Vennart: The Demon Joke

Ex-Oceansize fella lands funnyside up.

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If rock music is a serious business then no one told Mike Vennart. The former Oceansize frontman has not only named his debut album after the humour that kept him going after the influential post-rockers’ sad demise, but he’s also dedicated the work to the late Rik Mayall.

But this album is no laugh riot. The demon is all too real, as Vennart battled personal ones – losing his much-loved band, chronic writer’s block, bereavement. He hit the road for two years as a fourth wheel to Biffy Clyro, and late nights spent in the world’s hotel rooms cocooned his next phase.

Thanks to an enthusiastically received Pledge campaign, Vennart can smile again. Teamed with old Oceansizers Steve Durose (guitar) and Gambler (keys), plus Ginger Wildheart’s drummer Denzel Pearson, The Demon Joke sits well next to Oceansize’s past glories.

Joy Division’s atmosphere and Faith No More’s anger are obvious influences, with Vennart’s distinctive vocal moving from grace to grit in a snap, soaring on Infatuate, soulful and confessional on Don’t Forget The Joker.

For instant grats, you can’t beat Retaliate’s hooky urgency, or the Biffy-powered Operate, which is the song that reignited Vennart’s mojo.

The wait’s been worth it – it’s a pleasure to have him back./o:p

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.