Phil Demmel (Vio-lence / BPMD / ex-Machine Head) Plays His Favorite Riffs
Phil Demmel is a man of many projects these days, including supergroup BPMD and returning back to his early roots in Vio-Lence. The guitarist recently joined Loudwire for an edition of Gear Factor in which he traces the riffs that helped shape his playing, digging into quite a bit of his early and now once again current band along the way.
While KISS may have been "the band that made me want to be a performer," Demmel points to AC/DC's Angus Young for really starting his musical path. "You felt all of Angus’ emotions and you felt when he was pissed or happy or drunk or horny and you learned it all from Angus and his fingertips. I loved that he was able to emote just by holding a single note. You just felt Angus and I dug that so much," says the guitarist before playing a bit of "T.N.T."
Black Sabbath also featured prominently for Demmel in those early years, but the first riff he learned to play may not be the one you'd think. "I think the first riff I learned was a Sabbath song, ‘Warning,’ it’s kind of a jammy part. I think that was the part that I was first able to connect with moving some spots around."
Demmel also riffs through some Van Halen, Ted Nugent and Aerosmith tracks, showing off the music that shaped his formative years. From there, he takes us back to one of the first shows he saw as a fan, catching Ozzy Osbourne with Randy Rhoads during the Blizzard of Ozz cycle.
As for his own musical career, Demmel flashes back to being a 15-year-old playing in a band with Exodus' Steve 'Zetro' Souza and demonstrating the music from the first song he ever wrote called "Back to You." The songs come freely to Demmel, who then revisits an original called "Answer the Phone."
Eventually, Demmel formed a band called Death Penalty that would eventually morph into what became Vio-Lence. "I started writing songs for them and we changed our name to Vio-Lence. The first song I wrote for them was a song called ‘Knocking on Death’s Door.’ I had this big idea for a big intro," says the guitarist before launching into his "big intro."
"I think the first fast riff I ever wrote was [this]. That became ‘Serial Killer,'" says Demmel, who also breaks out some of "Kill On Command," "Eternal Nightmare" and the Sabbath-influenced "Falling Off the Edge of the World."
Demmel also shares a bit of the Machine Head song "Halo" and how his playing on the song changed from the initial idea.
Vio-Lence are currently working on new music, while Demmel has also busied himself with BPMD, who have a new album called American Made dropping this week. He's also come up with the moniker Echoes of Reckoning as an umbrella for all his assorted other recordings. See Phil Demmel's full Gear Factor episode below.
Phil Demmel (Vio-lence / ex-Machine Head) Plays His Favorite Riffs
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