Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Ripple Conversation with Tony Bray of Venom

Venom.  The band so bad they're awesome.  They couldn't play their instruments, Conrad “Cronos” Lant couldn't sing, the lyrics were a mish-mash of pseudo-satanic misogyny.  I love this band so much.  When I found original drummer Tony “Abaddon” Bray on facebook through mutual friends, I couldn't resist the urge to send him a request for an interview – and within an hour he responded.  I could tell from the few messages we've exchanged that he's got a great sense of humor and this is going to be fun.

 Even as I type this up I have a goofy grin on my face  I can still see a teenage  me sewing a Venom patch onto my school backpack and hanging up posters of the original lineup in my room.  They didn't look scary (even though they were trying to) and they were a hell of a lot more sexy than Manowar- probably because there was no animal fur involved.

I remember about 10 years ago I was dating a bass player in a Progressive metal band – he absolutely worshiped Rush and Dream Theater.  I used to insist on putting Venom tapes on in his car when we went for really long rides to drove him nuts.  I'm surprised none of the tapes ended up going out the window...

Right..the interview...

Hi Tony, thanks a lot for doing this.  What are you up to right now? Do you still have the studio (Lynx)?  I remember reading a while back that you were working on some techno (??) music??

TB: What am I up to now, well I'm working on another Abaddon album, a follow up to I am Legion, Its been a while, but with the advent of social media, I've been able to see how much it means to some people that I record again, so lets see how it pans out. I'm recording in three different places now, including my own studio in Newcastle, its not Lynx anymore. And no, its not techno.

Here's something I always wanted to ask : You had that massive kit onstage was it more about looking good onstage and having huge kits then actually being able to play?  Did you ever take any lessons?  How did you pick drums?   Exactly how much hardware did you have and how big were your kick drums??

TB: Why was the kit so big, hahahahahaha well I had high expectations, and lots of gear always looks cool, though I managed to play all of it at one time or another ahhahahaha. I always wanted a Ludwig kit, it just feels so solid, and, I've just got my original kit back and am restoring it as we speak....literally, I'm covered in rusty shit as I type this.

The bass drums are 2x26inch and I have 10, 12,  2x 13,  2x 14, 16, and 18

Speaking of stage shows – when did this obsession with pyro start? I read about you setting off explosions in the small church you used to practice in during the early days.

TB: Yeah I love pyros, proper big stuff, and we always used them in rehearsals, we blew up that old church a few times. I've always been in charge of stage design and management and love the job.

Was there a rivalry between Venom and some of the other bands on the Neat label?   Is it true Neat were pushing Raven and  Tygers of Pan Tang more?  Are you friends with those guys now?

TB: There was a healthy rivalry between us and the other bands on the Neat label, because we were a bit different, and they were out....paying their dues...round the local venues, we were never into that....probably to fucking lazy. hahahaha

Conrad has said “Whoever wants to continue with the name Venom, and so long as it is Venom, then great!” So he's using the name, while Jeff and Tony Dolan are playing mostly Venom songs in their set and calling themselves “M:pire of Evil”.  I remember years ago reading that you owned the copyright to the name “Venom” and you were the one keeping the band going when Jeff left (and came back) and when Conrad left.  So basically how do you feel about Conrad going on as Venom? Have you listened to any of the newer material?

TB: I think to call a band Venom there has to be more than one original member in the band. So whats out there now does not constitute Venom to me. M:Pire  are mainly playing Prime Evil time Venom material, and there are more than one member of that band so that's more reasonable in my eyes.

I'm not afraid to say that I actually like “Prime Evil”, “Temples of Ice” and “The Waste Lands” but I can see how they weren't “Venom” enough for the Venom fans.  Do you think of you re-named the band when Conrad left then the albums wouldn't be pre-judged based on the Venom name?  Is there bad blood between you and Jeff vs. Conrad?

TB: Yeah there's bad blood with the Venom camp. Always was, always will be.

And now the “things I always wanted to know”
Whatever happened to the silver spandex pants??

Who pulled the most girls at Venom's heyday (and if you want to plead the fifth so as not to offend your better half than I understand)

Why did you always wear sunglasses on and offstage?  It was a good signature look, but I always thought it was because you wore regular glasses and just couldn't see!!

TB: The spandex pants were given to Rudy from Scorps, I pulled all the girls, obviously hahahahahah, and yep I need normal glasses as I'm pretty much blind and thought darker ones looked cool.

Where can fans find out what you're up to? Is there a website?

TB: You can find lots more including pics of the refurbished kit on my Abaddon face book site.

Fan Page:
Tony's personal facebook:


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