Founding Vio-Lence guitarist Phil Demmel quit the band earlier this year. Demmel has since found success with Kerry King‘s solo band and his new group Category 7, and is still the on-call dude for every metal band under the sun that needs a live guitarist.

But why did Demmel quit the band he helped found in 1985? In a new interview with 107.7 The Bone, Demmel said the band’s turnover rate made it not the same band it once was. For those unaware, Vio-Lence is currently longtime vocalist Sean Killian and bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, who joined in 2020, alongside a bunch of live members.

“The Vio-Lence thing just became… [Drummer] Perry [Strickland] left, or Perry‘s no longer in the band, and it just became — and I love Christian — it just became something not familiar anymore. And it hit me when we played the Whisky [in February 2023] and it was Adrian [Aguilar], the drummer’s first show. And we were having this kid Miles Dimitri Baker, who plays in Ice Nine Kills right now, come down, and he was gonna be my fill-in [for some dates]. And so he was gonna play on a song or two.

“And I show up to the show and I walk backstage and, man, there was 50 people backstage and I knew maybe [the guys in] the band and a couple of other people. It was just, like, ‘Man, this isn’t my home anymore. This doesn’t feel like home.’ And no slight against the dudes, ’cause I loved playing with Adrian, I loved playing with Christian, and Ira [Black, ex-Vio-Lence guitarist] really worked hard for the band and was a big — he was a big fighter for the band. He worked hard. He cared a lot. Ira was a very productive member of Vio-Lence.

“But with everything that was happening, it was just time for me to go… The Kerry [King] thing was firing up, the Category 7 thing was firing up, and [I] just [did] not [want to] let that be a distraction from [the other stuff I was doing].”

Demmel added: “I loved the [2022] Vio-Lence EP [Let The World Burn] that I wrote, and me and Sean wrote and we recorded with the dudes. And I’m super proud of those songs and the way that the recording came out. [Producer and engineer] Juan [Urteaga] did a tremendous job.”

In a later comment, Demmel solidified his opinion saying “it just wasn’t the thing that I started in high school, and the songs meaning the same.” Which makes sense – if you’re not gonna be happy in the band you’re in, why continue to do it?”

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