VIO-LENCE guitarist Phil Demmel says that the band's recent concert in California "turned out to be a superspreader event" after which his entire household and some of his bandmates contracted COVID-19.
VIO-LENCE's August 6 appearance at Strummer's in Fresno marked the first performance by the band's current lineup, consisting of Demmel, singer Sean Killian and drummer Perry Strickland, along with the band's latest additions, guitarist Bobby Gustafson (ex-OVERKILL) and bassist Christian Olde Wolbers (ex-FEAR FACTORY).
In an Instagram video chat promoting METAL ALLEGIANCE's September 25 concert at Stereo Garden in Patchogue, New York, Demmel reflected on the VIO-LENCE gig, saying (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We played a show in Fresno about a month ago, and it turned out to be a superspreader event. [Laughs] And the whole house here, we all got COVID. So we spent a couple of weeks healing up and getting better… That was our first show with Bobby Gustafson, ex-OVERKILL, and Christian Olde Wolbers from FEAR FACTORY and POWERFLO; it was their first show with us. We played a small, I think 300-capacity club, and it was a Petri dish of just the plague. And it served its purpose, other than everybody getting the sickness. It was unfortunate in that [regard]. Because we were supposed to play Bloodstock [Open Air in the U.K.] and Alcatraz festival [in Belgium] the next week, but then we couldn't go because we all got sick. Then we had Southern California shows. We canceled probably seven shows because of everything that happened."
METAL ALLEGIANCE core member Mark Menghi also discussed his own personal experience with coronavirus, saying: "This delta variant and all this other COVID shit, as we all know, it's hitting pretty hard again. I know a lot of people right here at home in my close circle that have COVID right now and it's kicking the shit out of them. And these are vaccinated people. It's kicking the shit out of them. I'm vaccinated and had it twice. It's a motherfucker. I had it really bad in December, this past December. I missed Christmas altogether. I came [very] close to checking myself into the hospital because I couldn't breathe. I came close to going to the hospital because it was the first time in my life where I could not breathe. I felt like my lungs were — like [boxer Mike] Tyson was coming at me and just kicking the shit out of [me]. It was hard. And I remember that night — it was, like, 2:30 in the morning — I started fucking screaming. I'm, like, 'Fuck you!', yelling at myself. 'You're not going to a fucking hospital.' And I don't know if I willed myself but the next day I started feeling better. But it was bad. Whether it's the flu, COVID — I don't know what it was — but I've never been sick like that before in my life. So, I don't know. People have their take on it. My take is just get the shot. We all put worse shit in our body. God knows myself and Phil put bad shit in our bodies. It can't be any worse. So, that's the way I look at it."
Last month, Killian revaled that he was hospitalized with COVID-19 after his lung capacity was compromised. But he later defended his decision to not take the coronavirus vaccine, saying "it's about freedom" for him. The 57-year-old musician, who battled stage four liver cirrhosis five years ago, said: "I'm a free man. I'm internal. My freedom comes from within, not from anyone else. Nobody determines my freedom. So, don't step on my freedom — that's all. And don't step on other people's [freedom]… My business is not someone else's business. Like I said, my freedom's internal. I decide — no one else."
Sean's public revelation that he was infected with the virus came on the day that former TROUBLE singer Eric Wagner — who was also unvaccinated — died after a battle with COVID pneumonia.
Unvaccinated people are more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated.
Infectious disease experts have said that large-scale outbreaks among unvaccinated people are being fueled by the highly contagious delta variant.
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.
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