:: The Plague Returns ::    

Rock Hard No.131, Aug 1998
by Götz Kühnemund

Last year, at the "Heavy, oder was?!"-Festival in Tübingen they celebrated a surprising comeback: The NWOBHM-veterans DEMON, who had disappeared from the scene after their weak '92 album "Blowout". With a new line-up, new songs and new enthusiasm they want to bet all on one card again, just before the turn of the millenium.

Although there were no signs of life from DEMON in the years '93 to '97, the band never broke up, explains singer Dave Hill, who released a solo album in 1994, "Welcome To The Real World", which got little attention by the public. "After "Blowout" we simply needed a break, which by no means was supposed to last for four years. Then I got the offer to take over a record store in my city, and firstly concentrated on getting it started. Ultimately I must feed my family and "Blowout" was commercially a considerable flop. So we couldn't live on the music alone."

"Blowout" was the ninth and in my opinion weakest DEMON album and led to the fact that the band lost their record deal, although Dave could release his solo album. So the following break was urgently necessary in order to orient themselves and to collect fresh ideas.

"In retrospect I'm sure it's right, but at the time we didn't realise how much we needed a break", says Dave. In the meantime his record store was a complete success, and now at least he doesn't have to do any more DEMON albums in order to survive. "We have made one record after the other and never noticed how much time went by. 1980 had suddenly become 1993, and we noticed that the situation had boged down. My children, who are now 15, 17 and 19 years old and grew up with DEMON, made me aware of how the time flew. We had to charge our batteries first and to occupy ourselves with other things."

Although new songs have emerged in the meantime (some of which I got as demos, and sound quite promising), the band didn't perform live for about four years. Not until the offer came to play live on last year's "Heavy, oder was?!"-Festival, did the gentlemen wake up from their lethargie. "We had rehearsed a few times and had only done one "Warm-up-Gig" in front of our friends, before we drove to Tübingen. Naturally we felt nervous, especially since we also have a couple of new people in the band. On the other hand it is with being a musicians as with swimming. You never forget it, you only have to jump in the water. I knew, I would realize within the first five minutes if the old fire was still there. And it took exactly 30 seconds, before the spark leaped over."

Which was not to be overlooked. Especially Dave was totally inspired with his show and his charismatic voice and was for many the best singer of the day. Of course no new songs were presented in Tübingen, but at least it got them inquiries from some record labels. "There still seemed to be a certain interest in us", and Dave is happy about that. "In the upcoming weeks we will send demo tapes to the record labels, to pull a new deal ashore. The advantage is that we can approach the whole thing fully relaxed and without pressure, since we are not financially dependent on DEMON. Therefore we don't have to fulfill any standard or expectations with the songwriting, but can do whatever pleases us. More progressive things á la 'The Plague' or 'Life On The Wire' as well as straight rockers á la 'Night Of The Demon' and 'Don't Break The Circle', traditional, hard Rock songs with keyboards, good melodies and meaningful lyrics."

In retrospect Dave appears to be content with his career as a musician, all things considered. Even if DEMON, like so many other cult bands, never got the big success. A few times (in the beginning with "Night Of The Demon" and "The Unexpected Guest" and a couple of years later with "Breakout" and "Taking The World By Storm") DEMON were damn close to the major break-through, but in the end it never happend. Dave still believes they did (almost) everything right. "Apart from "Blowout", where we perhaps moved away a bit too far from our roots, I still like all DEMON albums these days. Anyway, for me, there are no wrong decisions in life, you can learn from everything and win something positive. Also from an album like "Blowout", that didn't do as well as the earlier albums. In the end it's a wild feeling to know that there are people somewhere out there, who still believe in us. In Tübingen I clearly noticed that we have achieved something with DEMON over the years. To see so many people sing along to your songs is the greatest honour you can imagine. That's exactly the reason we continue."

–  ' The Plague Returns ' updated 2006-02-14  –