Founder member of Virgin Steele, Jack Starr, has formed a new band named The Guardians Of The Flame. They play Epic Power Metal and are coming to get you... Let them conquer you and keep the Metal flame burning.

- The first question goes to the early years of Virgin Steele... How did it all begin?
Virgin Steele started in l981 when me and Joey ayvazian, who was my drummer, started to look for a singer we met a girl who went to school with Dave and she said he liked Heavy Metal and had long hair and could sing like the singer from Deep Purple, so we were interested in meeting him. She gave us his phone number and we called him and set up an appointment to go and meet him, and when we heard him sing we knew that he was the right guy.

Jack Starr - After you left Virgin Steele you didnīt stop recording albums, some of them with Mike Tirelli, a great singer (now in Holy Mother) however and although they were very good albums theyīre not as popular as the Virgin Steele records, Why do you think itīs that way?
Mike Tirelli is a great singer and i wish him well with his career. I think that he is not as popular as Dave because Dave has the benefit of a great name that has been around 20 years and many people have heard of Virgin Steele, so it is easier for Dave than it is for Mike.

- Rumors are always floating around classic bands reunions, just like Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson, Judas & Halford, Helloween & Hansen... Would it be possible to see David DeFeis and Jack Starr together in Virgin Steele?
There probably will never be a Virgin Steele reunion because Dave cannot change the way he is as a person, he is a dictator. Everything must be done his way, every note must be approved by him and all the members of Virgin Steele were creative people not just Dave. When people play music it is to express their creativity and who they are and what emotions they are feeling, if you can not do that then you will be unhappy, if David understood that he would have a real band with band members that stay and are loyal to him everybody who has played with him has very bad things to say about him. When i recorded with him in 1997 i met his bass player, whoose name was Rob Dimartino, he is a wonderful bass player and shorltly after the sessions David fired him and now of course he is not a freind of Dave, the original bass player also Joe Oreilley told me that when Manowar and Virgin Steele toured Joey Dimaio was so mad at David that he was going to beat him up but the only thing that prevented that was that Joe Oreilley stepped in between them and saved Dave from an awful beating. Joey Demaio is very strong and does not like when other muscians say bad thing about him or Manowar especially when they are on the same tour! so yes unfortunately Dave has made a lot of enemies by firing people in the band for no reason and by always wanting to be the boss. If these things could change then there could be a Virgin Steele reunion. Dave already approached me about the possibility of me and the other orignal members jumping up on stage to do a few songs with his present band, this is unacceptable especially when no money was offered and not even expenses were to be paid.

- Iīm going to be honest, Virgin Steele is one of my favorite bands, and David DeFeis is for me a good singer & musician. What is your opinion about the current Virgin Steele and David?, Do you think itīs a good idea to criticize him now he has a big reputation for the media and the fans and even some people think heīs almost a genius?
No it is not a good idea to criticize Dave and the band he calls Virgin Steele because i know that some people like his music and maybe they will not like me but the truth is some of what Dave does is very good but some of it is very silly, like the very short intros to songs that he puts on albums and then he gives them a title. I think that is very pretentious and i dont think he can sing as good as before especially live, he will never be as good as Eric Adams or Bruce Dickinson or Geoff Tate, those are great singers Dave is only good.

- Some time ago I heard you were going to collaborate with David in the recording of some songs for the re-edition of the early VS albums, What do you have to say about that? I think it was when Davidīs Virgin Steele released "Invictus" (for me the best VS album ever), I hope you will not say that David "stole" you some of the songs from that collaboration...
I have heard that Dave is redoing some songs that i wrote, the songs are "Rain of Fire", "The Chosen Ones" and maybe two others. Dave is doing this because i will not give him permission to use the tapes that we did together, these tapes which he calls "The Sacred Demos" and i call "The Virgin Steele Reunion Tapes" will finally come out and the fans will hear both, the one that Dave rerecorded, so he would not have to give me any money, and the original tapes that i made with Dave and Rob Demartino. Let the fans decide which they like better, Dave does not have my permission to use my music there are too many bad events that have occured between us and the most recent is this about 4 months my lovely fiance Sharon and i met Dave in a restaurant to discuss the reissue of the original Virgin Steele records. Dave kept staring at Sharon in a very rude manner and became mad when i mentioned the lawsuit that was going on with Virgin Enterprises and his use of the name Virgin Steele, suddenly he got up with the girl he was with and said fuck you to me and Sharon and he did not pay his restaurant bill and i was ashamed for him so i paid it for him, Dave was upset because i would not agree to have my music used by him in the re releases without a full disclosure of how much money he recieved and he told me to not include any of the other original members in any deals. Dave acts this way because he has lived at home his whole life and his mother has always babied him and catered to his every wish he is used to getting his way and that will not work with me. I was silent too long now i will stand up to Dave.

- Letīs leave Virgin Steele behind, and talk about your new band "Guardians Of The Flame", Why to form a band now? I mean you could keep on releasing solo albums...
I like to have a band so i can play out and do concerts, i love music and i want to play and meet people who like my music. It will be a band like Yngwie or Richie Blackmore or Axel Rudi Pell. It is my band and i write most of the material but i donīt tell anyone what to play.

- The name "Guardians Of The Flame", like the second Virgin Steele album, Has a special meaning or itīs just a name?
I use the name The Guardians of the Flame because it is my name just like Noble Savage, i came up with that name and Dave never gave me credit for it, he just took it and used it. I could call my band Noble Savage if i want, i have proof that it is my name and in a magazine there is an interview and i talk about the name Noble Savage and how it will be the name of our new album. Dave kicked me out but he kept my name!

- Some former Dream Theater members are also in Guardians Of The Flame, How did they enter the band?
The old singer from Dream Theatre, Chris Collins, is singing on some of the demo and i also have another singer that i use who was with a band called Inner Strenght live i will use him unless Chris decides to tour with me.

Jack Starr - You also recorded some albums with Rhett Forrester (Riot), I suppose it had to be a great experience, in the glorious 80īs. Itīs a pity what happened to him, something like that can change your life, I know it from experience, but did it change your music?
I have been badly affected by Rhettīs death. He was a good friend and a fantastic singer, i wished i could have helped him more but he moved far away to Georgia and we did not keep in touch for the last few years of his life.

- Jag Panzer recorded a version of one of your songs, tell us something about that, What do you feel when someone records one of your songs?
I love Jag Panzerīs version of my song "False Messiah", i think they are a great band and their singer is great. It is a great feeling to hear one of your songs done by another band and hear how they interpret it.

- You live in the USA, so It has to be quite difficult for you to know new bands from Europe, where True Metal lives nowadays... Which european bands have you listened to & which of them do you think are the most interesting?
I love the new Metal from Europe and it reminds me a lot of the early Virgin Steele songs i wrote, i was very flattered when Joacim of Hammerfal emailed me to tell me how he liked my old music, so i think we had an influence on some of the new bands and that is why you hear that influence in my new songs, the bands i like now are Manowar, Hammerfall, Rhapsody, Stratovarius, Chinchilla and i like Nevermore and i like the old Metal like Judas Priest and i always get a big kick out of Ozzy.

- OK, thatīs all so far, but if you want to tell something more, of course you can do it...
I thank you for your kind words about my new songs and the Guardians of the Flame. I hope to see you in Spain, nothing would make me happier because i love playing music and i visited Spain when i was a boy on vacation and we went to a small town called Bilbao, i think it was near San Sebastián, it was beautiful. Thank you for your interest in my career, Metal Forever.

- Interview by Rodrigo Mayayo.