Interview with Tony Dolan (Venom Inc)
Oude rot in het vak Tony Dolan is sinds 2015 weer met zijn oude maten van Venom, Abaddon en Mantas, aan het touren onder de naam Venom Inc. Waar Cronos met zijn Venom een paar festivals doet in het jaar is Venom Inc ondertussen al twee keer de wereld rond geweest. De fans genieten van de Venom vibe die deze drie mannen brengen. Nu na 2 jaar brengen de mannen eindelijk “eigen werk” uit. “AVÉ” komt op 11 Augustus uit via Nuclear Blast Records. Hoog tijd om goede vriend Tony een paar vragen te stellen!
Tony thanks for doing this interview, how are you doing?
“Doing great Ronald thank you for asking.”
2015 was the year the Demolition era of Venom returned on stage. Did you guys ever thought this would be a big of a comeback as it now seems to be?
“No, didn’t plan it and didn’t think about it…surprised us all that it’s the year of Venom returning to the stage and it’s great.”
Sadly the rights belonging to Conrad ( Cronos ) the Dolan Era of Venom will not be reissued, how do you look at it? It would make me furious for sure?
“Nothing belongs to Conrad, who told you that?….lol… I know that is part of this, hate them please and like me. I am the only one really. Schoolyard mantra he repeats boringly and endlessly, but hey we are not twelve years old anymore for fuck sake!! Only what HE is doing does he own. He has a share of all he did but that is it. I think you are confused. The label he is on is a sub label of the label who bought and owes all the master tapes from the Venom catalogue.
He has tried all he can to bury them but failed. He has begged for the non re-release of those albums and the label has invested in his band so obviously the conflict of interest angle has been used but, it falls down legally as all the recordings including ‘Calm Before the Storm’ we as Venom did. So there is no reason to omit them or attempt to prevent them being re-released, when at the same time he has Black Metal and Welcome to Hell re-released once sometimes twice a year, every year! I know that is also just to keep making cash but the thought is it will solidify to fan the line-up view but almost 40yrs ago??? Hahahaha..it’s 2017 not 1981 any more so it is futile and at the end of the day it is only the fans that lose out.”
Enough about the other Venom and discuss some real gritty metal. AVÉ is about to be unleashed to the world. How does it feel to finally release a record again with Tony and Jeff?
“What OTHER? Hahahaha (joke!!) Ah METAL yes perfect, much more interesting. Feels fantastic, unexpected but fantastic!”
The album really got that eighties vibe without feeling cheesy, was it hard to achieve “that” sound in a modern studio?
“No,we simply did that we did the people we are. We are of an age and were born then. I sing in one of our decimated fan songs ‘Somewhere in time, we were born’, the influences we had lead us to be corrosive and chaotic and intense and that is what we are onstage and that is who we are together, so we just took that into the studio.
We don’t sound like anyone else, we never did and we never tried to be anyone else, we didn’t have to and still don’t. We did not need to copy or plagiarise ourselves to make a legitimate album. No attempts to reinvent a ‘Black Metal’ or Welcome to Hell’ that’s fake and doesn’t work. You have to be real, you have to be genuine so that’s all we were in the studio, us. The advance in recording protocols and platforms helps and I think Mantas (who produced) utilised that but I feel without sacrificing that old school feel and without loosing the identity of who we are as a band.”
I noticed the record got quite some diversity. Did you guys all anticipate and bring in their own stuff to this record?
“Yes but no, not purposefully, it is just what happened. If we liked it then we liked it. Mantas wrote all the music as we were restricted in how much time we had to get it done. He has a whole studio set up so he can go in everyday and just turn on and go, it is not the same for me. So I focused on the art side and he just put riffs together and passages to hear and it all sounded great to me and even though he kept asking to have anything sent to him ideas wise I just thought, while he was producing material riff’s I like it freed me up to keep working and also kept us going in the right direction. Things that didn’t work were left on the floor too of course. When the basic shapes were there, the material was sent to Abaddon in Newcastle who went into the studio up there and recorded all the drums and the engineer sent the wavs to Mantas. Then I flew to Portugal (where he lives) and we completed everything. Lyrics, bass vocals were laid down too and then Mantas produced with the engineer Kalle.”
You guys signed world’s biggest metal label “Nuclear Blast”. How did it feel to finally get some recognition for your hard work instead of being considered as a Venom Tribute act?
“Hahahahahahaha. I find that so funny so I won’t give it a platform except to laugh at. It feels great finally! You mean being with NB? To be with them is amazing. There was a process behind the scenes and we had just toured almost the whole globe once or twice so we already had recognition. But to find a home with them, is for me the best bit.”
With Avé being released you guys will head out for the US “Blood Stained” Tour , will this package hit Europe anytime soon?
“Yes, the album is out in August and the World Tour starts in North America on September 1st. 32 dates or so then back to UK and some dates here and in Europe. Then onto South America and then Christmans and I will go to Portugal to complete recordings for the new M:PIRE of EVIL album with Mantas for summer next year release. Then we do Europe more extensively early 2018, then Japan and other parts of Asia and then Australia and New Zealand to complete the tour.”
You also had directed and wrote the story for the video “Dein Fleisch. How was this experience?
“We had to move fast so I used my contacts and Kamelia Productions in Rome to line everything up quick. I wrote the storyboard and script then went to Italy, shot over 2 days the returned and after the Danzig festival in California, came home and edited. The whole thing was a great experience and the first so expect better to come bwahahahahaha..”
I have met you a couple of times and all three of you are really down to earth and great to all your fans. Ain’t it hard always party with them?
“Yes, sometimes really hard but for us it is a moment and we get thousands of them but to a particular person or fan it may be their single or only moment they have waited for. So we are aware of it and try to allow everyone to have at least a small moment if not longer..It is also part of the job I think as fans are the ones paying your wage. But it should not be a chore but should be respectful if the fans are being respectful, it is a joint venture after all.”
Mr Hetfield showed up at a gig as fan, how was is to meet one of the biggest in the industry going crazy on your music?
“Like time had stood still. It was my birthday too. It was very special and we had a great laugh and it felt like the next day not 30 years later or whatever…lol…He’s still great to be around…he air drummed and air guitared throughout the gig and just had fun. I think people forget, people are just people and we all started the same way….so to see him just having fun like that was superb.”
Cronos manager forbids interviewers to mention Venom Inc. Do you got any response for them about it. To me it seems complete silly
“Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, he doesn’t have a manager by the way….hahahahahaha…he IS the manager…hahahahahaha. If you mean Andy? He’s the drum tech who gets pushed forward as manager, when Conrad needs it to look like that. I think that’s funny but you know, at least that saves him talking crap all the time….so a good thing. He just focusses on the fans and his music anyway, no one wants to hear bitchslapping childish nonsense or politics. We get enough of that shit in our day to day lives.”
Thanks for your time Tony. Love the new record and hopefully we see each other soon somewhere!
“It was a great pleasure my friend and I am happy you like it. It is for the fans and everyone, for sure see you out there somewhere….AVE!! “
Interview by Ronald van de Baan