two favorite VS albums)?


Virgin Steele – It's hard to say, because your concept of what those albums are about is probably different than mine. The album will be diverse. There will be moments of over the top Barbaric-Romantic music, also very atmospheric moody things, and all moments in between.


Power of - Thank you very much for answering my questions. Do you have any last rants for our readers?


Virgin Steele – You’re very welcome…my pleasure…I want to say Cheers & thanks to you, and to all your Readers, for the continued support, honour and great belief you have shown us…A Royal Thanks & a LOUD “BY THE GODS & GODDESSES” to you ALL!!!


David DeFeis

Kenn Jensen

Virgin Steele - Life Among the Ruins
Virgin Steele - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Part 1
Virgin Steele - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Part 2

Albums available on Dockyard1.