David DeFeis

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David DeFeis
David DeFeis.jpg
Background information
Birth nameDavid DeFeis
Also known asDavid "The Lion" DeFeis, David "Dionysus" DeFeis
BornJanuary 4, 1961 (age 56)
OriginLong Island, New York, United States
GenresHeavy metal, Power metal
InstrumentsVocals, keyboard, bass, percussion
Years active1981–present
Associated actsVirgin Steele, Avantasia

David DeFeis (born January 4, 1961)[1][2] is an American singer, keyboard player, songwriter and producer. He is the main composer and leader of the heavy metal band Virgin Steele.

Voice and musical style[edit]

DeFeis is a classically trained pianist, with a bachelor's degree in composition from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook.[3] As vocalist he is self-taught, possessing around three octaves and a half : (Bb1-)E2-C#6(-B6). As a musician and a singer, he declared he was very much influenced by guitar players like Jimmy Page, Brian May and Eddie Van Halen because he wanted to do with his voice what they did with their guitars.[4]

He is also influenced by rock singers like Freddie Mercury, Robert Plant, David Coverdale, Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillan.[5]

The major part of the lyrics DeFeis writes are mythological, dealing with subjects from especially Greek mythology, Sumerian mythology and Christian religion. All of them are based on real life in some form or another.[6]


DeFeis comes from a theatrical family: his father is a Shakespearian actor who runs the theatre company "The Arena Players Theatre"[7] while his sister Doreen[8] is a gifted opera singer who performs all over Europe.

A big fan of European classical music, at 9–10 years old he was introduced to rock music by hearing the band Stalk, with his brother Damon (on organ and piano) and his sister Danae (on vocals), playing in the basement beneath his room.[1]

He began piano lessons at the age of eight. By age eleven, he began his career with Long Island's local heavy metal band Phoenix.

At 16 years old, he met for the first time his future partner Edward Pursino when DeFeis's band at the time, Mountain Ash, was auditioning for a gig at the high school dance. Mountain Ash was mainly a Black Sabbath cover band and, after the performance of the song "War Pigs", Pursino came over and introduced himself to DeFeis.[9]

At the beginning of the 1980s, together with Jack Starr and Joey Ayvazian, he started the first line-up of the band Virgin Steele. They debuted in 1982 with the song "Children of the Storm" included in the compilation U.S. Metal Vol. II.[10]

In 1985, the guitarist Edward Pursino replaced Starr.[11] Among the years, in their longtime relationship in Virgin Steele, DeFeis and Pursino released a lot of heavy metal classics such as the albums: Noble Savage,[12][13] Invictus,[14] The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Part I,[15] The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Part II.[16][17]

DeFeis collects swords: his collection includes more than 20 items.[18] In studio, sometimes he uses his swords to create particular effects for the Virgin Steele songs, and during the concerts he usually burns a sword on stage.[19]

Metal opera and theatre[edit]

Between the end of the 1990s and the 2000s (decade), he wrote music for actors based on the Oresteia and the Greek myths related by Aeschylus. According with German artists Walter Weyers and Martina Krawulsky, with the name "Klytaimnestra": "The House of Atreus" Metal Opera (musically available on the Virgin Steele's albums The House of Atreus Act I, The House of Atreus Act II) was performed on stage in Germany theaters by Landestheater Production.[20]

The premiere of "Klytaimnestra" in Memmingen, June 5, 1999,[21] has been the first ever regular musical theatre show based on heavy metal concepts.

After "Klytaimnestra" success, David DeFeis & Landestheater Production extracted a second Metal Opera musical, named "The Rebels", from the previous Virgin Steele's albums of the Marriage of Heaven and Hell trilogy ("The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Part I", "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Part II", "Invictus").[22]

In 2003, the same team released a third Metal Opera, named "Lilith", based on the material of album Visions of Eden. "Visions of Eden" was later on published in CD in 2006.


DeFeis owns his personal recording studio called: "The Hammer of Zeus" (sometimes also called "The Wrecking Ball Of Thor").[23]

Virgin Steele's albums are produced by DeFeis.

He also produced albums released by other artists such as: Out of the Darkness and No Turning Back by Jack Starr, Nightmare Theatre by Exorcist,[24] Stay Ugly by Piledriver, The Sign of the Jackal by Damien Thorn,[25][26] Sin Will Find You Out by Original Sin.[27]

Side projects[edit]

  • 1986 – Produced and wrote the debut album Sin Will Find You Out of the female band Original Sin.[27]
  • 1990 – Played in a side-project blues band called Smokestack Lightning with Jack Starr and the future Virgin Steele's bass player Rob De Martino.[28]
  • 1993 – Published, with Virgin Steele, the blues single "Snakeskin Voodoo Man" inspired to Muddy Waters.
  • 1999 – Played the backup vocals & the keyboard-parts on the song "Epic" included into the first album of the New York band Immortally Committed.[29]
  • 2001 – Appeared as special guest, singing on the track "The Final Sacrifice" included into the German supergroup Tobias Sammet's Avantasia's first single.[30]
  • 2002 – Joined the New York cover band Carnival of Souls for some live dates with the Exorcist's drummer Geoff Fontaine, Edward Pursino and the current Virgin Steele's bass player Josh Block.[31]
  • 2007 – Appeared on the Polish band Crystal Viper EP in the cover of Virgin Steele's song "Blood and Gasoline".[32]
  • 2010 – Scheduled to appear on the next album of the Italian band Skylark, singing the song "Symbol of Freedom" together with Kiara Laetitia, their female singer.[33]
  • 2013 – Co-wrote and co-produced the solo project of Kiara Laetitia, out on November 22. The EP also contains a cover of Victory Is Mine.[34]
  • 2014 - Contributed with vocals on "Reise of the 4th Reich", track from Avalon's Angels of the Apocalypse[35]




  1. ^ a b "The Official Virgin Steele Homepage". Virgin-steele.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  2. ^ "G minor invention (descent into death's twilight kingdom), The innocent night, Prometheus the fallen one – song, music – Copyright Info". Faqs.org. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  3. ^ "Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York". Stonybrook.edu. October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  4. ^ "MetalViecher – Virgin Steele Interview mit David Defeis (English Version)". Metalviecher.de. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  5. ^ "David Defeis « Demolish Fanzine". Demolishmag.wordpress.com. April 24, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  6. ^ [1] Archived January 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Arena Players Repertory Theater". Arenaplayers.org. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  8. ^ "Doreen Defeis".
  9. ^ "Virgin Steele Biography". Sweetslyrics. July 11, 1988. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  10. ^ "Various – U.S. Metal Vol. II (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  11. ^ "Glorydaze Music". Glorydaze Music. August 18, 2003. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  12. ^ "RevelationZ Magazine – Your Heavy metal and Hard Rock resource". Revelationz.net. Archived from the original on October 12, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  13. ^ TrueMetal.it. "Recensione: Virgin Steele, Noble Savage [Reissue". TrueMetal.it. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  14. ^ "Virgin Steele – Invictus Review". The Metal Crypt. February 15, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  15. ^ "RevelationZ Magazine – Your Heavy metal and Hard Rock resource". Revelationz.net. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  16. ^ "RevelationZ Magazine – Your Heavy metal and Hard Rock resource". Revelationz.net. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  17. ^ "Virgin Steele – The Marriage of Heaven & Hell: Part II Review". The Metal Crypt. March 11, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  18. ^ "Virgin Steele". Cuttingedgerocks.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  19. ^ "Virgin Steele Official Site Live Info". Virgin-steele.com. December 21, 2002. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  20. ^ "Landestheater Schwaben Official Site". Landestheater-schwaben.de. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  21. ^ "Klytaimnestra premiere review". Vampster.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  22. ^ "Metal Opera". Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  23. ^ "VIRGIN STEELE: Neue Metal-Oper (News) @ vampster.com webzine". Vampster.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  24. ^ "Exorcist Myspace". Myspace.com. September 21, 2008. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  25. ^ "The Sign of the Jackal: Damien Thorne: Amazon.de: Musik". Amazon.de. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  26. ^ "Heavy Metal, Underground music". Damien Thorne. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  27. ^ a b "Original Sin | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Myspace.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  28. ^ "Artists :: Smokestack Lightning". MusicMight. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  29. ^ "Immortally Committed". Truemetal.org. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  30. ^ "Avantasia :: Official Web". Tobias Sammet. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  31. ^ "The Official Virgin Steele Homepage". Virgin-steele.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  32. ^ "The Official CRYSTAL VIPER Website". Crystalviper.com. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  33. ^ "skylarkrock". skylarkrock. 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  34. ^ "Ex-SKYLARK Singer KIARA LAETITIA To Release New EP Featuring VIRGIN STEELE Cover". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  35. ^ "Timo Tolkki's Avalon reveals the album title and the rest of the cast". Timo Tolkki's Avalon official profile. Facebook. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.

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