PHIL DEMMEL On His Decision To Quit VIO-LENCE: ‘It Just Became Something Not Familiar Anymore’

Phil Demmel Schenker Guitar

In a recent interview with Nikki Blakk from San Francisco Bay Area radio station 107.7 The Bone, guitarist Phil Demmel talked about his choice to depart from VIO-LENCE, the band he co-founded almost forty years ago.

He said (as transcribed by Blabbermouth): “The VIO-LENCE thing just became… [Drummer] Perry [Strickland] left, or Perry‘s no longer in the band, and it just became — and I love Christian [Olde Wolbers, former FEAR FACTORY and current VIO-LENCE bassist] — it just became something not familiar anymore. And it hit me when we played the Whisky [A Go Go in February 2023 in West Hollywood, California] and it was Adrian [Aguilar], the drummer’s first show. And we were having this kid Miles Dimitri Baker, who plays in ICE NINE KILLS right now, come down, and he was gonna be my fill-in [for some dates]. And so he was gonna play on a song or two. And I show up to the show and I walk backstage and, man, there was 50 people backstage and I knew maybe [the guys in] the band and a couple of other people.

“It was just, like, ‘Man, this isn’t my home anymore. This doesn’t feel like home.’ And no slight against the dudes, ’cause I loved playing with Adrian, I loved playing with Christian, and Ira [Black, now-former VIO-LENCE guitarist] really worked hard for the band and was a big — he was a big fighter for the band. He worked hard. He cared a lot. Ira was a very productive member of VIO-LENCE. But with everything that was happening, it was just time for me to go… The Kerry [King] thing was firing up, the CATEGORY 7 thing was firing up, and [I] just [did] not [want to] let that be a distraction from [the other stuff I was doing].”

“I loved the [2022] VIO-LENCE EP [Let The World Burn] that I wrote, and me and Sean [KillianVIO-LENCE singer] wrote and we recorded with the dudes,” he added. “And I’m super proud of those songs and the way that the recording came out. [Producer/engineer] Juan [Urteaga] did a tremendous job.”

Demmel‘s final performance with VIO-LENCE occurred on February 11 at Carioca Club in São Paulo, Brazil. This concert also concluded VIO-LENCE‘s Latin American tour with EXHORDER.

Formed in 1985, Oakland thrashers VIO-LENCE helped define and refine what came to be known as the Bay Area sound, dropping three seminal albums before splitting in 1993. Leaving behind a heady legacy, they briefly reformed a handful of times in the intervening years before becoming a full-time band once more in 2019. After playing a string of successful shows, the quintet delivered Let The World Burn in 2022, a five-song EP showcasing their first new material in twenty-nine years. Delivering on the classic VIO-LENCE sound, Let The World Burn was tracked in Trident Studios in Pacheco, California by Juan Urteaga (MACHINE HEADEXODUS), mixed by Tue Madsen (DARK TRANQUILLITYHEAVEN SHALL BURN), and mastered by Ted Jensen (ALICE IN CHAINSDEATH ANGEL).

Demmel is featured on Kerry King’s debut solo album, From Hell I Rise. In addition to King and Demmel, the album features DEATH ANGEL vocalist Mark Osegueda, longtime SLAYER drummer Paul Bostaph and former HELLYEAH bassist Kyle Sanders.