Hello David, it’s nice having you for an interview. I really feel honoured bout interviewing you. I hope this interview finds you well? And I hope you are doing fine. And so here are my questions for you:
David: Thanks very much Susanne…it’s my pleasure to speak with you….Yes I am well thanks for asking. I hope all is Glorious in your world too….OK…let’s begin.
1. Please introduce Virgin Steele anno 2014 to my readers.
David: VIRGIN STEELE plays what I call a Barbaric-Romantic style of Metal, that can range from a whisper to a scream. It can be aggressive and violent at times, and more delicate and sensual at other moments. Some people call what we do Epic Metal, as the music is always full of drama, passion and commitment. The next months and the next few years actually will see the release of lots of new music, because we have been in the studio quite a bit and we are still currently actively engaged in recording the next several albums.
2. On your web page its quite silent… so it seems you are very busy with your projects. What is on the agenda for VS for this month for example?
David: We only post news when we immediately have something coming out, or confirmed concert dates. We never post things randomly…that’s not our style and people pretty much know this by now. There will be more postings shortly as we do have several things happening. On June 13th we are re-issuing THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL PARTS 1 & 2, together in one 2 disc CD set, plus we will also release INVICTUS, and inside INVICTUS we have included a bonus disc of music called „FIRE SPIRITS“. This album contains acoustic tracks performed live. Some tracks were done live in the studio and others were captured live during rehearsals in the main room of my house. I am very happy with these performances. They are raw, passionate, and totally honest. I know you have a festival over there called, „Keep It True“…well it doesn’t get any truer than this. This is Metal stripped down and performed acoustically, but it is just as full on and intense as when the whole group is playing electrically. I know that some people get upset when they see bands onstage playing alongside lap tops and iphones or whatever….well….this is the exact opposite….it’s straight ahead with one or two guitars and one vocal all captured exactly as you hear it. You can really hear the interplay and the chemistry between Edward’s guitar and my voice. He sounds great! He sounds like ten people playing, and I have always enjoyed recording live and off the cuff so to speak, rather then in the confines of the studio, so the vocal comes across as very free, and I think you can hear our long history of working together in these tracks. We wanted to contribute something to the INVICTUS CD that expressed another side of what we do, while still maintaining the raw energy of that album. In addition to all that we are working on some videos that will appear over the next weeks or so, and also planning on what to include in the releases for October. Oh yeah…we will also issue vinyl versions of the albums…for those who love vinyl.
3. You are about to release an anniversary box through SPV and the release is scheduled for autumn 2014 (from what I read on the web). So are you nearly finished with the box set? Or are there final things left which need a smooth and polish??
David: Yes we do plan to have that out in October. There is an entire full length album of tracks ready to go….but since of course there is a bit more time…yes…there might be some changes to that along the way, as I am also working on another set of songs that we hope to include with that. It could be a double album if everything gets finished in time….which as we speak does seem very possible. The title for these new recordings is GHOST HARVEST (The Spectral Vintage Sessions)….yes wine was involved….
4. Also there is some kind of DVD in the making which wasn’t released yet, are there any news on the DVD which should show your career highlights and also some live material from various concerts? Have you got a name which you can already reveal or is it a secret until it will be published?
David: There is a huge amount of material to sort through….I need to be able to only focus on that in order to complete it properly, so the DVD (while more and more material is being filmed)…will still be on the back burner for a little while yet, at least until the middle of next year, because after this box-set and the new material included with that, we still want to release a full on Epic type of VIRGIN STEELE album in between February and April. As regards the DVD title….I have a few in mind….and yes it will include live footage, at home stuff, in the studio and also feature some moments from the 3 Metal-Operas that were performed in Memmingen, Germany. I hope to make it a proper historical representation of what we have been doing since we began.
5. I am more than happy to learn that you are also doing another studio album which is planned for the beginning of 2015. Will it be a concept album? What have your fans to reckon with? Is there anything you can come up with yet?
David: Thanks Susanne! Yes it will. I don’t want to go into detail about it at this time, but I will say that it has its roots in a certain type of Mythology and it does concern some dying and resurrecting Godmen….The music is very dramatic, heavy and very emotional, and it does unfold and carry you on and develop from start to finish with all our Barbaric-Romantic qualities intact.
VS @ Prog Power USA VIII – pic © by vpdigital.net
6. Now up to some various questions where you can chose between two answers the one that fits most. Please chose one word from each question and make your position clear.
– Cassettes or Vinyl?
David: I like both really….The Lp is wonderful both sonically and also in terms of the artwork….You can really appreciate the covers, the photos, etc. on the vinyl versions. As I mentioned we are issuing vinyl versions of the 2 „MARRIAGE“ albums and also INVICTUS, and I can honestly tell you that the artwork really looks amazing. Our art guy Jens Reinhold did an incredible job putting everything together. Regarding the other format….I do love the convenience of cassettes, and I also like how music sounds on tape. Tape….is alive…like fire and air….full of energy and mystery.
– Greek food or American food?
David: Again…I have to say both. I am a big fan of food and eating in general. Good food, and conversation…wine….music…for me it all makes for a Magickal time. It is the simply things in Life that have the most meaning for me.
– Ballads or metal hymns?
David: Again…I have to say both. There are times when you want to hear a ballad and there are times when you want to roar….For me…it all depends on my surroundings…what my mood is, and what nourishment or need it is that I have, and that I wish the music to fulfill. I do derive a great amount of sustenance from music, so yeah…it really depends on where I am at emotionally speaking.
– Sleaze Rock or US Metal?
David: And once again….I want both. Some US Metal is sleaze Rock….and vice versa…right…..
– Fitness workouts or excursion through the nature?
David: Absolutely both! I do like to work out with weights and an exercise routine…but…nothing beats a long walk through the forest, swimming in the ocean and all those outdoors types of activities….I like the discipline of a workout….and I enjoy the spiritual and emotional well being found in nature.
– Books or e-readers?
David: Here I have to say books….I’m not a huge technology fan…I still do not own a cell phone….I love books, the smell, the texture….the comforting quality….A good book is like a good friend….there when you need….an e-reader just doesn’t have the same feeling for me. A book is organic….you don’t have to plug it in, or recharge it….Some might say…“but…you are using trees for them“…that is true but a book can certainly be easily printed on recycled paper, and even if no more books were printed…there are still billions already in existence and I certainly do not want to see them disappear. Reading an e-reader by candle light…doesn’t cut it in the romantic department….and I don’t care for all that scrolling…
VS @ Prog Power USA VIII – pic © by vpdigital.net
– Tour life or studiowork?
David: Never the twain shall meet. They are both so different. At certain points in life I gravitate towards one or the other. For quite awhile I was really into touring…now I am really into being in the studio, probably because I have written so many songs and I hope to capture them all properly…I am getting the itch though to perform onstage again and be out of the studio…but…I do know that I still have several projects to complete…so….it is off to the studio…I go.
7. Life on the road is….?
David: Whatever you want it to be. It can be great fun or it can be a totally crushing experience. It all depends on the mindset you adopt going into it. And it also has to do with how prepared you are. One must be in good physical, & mental shape to begin touring, and one has to believe…have confidence in themselves…otherwise….it won’t be enjoyable…it will feel like drudgery. I have personally had some beautiful experiences out there and there were some that were not so stellar…but….I wouldn’t trade those….I learned from them all, the good, the bad and the insane….
8. Rockstar image is?
David: Depends on which Rockstar you are referring to….Some come across like accountants, financial consultants or sellers of shoes. An image is a shadow… it follows you everywhere….The image for it to be a true one…should reflect the actual real personality of the artist in question…a fake or put on image is like a veneer…it is easily seen through. I think it is best to find those qualities or character traits that are actually inherent in the personality and explode them on the stage, on the recording, etc….then the audience will find those things that are perhaps also there inside themselves and will gravitate toward a kindred spirit.
9. For composing a successful metal opera it needs….?
David: A dramatic story. And music that has forward momentum….that can carry the tale onward…even if the plot gets convoluted. Regardless of what the lyrics might be about…the music has another inner life…a secret life maybe, that can speak eloquently and tell its own tale.
VS @ Prog Power USA VIII – pic © by vpdigital.net
10. Your vocal range is more than just outstanding. What do you do and which tricks do you use to keep your voice in form. Are there special techniques you are working with? And how do we have to visualize you doing your warm up techniques?
David: Many thanks for your kind words Susanne….I really appreciate that. You mean other than wine and black coffee! Yes…I have a few vocal exercises that I do that can sound kind of strange…Some are just vowel sounds and some are words like „Troy“…that I use….I sometimes start top down and work the upper register first…and some days I go bottom to top….I like to vocalize either in the car while driving or in the shower. Steam is good for the cords….I wouldn’t really want anyone to hear me doing them….they would probably sound annoying to most people.
11. Well, nowadays lots of musicians are writing auto-biographies. If you would write one about your career which title would you chose for your opus?
David: Hmmmm….good question….I do hope to write one of those….title….hmmmmm…not quite sure…there are a few…at this point perhaps…..FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM…or THE SECRETS OF STEELE….ha…we shall see!
12. I am sure that you have met Ronnie James Dio a lot of times on tour… Your thoughts on Ronnie…?
David: Yes I have met Ronnie a few times….He was always incredibly gracious, warm, super friendly and he immediately put me at ease. When I met him the first time, I started to introduce myself and he stopped me and said…“I know who you are my son“….that was incredible to me. It was really kind and unexpected…..And he instantly acknowledged and validated my work. There are people I’ve met who have never even done one gig who have acted like they were the King Of the universe….and here was Ronnie who had done everything, treating me with total respect….It was really heartwarming. He was a truly beautiful soul….
13. Last but not least… the floor is yours. Please leave a message for all my rocking readers and your German fans.
David: Greetings….Loud Cheers & Heroic Hails to you all! I thank you sincerely for all the wonderful kindness & great support you have shown to VIRGIN STEELE! May your days & nights be long upon the Earth…and may your Spirits remain…Forever…INVICTUS! BY THE GODS & GODDESSES!!!
David, I thank you from the heart for this interview. It was awesome to get this chance sending you questions. Thanks for your time answering them! Please know that Germany loves you. All best and we are all more than happy that VS is alive and rocking! Wishing you all the best for all you do. Was nice having you for an interview means so much to me. Keep up the awesome work. And I hope that your next Virgin Steele tour will turn the younger generation into VS fans too. Good music is rare, but VS stands for professionalism and high end quality music. The kids have to find out, too! I love all of the Virgin Steele songs and one of my faves is EMALAITH – just to point that out. In my opinion it is always most important to tell a musician which songs or things you like best and not just only to listen to the artists album and put it back to the shelf after. Well for me it is important to discuss songs and structures and the little things behind. In my opinion feedback is important. Susi @ Rocket Queen Promotion Germany
David: Thanks so very much Susanne for all your kind words, and sincere belief and support! I truly appreciate it…..It’s been an honor to converse with you….I look forward to speaking with you again soon…Keep well…..
Cheers & all the absolute best from NY,
Virgin Steele WEB