-First of all, it’s an honor for me to interview one of my musical heroes and I really appreciate your time. How is everything going?
ANSWER: Hi…Thanks so very much for all your kindness. It is my pleasure to speak with you. Everything is going well here at the moment thanks for asking. I hope all is cool by you…
-You have recently released «The Passion of Dionysus». What can you tell us about this album?
ANSWER: Well…let’s see… It is an incredibly violent album, on several levels…lyrically, emotionally, musically…. In the SYNOPSIS inside the booklet for the album I explain quite a bit about this Work. I will try to summarize all those ideas here…
The album largely concerns the concept of duality. Where something is both one thing and its opposite simultaneously. It is a concept album having to do obviously with Dionysus and as the title suggest…his “Passion” or suffering, and his coming to Thebes to avenge the slander of his mother, as well as to punish the King of Thebes for denying his worship there. But that being said…much more is going on. I will quote directly from the Synopsis here:
Most importantly what Dionysus embodies and what our tale here concerns, is an epic struggle to the death between the twin forces of control/restraint and freedom/release, and whether there is room in society for the irrational, the wild…the “letting go” aspects of ourselves. Ultimately it concludes that a space or a place for the irrational must be allowed for society to exist, function properly and continue to thrive. When one opposes or denies a place for the irrational like King Pentheus does in our tale, then the person, place, thing, or society will be ripped apart…exactly like what comes to be the fate of Pentheus.
Science has shown us that even rats need escape from absolute reality!
As I said… “THE PASSON OF DIONYSUS” album depicts an epic struggle, between the twin forces of control/restraint and freedom/release. It depicts the passion or suffering of the God…his struggles, his great betrayal at the hands of those he trusted…his rage, his frustration, his death, & his resurrection, and on another level, this Work also portrays and expresses what the God dearly loves…or is most “passionate” about. As I hinted at earlier embedded within this offering lurks another duality…something else is also simultaneously going on…
-Something that surprises me is that in the last 10 years you have released several albums but have not embarked on a tour for each of these releases. Why is that?
ANSWER: We got a bit fed up with touring. After awhile it started becoming not very enjoyable. We love the studio we love creating so we devoted our energy to that and to creating videos. We are now gradually coming back around to the live arena. I do enjoy giving concerts, and we intend to do more and more of that as the months go on.
-Going back to the album, what was the songwriting process? Have you been writing like other bands have been doing?
ANSWER: I don’t know what other bands you might be referring to, or what methods such bands might use, but I can tell you that in general we really do not operate like other bands do. The song writing process on this DIONYSUS album, like so many of our other albums, began with me sitting at the piano crafting all the music, lyrics, and arrangements, after which I went into the studio and laid down a piano track and a guide vocal. Then I brought in Edward to listen and to learn all the music, after which I began immediately recording his guitars…next I began recording my vocals and all the other various instruments that appear on the album.
-And as I will soon see you live (finally!) at Leyendas del Rock, what can we expect from your show?
ANSWER: Within the time slot we have been given, we will try to perform as broad a selection of songs from our many different albums that we can. Most of our songs are quite long so this is always a tricky process.
-Are you planning to go out on the road and do some touring to support the album?
ANSWER: Yes. There will be more dates in the months ahead.
-Would it be possible a special gig in the future where you play Exorcist’s «Nightmare Theatre»? Is it possible that you were going to be the secret band of a European festival a few years ago to play this album? I heard rumors about it but in the end it didn’t happen.
ANSWER: It could happen one day…I am interested in doing that. We were offered some festival spots for that, but nothing was ever definite. I think it could be an enjoyable thing to do.
-Do you plan to perform more songs from «Guardians of the Flame» (which I think is a very underrated album) in the future? Can you tell me about this album?
ANSWER: I would not rule it out. Thanks so very much for enjoying that album. The GUARDIANS album was a special time in our development. We were on the rise, and we had 2 new record deals, and we had a bit more financial backing to make the album, so sonically we were able to improve a bit from the first album on our studio sound. I remember listening to the playback in the studio of the final mix of the song GUARDIANS OF THE FAME and thinking “wow…this is really quite epic…I want to carry on and pursue this style further”.
We will be re-issuing that album along with our first album, through SPV in the months ahead. I will of course add special bonus material as usual! I’m very much looking forward to that!
-What does the short and long-term future hold for Virgin Steele?
ANSWER: More concerts, more videos…perhaps a “movie”/documentary about the PASSION OF DIONYSUS album, and we are already working on what will be the follow up to the DIONYSUS album, plus the follow up to the follow up! I never stop writing.
-Well, that’s all from my part thank you very much for your time and thank you for all that your music has meant a lot in my life, which has been a lot. I would love to tell you in person.
ANSWER: Hey thanks so very much for all your sincere kindness, your passion and all your energy. It is truly very much appreciated. Well if you are going to be at Leyendas…please feel free to visit us during the signing session after our gig. I believe that it will take place about 45 minutes after we come off the stage.
Cheers, Hail & all the very best to you and to your Magazine and to all your Readers!
BY THE GODS & GODDESSES,
David DeFeis-VIRGIN STEELE August 3, 2023