Interviews: VIRGIN IDOL

This is a new interview with the Heavy Metal band VIRGIN IDOL from the USA. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, plan it or come out just like that?

JR Preston: I didn't like the original band name. I was showing Scott a painting of St.Theresa I have on the wall... I can't remember why; probably just because I love it. He came up with the name while looking at it.

Scott: We actually started with the name Northern Thorns. We’ve both played in several notable extreme black metal bands since the early 2000s and ultimately decided it was unfitting for a traditional heavy metal band name. JR presented me with a series of objects - he had an icon of Saint Theresa belonging to his Great Grandmother, and I said “Ah! Virgin Icon.. no wait, Virgin Idol!”

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

JR Preston: My older sister was heavily into 80s metal. She got me into all that shit. All the high school girls in town loved bands like Motley Crue and Kiss. My sister and her friends were always listening to that stuff, and I loved it. I was into comic books and horror films so I leaned toward the darker stuff in my sister's cassette collection. A bit later I got into a lot of heavier stuff, like Mercyful Fate, with lyrics about the devil and ghosts and know, it was back during the Satanic Panic days, and I was more into the dark side - the shit that scared adults.

Scott: I’ve always enjoyed a lot of underground stuff from the 80s and early 90s era - if reviewers hated something, that’s usually always been my queue to buy it even as a kid. That hasn’t changed. I grew up listening to stuff like Dokken, Ratt, Crue, Faster Pussycat, MSG, Cinderella, Wildside, London..80s sleaze stuff. But also stuff like Racer X (and all the shrapnel stuff), Priest, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Maiden, Crimson Glory, Candlemass, Bathory, Forbidden, Heathen, Laaz Rockit, Forced Entry, Metal Church, Kreator, Slayer, etc. The late 80s/very early 90s death and black metal as well. That’s what I grew up on, that’s my passion, and that’s what I play. We don’t try to hop on the next cool thing and spin it into something it’s not. I wouldn’t even know where to start or how, nor would I have the desire or passion for it. ASIDE from metal, I do listen to dark ambient/black ritualistic ambient, industrial/electronic music, math rock, indie rock, jazz, classical, and other things. I do like some really weird guitar shred stuff that’s pretty new. But I like metal to have some balls and grit. Simple answer to your question - we just play heavy metal. Most of the newer metal stuff I listen to is out of Canada, Sweden, Brazil, Peru, or Argentina - there are some great newer bands with a true heavy metal spirit.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

JR Preston: Yep. We both played guitar in Lord of Depression.

Scott: Yeah, JR and I were label mates even prior to that from 2012 to 2013. He was in a band called Tjolgtjar, and I was in a band called Funereal Winter. We were invited by original members in late 2013/early 2014 to perform as live session musicians with Lord of Depression. Chris was hired in 2020 because we knew him from New Generation Superstars (well known in Europe/UK) and knew he’d have the feel for the music.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

JR Preston: Mercyful Fate. 

Scott: W.A.S.P.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

JR Preston: Satan, sex, sorcery.

Scott Michaels: We’re inspired by what we want to write and what we grew up listening to that impacted our styles individually. Chris is hugely influenced by punk and 80s hardcore. We don’t listen to anything and say “hey, we should try to sound like that.” If a riff sounds cool, we decide to build other riffs and melodies around that.

6. Where was your last gig?

JR Preston: The last show we played together was either Indianapolis or Chicago. It was during a time I was playing pretty much every weekend for over a decade so my memory of shows isn't that wonderful.

Scott: A balls to the wall packed festival in Chicago, Illinois with some pretty reputable bands. The crowd was awesome. The venue in Indy not so much - I don’t care much for that city in terms of music. Manila road (prior to the lead singer’s passing), Diamond Head, and others performed in the venue but the crowd was dead. l

7. Where would you like to play?

JR Preston: Mars.

Scott: Sweden, Denmark, Canada, anywhere in Europe, Japan - Argentina, and Brazil as well.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

JR Preston: Hank Williams Junior.

Scott: There are loads of good bands out there. Newer? Maybe Skullfist, Cauldron, Crashdiët, and other bands like that. All these bands are great - and I absolutely love HIGH SPIRITS (United States), they’re such an amazing band. Older? W.A.S.P., King Diamond, Venom.

9. Whom not?

JR Preston: Stryper.

Scott: We’re not opposed to playing with anyone or not playing with anyone specific. We would never tear anyone down or anything like that. I don’t think any of us think that way. We don’t care much forego, far right-wing assholes, fake rockstar attitudes, and jaded dickheads in general - but those factors aside, we’re not opposed to playing with anyone. We do what we do - other bands do what they do. It’s all cool..we respect and appreciate that! The purpose of music is to bring people some sort of outlet and happiness to fans and simultaneously release creative energy.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

JR Preston: No, I have never had stage fright. Since I have never experienced it, I can't give any advice.

Scott: I did in my teens. Every once in a while I’ll get the jitters if a big name is in the crowd or a band I grew up admiring. My advice would be to do it and keep doing it - that’s the only way you can really get past stage fright.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

JR Preston: I am my biggest inspiration.

Scott: Bathory, Candlemass, Priest, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Racer X, Rising Force, Dokken, Ratt, Metal Church, Kreator, Cinderella, Pretty Maids, WASP - primarily 80s/early 90s stuff.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

JR Preston: You know, I played in some bands many people consider to be "weird" but I don't feel any of it was, or is, weird. Scott: I’ve never had a weird request from a fan. I’ve dated female fans before. They all ended weird.

13. What do you think of your fans?

JR Preston: I would like to take them out on romantic and/or fantastic dates. 

Scott: Our fans are very supportive. We seem to attract a lot of different people who enjoy a broad range of metal music - not people who are fixated on one sound and every other band has to sound that way. We play riffs/melodies and save the technical side for guitar solos. We’re not a prog band and they understand that. Our fans are really cool and interactive!

14. What do you think of our site?

JR Preston: The site looks awesome - easy to navigate. Scott: Awesome website! We’ll be sure to share!

15. Something to add?

JR Preston: We will do our best to keep the flame of metal burning. Scott: Keep an eye out for new material. If you enjoyed side A of the first album, you’ll love the 2nd album next year. We’re in the process of wrapping up in the studio. You can support us by purchasing our debut album directly from our label (super sargasso) or digital purchase through the band’s Bandcamp page. We’re also handling physical merchandise in the US only - that will be available on Bandcamp as well next week.

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