Watch: PHIL DEMMEL Plays His ‘Last’ Concert With VIO-LENCE

The Igor Miranda YouTube channel has uploaded video of Phil Demmel‘s final concert with VIO-LENCE, which took place last night (Sunday, February 11) at Carioca Club in São Paulo, Brazil. The gig also marked the last show of VIO-LENCE‘s Latin American tour with EXHORDER.

The 56-year-old guitarist, who co-founded the acclaimed San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal outfit in 1985, addressed his future with the resurrected group in a video message he shared to his social media on February 5. Just hours after it was revealed that Demmel is one of the musicians in Kerry King‘s (SLAYER) solo project, Phil told his 55,000 Instagram followers: “I am announcing that this Sunday will be my last show with VIO-LENCE.

“The timing is weird, I know, and it doesn’t really coincide with the Kerry thing,” he clarified. “It’s not that, ‘Oh, that got announced, so now I’m quitting this, stopping this,’ whatever you wanna [call it], retiring from, whatever. It’s been, I guess, in the works for a bit. My status has been undefined for a while. I’m kind of doing things that I felt comfortable or fell into my schedule or whatever. But given just the latest state of the band and where I feel I belong with it or feel tied to it, I just think that my time is at an end.”

Demmel continued: “I’ll always identify with the band. Me and [drummer] Perry [Strickland] started this band in high school. It’s cool to be going to places that we haven’t been.

“I’m feeling that [VIO-LENCE singer] Sean [Killian] is… We’ve gone far on different pages. I guess we’ve always been on different pages. But I don’t feel like I fit in with what the objective of this is anymore. And in light of some current events [laughs], I felt compelled to make the break.”

Phil went on to say that he “thought about maybe doing a home show” with VIO-LENCE as a way of “saying goodbye,” but ultimately concluded that “I don’t feel like I need that. I feel like playing those [comeback shows in Oakland in April 2019] with Perry and Deen [Dell, bass] and Ray [Vegas, guitar] and having those two magical days and doing some other stuff that we’ve done, writing the five songs, doing the EP, I feel fulfilled,” he said. “And anything further kind of feels forced. Actually, before this [Latin American] tour [kicked off], I honestly didn’t wanna come. [But] I was committed to it. I wasn’t gonna back out. I’m committed to the dudes. But I think I’m done. I think that I’ve done what I wanted to do with this band.”

Demmel added: “June 1st, 1985 to February, what will be 11th, 2024. 39, almost 40 years. So, never say never again. Try not to say that. Sometimes you do. It’s been life defining, it’s been a pleasure, it’s been an honor being Phil from VIO-LENCE.”

This past December, it was announced that VIO-LENCE will return to the stage in April 2024 for a special eight-date headlining tour during which they will perform their classic 1988 debut album, “Eternal Nightmare”, in its entirety. The trek runs from April 5 in Cambridge, Massachusetts through April 13 in Chicago, Illinois. Support at the dates will come from EXHORDER, DECEASED and MORTAL WOUND.

At some of VIO-LENCE‘s recent shows, the band’s touring lineup consisted of classic-era vocalist Killian alongside more recent additions, drummer Adrian Aguilar (EXMORTUS),guitarist Miles Dimitri Baker (VOIDBRINGER, INTERLOPER, ex-RINGS OF SATURN),bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and guitarist Ira Black (VICIOUS RUMORS, HEATHEN, METAL CHURCH). Notably, those dates featured only Killian from the VIO-LENCE lineup that played its first comeback gig in April 2019 at the Oakland Metro in Oakland, California.

VIO-LENCE played the São Paulo concert as a four-piece after an alleged altercation between Black and Olde Wolbers resulted in Ira being sent home from the tour a few days early. It is not presently clear if Black will continue playing with VIO-LENCE.

VIO-LENCE played its first show with Aguilar in February 2023 at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California. Aguilar joined VIO-LENCE following the departure of Strickland.

A year ago, Demmel addressed VIO-LENCE‘s future in an Instagram Live video, saying it was “kind of weird playing these shows” with “a bunch of fill-ins and me and Sean.” He added that while Adrian is “awesome” and the Whisky gig “was packed”, he is “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.” Demmel went on to say that he told Killian he “wanted to shut [VIO-LENCE] down,” but then he realized “that to ask that of those dudes to not do it anymore is selfish on my part.”

In March 2022, VIO-LENCE released a new EP, “Let The World Burn”, via Metal Blade Records. The five-song collection, VIO-LENCE‘s first original release since 1993’s “Nothing To Gain”, was tracked at Trident Studios in Pacheco, California by Juan Urteaga (MACHINE HEAD, EXODUS),mixed by Tue Madsen (DARK TRANQUILLITY, HEAVEN SHALL BURN) and mastered by Ted Jensen (ALICE IN CHAINS, DEATH ANGEL).

Formed in 1985, 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 reformed briefly a couple of times in the intervening years before becoming a full-time going concern once more in 2019. After playing a string of successful shows, the quintet started to think about new music and delivered “Let The World Burn”, showcasing their first new material in 29 years.

VIO-LENCE‘s recording lineup on “Let The World Burn” consisted of Demmel, Killian and Strickland along with Olde Wolbers and guitarist Bobby Gustafson (ex-OVERKILL).

VIO-LENCE reunited soon after Demmel left MACHINE HEAD in late 2018.

Demmel was in MACHINE HEAD for nearly 16 years, during which time he played on five of the group’s studio albums: “Through The Ashes Of Empires” (2003),“The Blackening” (2007),“Unto The Locust” (2011),“Bloodstone & Diamonds” (2014) and “Catharsis” (2018).

VIO-LENCE played its first show with Black in August 2022 at the Brutal Assault festival in Jaromer, Czech Republic.

Black, who grew up in the Bay Area and previously played with VICIOUS RUMORS, HEATHEN and METAL CHURCH, filled in for Demmel, who was on the road at the time with LAMB OF GOD as the temporary replacement for Willie Adler.

Although MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn was part of VIO-LENCE‘s classic incarnation and played on “Eternal Nightmare”, he wasn’t approached about taking part in the band’s reunion.

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