Reunited San Francisco Bay Area thrashers VIO-LENCE recently released a new digital single, “California Über Alles”, a cover version of the DEAD KENNEDYS classic. The band also filmed a music video for the song with director Scott Kirkeeng.
Speaking to Heavy Culture about VIO-LENCE‘s decision to record the DEAD KENNEDYS cover, vocalist Sean Killian said (see video below): “We’ve been writing music. We have our five-song EP with Metal Blade Records that we’ll be putting out next year. But we wanted to do something. Since we have [guitarist] Bobby Gustafson [ex-OVERKILL] in the band and [ex-FEAR FACTORY bassist] Christian Olde Wolbers, we wanted to get together and put something out. And Phil [Demmel, guitar] suggested a DK song, because we were actually gonna play it at home in April. But since that got canceled, we were, like, ‘Well, let’s just do this and put it out, give people a taste of what we’re doing and what we’re up to today, so they can hear something.’ But we didn’t wanna put anything new out — we’re not ready to do that yet. But we did wanna put something out. And that’s a song we all kind of grew up on.”
Regarding how the new VIO-LENCE lineup is working out, Killian said: “We are very happy. We get along great. We’re a lot alike. It wasn’t that we wanted to replace people, but Deen [Dell, bass], he just couldn’t do it, with his family and his job and everything. It’s very demanding. And sometimes things happen spontaneously, like the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise. We got asked to play that two weeks before the ship left port. So when stuff like that comes up, Deen, he couldn’t do it. So we got Bobby in the band. And then Christian has always been a VIO-LENCE fan, even when he was a kid back in Belgium.
“It’s a fun combination of guys,” he continued. “When we’re in a room together, we have a good time. We were gonna play live, and then our shows got canceled. We were so excited to get onstage together. But it’ll happen.”
Killian also talked about the VIO-LENCE songwriting process, saying: “Phil, Perry [Strickland, drums] and I are in the practice studio writing and perfecting the songs. Bobby lives in Palm Beach, Florida, so we fly him out once a month, and then Christian comes up, and we kind of jam together. He’s coming out, not the Halloween weekend, but the weekend right before — Bobby is. And then Christian will come up. And then we can play the new songs together as a band.
“We demoed three of the songs [for the upcoming EP], and we’ll probably demo the fourth one when he comes out.
“We recorded that DEAD KENNEDYS song in our rehearsal studio using Pro Tools. So when we all get together, we play our new material and we demo it. We try to record it and demo it, so we can listen to it and perfect it. That’s kind of how it’s working right now.”
Killian previously described VIO-LENCE‘s new material as “a cross between ‘Eternal [Nightmare]’ , ‘Oppressing [The Masses]’  and also our ’93 demo. It’s fast, it’s heavy. We’ve got a couple of good chunk riffs and stuff like that,” he explained. “We wanna get stuff in that’s gonna start a pit up too. But we think people are gonna go crazy when they hear it. We’ve got some heavy lyrics, some heavy subjects. I mean, we’re not a political band by any means, so when I say ‘heavy,’ it’s just heavy shit that comes out of my demented head.”
VIO-LENCE released three studio albums between 1988 and 1993. The group reunited soon after Demmel left MACHINE HEAD in late 2018.
VIO-LENCE performed its first comeback concert in April 2019 at the Oakland Metro in Oakland, California and spent the last year playing select shows in the U.S. and Europe.
Although MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn was part of VIO-LENCE‘s classic incarnation and played on the band’s debut album, “Eternal Nightmare”, he wasn’t approached about taking part in any of the comeback shows.
Killian underwent a successful liver transplant surgery in March 2018. The year before, Killian was diagnosed with stage four liver cirrhosis, which was caused in part by a genetic condition called hemochromatosis.
Photo credit: James Willard