BY: TJ Fowler
Virgin Steele Official Facebook:
Skullbanger Media: First I want to say thank you David for the opportunity to allow me to ask some questions about Virgin Steele and yourself for my site Skullbanger Media. I want to first say I am a newcomer as a fan. Years ago I heard your song Wings of Vengeance but never looked deeper until just recently. After doing so I was really impressed with not only your songwriting and vocal range but the sincerity you put forth in your songs and performances. It was really refreshing to see someone be as passionate as you are in doing something that I can tell you truly love. Could you maybe go into a bit of your history with music, what inspires you and when you realized this was your passion?
- David: Cheers TJ. Thanks so very much for all your kind words and genuine support…it is most greatly appreciated.
Sure…I am happy to answer your questions.
I was drawn to music at a very young age…sounds, noises…rhythms and the Magick of pitches moved me profoundly. My siblings were all involved with Rock bands or playing Classical music, Opera, etc., and my father was involved with the Theatre. The Arts fascinated me and I knew that I wanted to be part of that world and contribute something to it in my own way. I started taking piano lessons at the age of 8 and by age 11, I was singing in my first Rock band. It was a way of life for me. I never thought much about it being a career…it was simply something that I needed to do to make sense of the world and my place in it. Singing, playing, writing songs, poems, etc. became my, be all end all…and that has never changed…it is still what I live for…it seems like music has always been a part of me, and I have always been driven to listen, create, perform, and immerse myself fully in its charms. Everything I do revolves around Music with a capital “M”. There is a track that perhaps sums up a bit of what I am talking about. The song GLAMOUR from our last album NOCTURNES OF HELLFIRE & DAMNATION, when you read the lyrics you might say, “oh yes it is a song about a relationship he has or had with a woman”…and yes while that is certainly true, on another level it is also about my relationship with Music and what it has done for me and to me…Music is a force that continues to drive me and give me a reason to be.
I am inspired by the natural world around me…I walk outside and I take a look at the trees, the sky, clouds and I think…damn if I could only create something that beautiful…that is what keeps me going.
Skullbanger Media: Now, I notice Virgin Steele lyrically focuses a lot on Greek mythology. What is it about this mythology that calls to you?
David: That comes from the Theatre and my exposure to it at an early age. Greek Mythology was born out of the Theatre and quite specifically the discussions of the two great powers of Nature…Demeter and Dionysus…I love how the Gods and Goddesses are so very human with all of our traits both good and bad. They strive, they struggle and they don’t always succeed…I have always been attuned to the Tragic side of life….
Skullbanger Media: Who is your favorite Greek character or story?
David: Characters…hmmm…probably Dionysus and Persephone as they are the two dying deities. I am attracted to both their Power and their vulnerability…and regarding the various Tales… I really love the ATREUS Myths and also Medea…all that drama, intrigue…blood…and the connection to our modern age…it’s amazing….
Skullbanger Media: Virgin Steele is what many would call a Power metal or Symphonic metal band and besides your fellow New Yorkers Manowar (and to a lesser extent Riot) we don’t really see a lot power metal coming out of the States. It seems to be a heavily dominated by European bands. But you and Manowar both seem to have tapped into what makes great power metal. What do you think contributes to being a successful power metal band especially if you come from the US? Is there something in New York that gives you special powers? 😀
David: Thanks so very much for all your kindness…I think that coming from the US, a band like ours and I believe this is also true for Manowar, is that we have always been aware of the Power of the Blues and how that was interpreted by some of the English Rock bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. For me personally I have a deep passion for the American Blues artists like Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Son House, etc. I think that sensuality and that sorrow is an essential ingredient to what we do. In addition to the “classical” side of VIRGIN STEELE that other earthy part is also extremely important to all that we do both from the recording/song writing side, and also the onstage performance part of things.
Skullbanger Media: I spoke a bit about the Greek mythology, and forgive me if I am pigeonholing you here a bit, but have you ever thought delving into other themes outside of that mythology? Egyptian, Native American or even into the fantasy horror realm like Lovecraftian or Tolkien type things?
David: I have. The VISIONS OF EDEN album, which we will be re-issuing shortly, concerns Sumerian Mythology, and the entire Pagan experience…so does THE BLACK LIGHT BACCHANALIA album. And on THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL and various parts of other albums, in addition to the Greek references there are also references to Norse Mythology. I am a student of all Myths and all things Pagan…it is a great interest of mine. What people should understand though is that I am not giving a History lesson. When I reference or discuss a Myth…I am usually using that as metaphor for what I want to express about today…modern times…all my lyrics are really doing that…it is not strictly presenting the Myth as it was.
Skullbanger Media: What does the future hold for Virgin Steele? What does David DeFeis have stored up in that brain of his for the band! 😀
David: I am currently finishing the re-issue campaign we started awhile back, and I have also written what will be at least the next two albums. Both are conceptual, with one being a kind of dark Autumnal Work and the other a bloody beast of a thing, perhaps somewhat steeped in various Mythologies…but again actually discussing today’s life situation and the wild world we inhabit.
Skullbanger Media: For any possible new fans that may be reading this interview, what would like to tell them about what they can expect from a Virgin Steele album?
David: Drama, Mystery, over the top passion, moments of raw primal power, and moments of ethereal beauty. Honesty and the sounds of the living world.
Skullbanger Media: Well I currently live in Finland but am originally from Tennessee. I always try to ask this question from metal bands as I always enjoy hearing their answer. I have to say I am REALLY interested in hearing yours. In Tennessee, Elvis is kind of a big deal…actually he is a big deal all over the world…he himself has grown to mythical proportions and even has a place called Graceland. If Virgin Steele were to cover an Elvis song, which one would you pick?
David: Indeed I am very aware of Elvis and his place in the Rock Pantheon…Like I was discussing earlier above…Elvis too was a passionate student of the Blues and the artists I mentioned. I would probably want to do something from his Sun Records era, when he was still steeped in the Blues Tradition. Perhaps Mystery Train.
Skullbanger Media: Well David, I want to thank you again for your time to answer these questions. It has been a great pleasure to discover more of your music for the first time…even if I am a bit late! I hope we can one day maybe meet up at a show or something! Feel free to visit my site at skullbanger.net and feel free to let me know if there is anything else I can do for you or the band!
David: My pleasure Sir! I thank you sincerely for all your kind belief, passion and thoughtful questions. I look forward to meeting you one day and speaking further. OK I shall have a look at your site.
Hail, Cheers and BY THE GODS,
David DeFeis December 13, 2016