Stevie Chick of UK's The Guardian recently conducted an interview with VENOM frontman Conrad "Cronos" Lant. A few excerpts from the chat follow.
On whether he sees any parallels between the absurd events chronicled in "This Is Spinal Tap" and the experiences enjoyed by VENOM:
Cronos: "That movie was never pointed at us. It was aimed at bands like SAXON, and SAMSON, and IRON MAIDEN. They all lived that ludicrous lifestyle; we never did. We were always down to earth, we always had friends who'd give us a slap if we got too full of ourselves."
On how he came up with VENOM's simple but effective concept:
Cronos: "My idea was, can you imagine BLACK SABBATH, but really evil? Or JUDAS PRIEST, but with more studs; KISS, but with bigger flash-bombs. If you took all of these bands' ideas and put them into one group, then surely you'd come up with a superband? That was the whole idea behind VENOM. But KISS had the money to hire pyrotechnical geniuses to develop their stageshows; we had to make do with whatever we could find. But that's what got us our name, because when our bombs went bang, they went fuckin' BANG! We blackened the walls of many a venue, with things going wrong. . . It wasn't about lipstick or spandex. I injected punk rock into the metal, putting the aggression, the snot and the shit and the piss back into rock'n'roll. I make no bones about it: yes, we sing about satanism and witchcraft and paganism, and sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. This is the devil's music, apparently, so let's make it so."
Cronos: "I've always been interested in Satanism. But we're entertainers, and we used subjects like satanism and paganism to entertain people, like horror movies do. Listening to a VENOM album is the same thing as watching an 'Evil Dead' movie. I don't go around murdering virgins in my spare time. It's frustrating when people can't make that distinction; I mean, David Bowie's not actually from Mars, is he? But we were always being misquoted in the press. 'VENOM admit to dancing around a campfire with virgins?' Nonsense."
On finding commercial success in Europe and America before Britain finally fell for their dark charms:
Cronos: "If we'd never travelled, we'd have been fucked. When we put out our debut album, countries like Germany and Holland got it instantly. And then Johny Z, who ran Megaforce Records in New York, invited us over to play two gigs at Staten Island, with METALLICA, and we began to happen in America. We refused to play any gigs in London, until we could sell out the Hammersmith Odeon, which we finally did, in 1984."
On ploughing back any profits into their outrageous stage show:
Cronos: "We wanted pyros on every song, moving stages, lighting rigs that turned into inverted crosses. I remember a German gig in 1985 with METALLICA, and James Hetfield said, 'You guys can't be making any money at this.' And we said, 'No, but its fun, isn't it? We'll go out with a bang.'"
On leading a rejuvenated VENOM in 2008:
Cronos: "In the end, the fans do the talking, and the album sales and concert revenues tell me the fans want VENOM to continue. We still plough everything back in to the stage show I'm always looking at what new backdrops we can get, what new stage pyrotechnics we can have. It's all about just balancing the books for me, trying not to go in the red."
Read the entire interview from The Guardian.