Vio-lence Guitarist Phil Demmel Says He’s ‘Torn’ About the Band’s Future
Classic thrash outfit Vio-lence has undergone a few changes in recent history, not only saying goodbye to guitarist Bobby Gustafson last year and Perry Strickland earlier this year, but they’ve had to find outside help to fill in for founding member Phil Demmel during a part of their upcoming tour.
While chatting with fans via Instagram yesterday, Demmel openly wondered whether the band had a future anymore, citing recent changes within the band. He said he’d spoken with vocalist Sean Killian, the only other long-time member, about whether it was time to call it quits.
“In all honesty, ’cause that’s kind of how I roll, it’s kind of weird playing these shows. With Perry gone now… Everybody’s awesome. Miles is awesome. I love Christian [Olde Wolbers, bassist.] Ira [Black, guitarist] is super pro… It’s just weird. And being the founder, co-founder of this band and being a part of just about everything that it’s done, seeing it come to a bunch of fill-ins and me and Sean, it’s just…
“I’m in a weird spot right now with how it is. We played last night. The show was great. Adrian did awesome. Playing the tunes was great. The fans loved it. It was packed. But I’m just kind of really torn right now in the sense of what Vio-lence is and what it’s gonna be and what my role is gonna be in that and how I feel about that. So I’m just spitting it all out right now.
“I had a talk with Sean about it. And actually, in all honesty, I’ve asked him to — [laughs] this is an overshare, for sure — but I’ve told him I wanted to shut it down. I get the feelings of 1991 all over again when Robb [Flynn] left and then Perry left. And God bless Ray and Mark Hernandez, and it just became something that it wasn’t. And that’s how it’s kind of feeling to me a little bit. It’s kind of what it feels like.
“I’m in a very fortunate spot music-wise, with lots of options and lots of things I could be doing or am doing, in a sense, and realizing that to ask that of those dudes to not do it anymore is selfish on my part. And maybe that’s why I made the first reachout about… So thinking about it today moved my perspective to the point where it’s… The kids are loving it. And for the people that didn’t know the members of the band, as opposed from the older fans that have known us as those five that were on those records, then it’s…
“I don’t know what to do. I’m just sharing how I feel about it all. I love the dudes that are jamming with them. Like I said, I do. It’s nothing against them. I think they play the parts great. It’s definitely different.
“The thing with me and Vio-lence is that we were always this dangerous element — not, like, dangerous… Well, back in the day, definitely. [Laughs] But it was just this weird things-can-go-off-the-rails-at-any-moment-type deal. And as you put different people in those pieces, then you kind of lose what that’s about.
“And maybe that’s what I’m missing right now. And I’ve been apart from it, from all the things that I’ve been doing and have chosen to do. So it’s hard to let go. And I’m not letting go; I’m a partner in the business. And as much as I’m gonna be playing? Probably not a bunch.
“So I think it’s fair to the fans to know that… I will announce what shows I’m gonna be at, and I think it’s fair of the band to let the fans where and what lineup is gonna be playing, in that sense, and let them decide what they wanna do.”
Needless to say, this is a big revelation for any thrash metal fan to hear. Vio-lence have been off and on as an active band since the early 80s. And while they’ve certainly had their lineup changes, they’ve been able to put out some absolutely killer tunes over the years. It would be a shame to see them call it quits, but who knows if that’s in the cards at the moment. That’s going to need some deep introspection from the guys in the band.