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Interview VIO-LENCE

A talk with Phil Demmel


Really glad having a talk  with Phil Demmel, guitar player of the 80s Bay Area Thrash Metal band VIO-LENCE! Appreciate you'll answer some questions in the first place Phil. How are you, everything alright at the moment? 

Everything is great. Thanks for the interest in the band. 


I would like to do a ' That was Then, This Is Now ' interview Phil. Hope you dont mind while asking you going back to the very beginning of Vio-lence which is almost twenty years ago now. Actually, can you remember how it all started back then? Who was the leading man behind the band, the driving force? 

When I joined the band Death Penalty, I started writing all the music and lyrics. So I guess that'd be me. 


The 80's Metal scene was the most greatest, pleasant time of my life for sure. Ill bet for you too, isn't it? 

It was a very cool time for metal. The local scene here was incredible.


Starting up a Thrash Metal band surrounded by other bands like Hallows Eve, Exodus, Death Angel, Detente, Anthrax, Recipients Of Death, Destruction, Have Mercy, Dark Angel, Blessed Death Possessed,must be fucking awesome. You were all brothers in Metal and no hard feelings at all. Nowadays, I miss some respect inside the Metal movement. Do you have that same opinion about the new generation of Heavy Metal? 

There was plenty of animosity back in the day. Lots of stupid shit. 


What is your favorite Metal style at the moment? 

Im old school. Heavy and fast. 


A first Vio-lence release entitled Eternal Nightmares saw the light of day in 1988 through Mechanic/MCA as I suppose. A real kick-ass Thrashin album with some new members cause some left the band. Why did they decided to parted ways and who were the new ones? 

Robb Flynn (now in Machine Head) was newish. Hed been in the band for a year or so. We replaced Troy with Robb because we thought he was a lot more pro. 


After releasing that album, you did some touring stuff through the US. Can you tell me about touring and playing live performances as often as possible. That must be big fucking pleassure all over the place, no doubt about it! What was your greates gig ever and why? 

We loved playing live. It was our strength for sure. Best shows were always in the Bay Area. Home crowds OWNED! 


You guys decided to stop working with Mechanic/MCA and signed another deal with Megaforce Records. What went wrong with MCA? 

We were stupid. Thought we were Led Zeppelin. We obviously werent. 


A new album called Oppressing The Masses came out in 1990 and kicks us once again in the head! Fantastic album and what makes you always different from many other Metal bands were the lyrics. Controversy and Vio-lence were always very close, right. Why? 

Always. Just the way we liked it. 


Which of both previously mentioned Vio-lence albums do you prefer Phil? 

Im more partial to Eternal Nightmares. Songs are closer to heart. 


After all, the EP Torture Tactics was next in line. Once again neckbreaking stuff to the core with a live version of Officer Nice. That must be a very special song for yall. Can you tell me why? 

Great live song. Crowd always chants with us.


Some Record company problems after that release, but you want give up the Metal fight which was proven with the album Nothing To Gain, the last Vio-lence release before a few years of silence. What was going on then? 

We sold out to keep playing music. I dont like that album much. 


What is the link between Vio-lence and bands like Torque, Machine Head and Technocrazy? 

I guess that would be me. 


After many years of  deadly silence came the great news you guys became a full Metal formation once again and ready to turn back on the stage to Thrash us all! An explanation please. 

We got back together to play The Thrash Of The Titans for Chuck Billy. We drew a great response and decided to continue for ourselves and have some fun. 


Can you give me the full recent line-up? 

Sean Killian-Vocals

Phil Demmel-Guitars

Deen Dell-Bass

Troy Fua-Guitars

Perry Strickland-drums 


How is the present day audience different from the one Vio-lence had in the eighties? When did you play the very first re-union gig and who were the other bands on the bill!

Audience is older for sure. Reunion show was for Chuck. August of 2001. Anthrax, SOD, Death Angel, Exodus Legacy (Pre-Testament), Forbidden, Heathen, Flotsam and Jetsam, Sadus. 


Great feelings to see some old Metal friends back? Were there many old fans coming along to see the band again? Were there any meet-and-greets?  

No meet and greets but good to see all the old crew.


Can we see you guys across Belgium in the near future?

Nope. Vio is done playing live. Im in Machine Head now and thats my main gig. 


How is the work on the new songs progressing? Can we expect the typical Vio-lence songs like Serial Killer, Officer Nice or Torture Tactics per example. 

There will be 3 new songs on the Eternal Nightmares re-release. Fast and heavy.


How many new songs are written so far? When can we expect a new album to be released?  

Release is this summer! 


Well, Im really goddman happy the Vio-lence train is back on the tracks for some more devastating material to release. Thanx for your time and if you want some final comments to add, go ahead Phil.

Thanks for the support, always cool to talk about the band that has meant so much to me.