Slaughtering stages with a force that’ll get your head spinnin’ and your body swinging from side to side, longtime rockers, Venom Inc, have come back around and are ready to demolish your hometown. Creating a fan base that stretches worldwide through a balls-to-the-wall approach and authenticity that has kept the band relevant for decades upon decades, Venom Inc are back with a vengeance abounding with passion, drive and so much love for their fans. I caught up with vocalist, Tony Dolan, to discuss what’s to come during the upcoming ‘Blood Stained Earth’ tour, bringing the band back to life, words of wisdom, tattoos and more.
First and foremost, congrats on quite the journey and coming back to life and reuniting over the past few years. How has the family back home taken the sudden reunion?
As surprised as we are, but very supportive and happy as myself and Mantas have put 10 years work into playing and releasing material as M:PIRE of EVIL and now moving across with Abandon to VENOM Inc, we are at a crest. It is humbling and we are thankful.
If there are two Venom Inc tracks that get any crowd riled up, what two tracks would you say they would be and why?
Well from the upcoming album I would say it will be, “Metal WE Bleed” and “AVE Satanas”! From our back catalogue, without a doubt, “Black Metal” and “Countess Bathory”. All tracks involve the audience participating and they move the soul to an epic crazy proportion, just as it should be!
Tell us about what you guys have going on during your upcoming Blood Stained Earth Tour.
Well, I intend to get more tattoos, of course, to celebrate the tour. We will be giving some lucky peeps VIP treatments, goodies and lots more. We have a brand new album so expect some great new additional tracks as well as the classics and some stuff not heard before or for a long time. We cannot wait to get to North America, US and Canada are our favorites, the landscape, the people, etc. – – hard to beat! Abaddon will be up to his eyes in Jack Daniels and Mantas will be enjoying his tour tea, I would imagine. Mostly we will be playing and meeting as many fans as possible, as we always do, with Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust, and The Convalescence as well as other guests throughout. We will be having a freakin’ ball no doubt!
Tell us about some of your favorite personal tattoos and the artists that brought them to life.
Well, Welt Yama in Rome is my guy! He did the two forearm pieces and he is an old school genius with his own distinctive style.
John Clue in Manhattan NYC did my St.Vitus club tattoo when we played and then yes then he got me to tattoo him! OMG, it was amazing. I tattooed, VENOm and two inverted crucifixes on his finger! I never tattooed in my life so was a first but I was totally honored. I have an AtomKraft skull (my first album art that I did) tattooed on my upper right shoulder and that was done by the infamous Lal Hardy’s studio. I have some barbed wire work done by a young Brazilian tattooist who has a studio in London, Black Garden Tattoo, and he is great. I have Brittany Elliot (from LA Ink) who now lives in Texas, on my skin, she tattooed the Texas dates. Also, the guys who played bass in Rod Halford’s FIGHT works out of Toledo where his family has a studio and he does Kerry King etc. He tattooed the first round of US dates on my skin! There are others but these guys all rule and I am a walking piece of them all. I try to get a tattoo on every trip or more if I can: it’s how I now carry the memories around with me.
What has been your favorite venue to play at over the years that you enjoy returning to over and over again?!
So many actual venues. But, these days, so many are like home.
- Reggies: Chicago or Seattle
- Brick by Brick: San Diego
- St.Vitus: Brooklyn
- Webster Hall: Manhattan
On and on! These are better than festivals, where everyone is miles away and there is less interaction. I like it personal, sweaty and intense, that is where Venom comes alive, not Cabaret version but REAL and IN YOUR FACE.
If you could metaphorically affiliate the reunion of Venom Inc to the characteristics of an animal, which animal would you choose and why?
A real bad tempered Tiger who likes to be peaceful and just eat and relax unless people start to come around then he gets edgy and finally, crazy. And then he is very, very dangerous and even though he has that passivity, make no mistake, he is ALWAYS ready for WAR!
Have you stumbled across any standout fan tattoos over the years? If so, fill us in.
OMG, so many! One guy took our autograph in Quebec and presented himself the next day with them fully tattooed where we had written them. Another from the Brazilian band, Nervoso Chaos, did the same on his back. One German girl has the whole of her back as the Black Metal cover. A Greek guy has Abaddon’s portrait on his calf. A Belgian guy, Marc Canipel has my own portrait on his leg. There are album covers, quotes and band name everywhere. I do not think we have done a show in almost 40 years where someone has some and had some kind of tattoo honouring us. And another German friend has his neck tattoo the goat from Black Metal album. It’s crazy cool and again, what an honor!
What is your perception of the current state of extreme metal?
It’s incredible. We are living history, never mind books. Not only do younger fans get the oldies out there, but everyone is still creating new material and giving full energy shows better than ever but they have all styles around who are furious and good as well as the new breed who are pushing the envelope even now still creating new and different avenues. Anyone living in the past should ride the now because you get the best of everything. Sony Tokyo just went into hyper production on vinyl printing after years and year because of the high interest again. The world has come around but, you have what went before and what is here now too. So, it is exciting and in good shape. Better than ever and getting even better.
If you could share your greatest lesson as a musician over the years, what would that be and why?
Like Lemmy once told me (not name dropping but he was a hero and I got one chance to get his advice so) and I tell them – “Be true to who you are, be honest and be good to your fans…RESPECT.”
I would possibly add, do not trust people who tell you they know what is right for you.You know who you are and what you want, stick to that and work hard. It’s easy for someone like Gene Simmons or something to say it is dying (the scene) because they do not live in the underground and are wealthy and out of touch. But, if you can do anything if you set your mind, hold tight, do not ever give up and aim straight, AVE and Good luck. Meet you in the bar someday, mark my words.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
Thank You for all the years. Thank you for everything from the photographer, blogger, journalists, drivers, people who fed us, looked after us and believed and supported us. And to the fans: you are the reason we exist, the reason we are back and touring the whole planet and the reason we even present a new album. It is your album and it is our thank you to you. Always respect each other and support the whole scene. It is important and until I see you out there somewhere….AVE.