News, Reviews & Interviews



Interview with Virus of Dope

Posted October 23, 2017 by Ron in Interviews

FishHead Cantina
October 18th 2017

Tonight in Baltimore, MD we get to once again witness the amazing band, Dope. I’ve can’t get enough of this band, they are such a class act. This will be the last time we see them in 2017 and after talking to Edsel we might not get to see them in 2018, since they will be touring Europe and other far flung parts of the planet. Before tonight’s show I sat down with long time guitarist Virus.

Empire: How has it been being with Dope for so many years?

Virus: Yeah, next year will be 18 years! It’s pretty crazy. I remember when I was the new guy here. I first got in and everybody was dropping like flies, and now it’s like I’ve been in the band the longest, expect for Edsel of course. I’m really proud of ourselves and how we built the band up from some very low lows.

Empire: What about Edsel has kept you here?

Virus: Well, he is just an absolute jerk (starts to laugh). From the beginning we have always done good work together, We learned a lot from each other over the years. We were just good friends too.

Empire: What was it like working on Device with David Draimen from Disturbed?

Virus: Yeah… Well, I first heard the album because Will Hunt the drummer he showed me the album. I really loved the songs. David’s vocal range and songs were different, but you could tell it was him though. There were great musicians all over the record, like Tom Morello and Lizzy Hale. When I got the opportunity to talk to David on the phone, I told him I would love to be a part of it.

Empire: How did you get involved with the Big&Rich thing? You’re more known for your rock and metal?

Virus: That was my whole idea of playing with other people. I didn’t want to be viewed as just a metal guy. I don’t listen to metal as much as you think. I like playing it and I’m good at it, and it was my first love as a child, but I wanted to break out of that as well.

Empire: Which Virus look did you like better? Spiked mohawk or cowboy hat?

Virus: My mom made a montage of my hairstyles throughout the years. You know what I like about all the stuff that I’ve done is that I look different. No one was doing that and that was important to me.

Empire: What has been your favorite album that you worked on in your career?

Virus: The first record that I ever produced, was a N.Y. artist called Lisa St Ann. She was like adult alternative at the time. She was like I love you as a song writer and I believe in you and give you total freedom with my album. This was the first time anyone had trusted me with their music and money. It came out amazing, and I learned the value of pre-production. That record is very special. It’s called Conversations From The Sidewalk and it came out in 1995. My favorite Dope Record is No Regrets. I got to co-produce that with Edsel. I got more and more work and more to do. I cut every note on that record. It’s some of the best songs we have ever written.

Empire: Any crazy tour stories?

Virus: I get this all the time, because I don’t do a lot of drugs it’s always something sexual (laughs).
( Tour Manager Eric “Dink” says tell him the time when with Lords of Acid).
So my whole guitar rig goes down on stage. The singer of Lords  of Acid, her name is Mea. There is no guitar playing, and we are trying to fix it. She comes over and says “Dink, where’s my dildo?” And he is screaming at her “Are you fucking kidding me? We have no guitar!” He has wires in his hands and she comes out asking for a stage prop.

Empire: If you could bring back any musician from the dead who would it be?

Virus: It would only be for the music, because years ago I stop idolizing the artists. You learn they are just horrible people like we are and I don’t like how they get put on a pedestal. For example, John Lennon. I love his music, but complete asshole, huge ego, horrible father, horrible husband. I just idolize his music. I would love to see what Kurt Cobain‘s music would do now. He was one of my favorites. He really changed me. I started writings songs differently. I would love to see what he would do.


Dope didn’t disappoint tonight. They played the staple group of songs that if they didin’t play they get yelled at for not playing. Thrown into the mix was “Blood Money” off of the latest album Blood Money Part 1.
Drummer Daniel Fox was out touring with Marilyn Manson so Dope called in friend Chris Werner who used to play drums for Butcher Babies. He killed the set like he had been doing those songs for years.

It was an amazing night that ended with a chance to hang at the Meet & Greet, to hang in with the band and to BS with the band.

About the Author


Ron has keen eye for talent and a love for the underground and has a tremendous love for music of any genera. You'll probably bump into him at a horror convention or some seedy club checking out the next new band.


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