These days seen as an important and influential metal band, Venom have come a long way from their beginnings as an underground band in Newcastle at the end of the 1970s. Among the pioneers of thrash, they can also lay reasonable claim to have founded the whole black metal movement.
They’ve released 12 studio albums, the most notable being the first two – Welcome To Hell and Black Metal – recorded by their most famous line-up, with bassist/ vocalist Cronos, guitarist Mantas and drummer Abaddon. Cronos is still leading from the front, joined on 2011 album Fallen Angels by guitarist La Rage and drummer Dante, and says they’re fired up to prove that the Venom legacy is as crucial now as it’s ever been.
Have Venom gone back to basics?
Definitely. I’ve spent years looking for two guys who don’t care about money or being rock stars, and I’ve finally got them. They are so into the music that for me it’s like going back to the way things were when this band first started, when the passion and commitment was all that mattered, not how much money we were getting for everything.
Venom’s influence is on a par with the likes of Metallica and Slayer. Does it frustrate you that those bands have had so much more success?
You know what, we’ve retained our integrity whereas those bands haven’t. Look at Metallica. They sound so lame these days. They’re old men who should have given up a long time ago. Lars Ulrich seems to be more bothered about buying a $6 million painting than making great music. The only one of those American metal stars to retain a shred of credibility is Dave Mustaine. At least he still cares.
Will there ever be a reunion of the Cronos/Mantas/Abaddon line-up?
No chance. When we did it in 1995 I realised that I didn’t know those guys any more. They’d changed so much that I couldn’t even relate to them at all. It was all about paying for houses and sending their kids to school. I’m in the same boat, obviously, but for me Venom is all about the music. For them it was a way of making money. So what can they bring to the band now? Nothing. It’s over, and no amount of money can alter that. If we ever do reunite, then fans should come up and call me a liar.
Do you wish you’d done something like the Anvil movie? I
wouldn’t ever have wanted the sort of mainstream attention they got through it. I would love to do a proper documentary on Venom, but one done with a sensible budget and that wasn’t a joke. I’d never want to look like a buffoon on screen.
Are Venom as an active band undermined by the constant reissues?
Not at all. Having these albums back out again has helped to maintain people’s interest in our history. I think we’re lucky to have them re-released by people who care, and I am always consulted.
Will your expertise in 3D computer technology ever get used in a future Venom project?
We were gonna do a 3D video last year. It’s still in the works, but the director got seriously ill. There’s so much I still want to do with Venom. Some of it’s on the technology side, and I am always using this expertise to ensure everything we put out looks first class.