PHIL DEMMEL On Reunited VIO-LENCE: 'It's An Exciting Time To Be Jamming With My Dudes Again'

June 9, 2020

Guitarist Phil Demmel of reunited San Francisco Bay Area thrashers VIO-LENCE spoke to CBS SF about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's new EP, tentatively due in 2021 via Metal Blade Records.

Regarding how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the band's touring activities, he said: "We were supposed to be doing Bloodstock and the Alcatraz Festival. We were playing every month and we had so many cool things lined up for this year. It's hard, because we had this momentum going and, you know, everybody did. We had a bunch of shows all over the world that we were doing, mostly one-offs.

"We're looking at recording here," he continued. "We've got a record, a five-song EP that we're going to do for Metal Blade Records. So we've got about three songs done for that and are super excited about having new material out after all this time. It's been about 30 years since we've recorded new music. It's an exciting time to be jamming with my dudes again."

VIO-LENCE vocalist Sean Killian recently described the band's new material as "a cross between 'Eternal [Nightmare]' [1988], 'Oppressing [The Masses]' [1990] and also our '93 demo. It's fast, it's heavy. We've got a couple of good chunk riffs and stuff like that," he explained. "We wanna get stuff in that's gonna start a pit up too. But we think people are gonna go crazy when they hear it. We've got some heavy lyrics, some heavy subjects. I mean, we're not a political band by any means, so when I say 'heavy,' it's just heavy shit that comes out of my demented head."

He continued: "At the end of the month, I think we're gonna work with [new VIO-LENCE bassist] Christian [Olde-Wolbers, ex-FEAR FACTORY]. We're gonna try to get Christian and [new VIO-LENCE guitarist] Bobby [Gustafson, ex-OVERKILL] out so we can work on it together as a band on this new stuff and try to bring it together. But it's heavy, dude. The expecations are high, so we know that. We thrown away just as much [material] as we've kept, 'cause we want it to badass."

This past January, VIO-LENCE parted ways with guitarist Ray Vegas and replaced him with Gustafson.

Last month, Demmel told EXODUS frontman Steve "Zetro" Souza's YouTube channel, Zetro's Toxic Vault, that VIO-LENCE was taking its time coming up with the best material possible. "When [the songs are] ready, they're ready," he said. "This [coronavirus pandemic] has given us more time. But still, it's gotta be fucking killer. I had a riff that the [other] dudes were kind of digging, and I'm all, 'I don't got a boner with this one.' I want a 10-foot boner with everything that we're doing now. It's gotta be better, it's gotta be fucking kick-ass, and there's parts of it that wasn't… I don't wanna put out some crap."

VIO-LENCE released three studio albums between 1988 and 1993. The group reunited soon after Demmel left MACHINE HEAD in late 2018.

VIO-LENCE performed its first comeback concert in April 2019 at the Oakland Metro in Oakland, California and spent the last year playing select shows in the U.S. and Europe.

The band's current touring lineup is rounded out by drummer Perry Strickland.

Although MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn was part of VIO-LENCE's classic incarnation and played on the band's debut album, "Eternal Nightmare", he wasn't approached about taking part in any of the comeback shows.

Killian underwent a successful liver transplant surgery in March 2018. The year before, Killian was diagnosed with stage four liver cirrhosis, which was caused in part by a genetic condition called hemochromatosis.

Photo credit: James Willard

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