Give me some of them devil blues: Jeff "Mantas" Dunn, founder of VENOM and now M-PIRE OF EVIL!

Home Interviews Give me some of them devil blues: Jeff "Mantas" Dunn, founder of VENOM and now M-PIRE OF EVIL!
This Article Is Brought To You By : Audiosiege
Written By: Rene Trujillo
Feb 27 2012

Jeff "Mantas" Dunn

Here I go, I am about to interview the founder of one of the most legendary metal bands ever, Venom; a man who has seen and done what most musicians could only dream of and I am damn near ready to pass out from the jitters. I don't give a damn who you are, no matter how many interviews you do, there are some folks who still make you feel like you're still some snot nosed little brat thinking he looks cool in his Judas Priest British Steel T.

Apart from that, this guy doesn't appear as one to be trifled with; he has guns that look like he could snap you in half and a crease of seriousness on his brow to match!  Jeff Dunn turned out to be one of the nicest guys out there, with no attitude and very opinionated, he is one of the metal gods who holds true his love for both his music and his fans.

With his new outfit, M-PIRE OF EVIL, he, along with his bandmates Tony "The Demolition Man" Dolan and Antony "Antton" Lant, has proven that down to the basics, hard hitting f*ckin' heavy metal is still very much alive and well! If you haven't heard "Hell To The Holy" yet, don't deny yourself the opportunity!

About to embark on a North American tour, he took the time, with his girlfriend's permission of course, to have a chat with ThrashHead.

 

ThrashHead: It's 1978, Newcastle upon Tyne, you're just a kid and you go see bands like Blue Oyster Cult and Judas Priest...the image of KK Downing is seared into your mind and you immediately score yourself a flying V guitar. Tell me about the time between the moment you first picked up your first guitar and Venom started? How did you teach yourself guitar and what were some of the projects you involved at that time.

Jeff: I think we can go as far back as '76, I was training in martial arts, Taekwondo, and there was a guy at the club, everyone was new at the club, it just started, everybody made friends as we went along because no one knew each other. I got talking to this guy one night, his name was Dave Rutherford, we found out that apart from Martial arts, we had another common interest which was heavy rock and heavy metal, he was listening to Deep Purple and that kind of stuff, he was a couple years older than me. I had just started the journey into metal, my earliest sort of influences and memories in music has always been guitar driven stuff. I was into T-REX, Slade, Sweet, it was always guitar driven...but I was always looking for something which was a little heavier, the next step if you would like.

I remember being in town, in Newcastle, and I went into this department store and discovered my first KISS album, it was KISS Aive!, and at the time it was a double album, which I couldn't afford, so I bought the next one behind it which was "Hotter Than Hell". I would meet up with this guy, Dave, and he had a guitar and I had just bought a guitar, my mother had financed my first guitar for me, I was sort of messing about and trying to do stuff on it...you know, without much success at the time (laughs). So, we got together and jamming a bit...really neither of us could really play.

I've said this before, as soon as I discovered a power chord and a basic first position Pentatonic scale, that was it , I was off trying to write my own songs. I remember, Dave used to get loads of tickets to go to the Newcastle City Hall, I went along to see Blue Oyster Cult with him and then he just said he had tickets for this band called Judas Priest, who I had heard off but had never really investigated. As soon, I heard them that was it, the path was firmly set... I knew what I wanted to do.

But teaching myself...I remember I got a book which came with a Flexi disc in it, I don't know if you remember those things...

ThrashHead: Oh absolutely, I remember as a kid I had ordered Grim Reaper's single "See You In Hell" outta the back of some magazine...can't remember what it was, Hit Parader, Circus one of those...that was my first introduction to those...

Jeff: Well, this book had a flexi disc, and I didn't know who the guy was at the time because I had just started playing, but it was by Pat Thrall, one of the songs that it taught was called "Homage To Hendrix" and it was just a very Hendirx-esque sort of jam, you had the song with this sort of lead work over top and you had the jam track as well; I struggled, and struggled, and struggled to get this thing and got a few licks out of it. But, I think, my main influences is definitely oldschool, that oldschool rock and the blues as well, hence "Devil" on the new album. If I had to name one guy who is my favorite guitarist of all time from a trained point of view, it's currently Gary Moore. And other than that, the guy who sort of influenced me, on the heavier end of blues if you like, is Frank Marino of Mahogany Rush, that first time I heard "Electric Reflections of War", I was like "Wow, what is this guy doing?", another at the time would be Uli Jon Roth, early Scorpions, tracks like, "Speedy's Coming" .
Like I said, as soon as I learned a power chord or Pentatonic scale, I was trying to write songs and emulate what I heard, whether that was successful...(laughs)...I don't know, I never actually sat down and tried to learn a full song lick for lick....in Venom, we did "The Green Manalishi", The Priest version of the Peter Green song, we did "No Class" by Motorhead and "God Of Thunder"... hence the same song being on M-PIRE's " Creatures of The Black" EP.

You know if you analyze those songs they are all pretty basic songs, so the playability wasn't up there ...even with the other musicians who were around in Newcastle at the time, bands like Raven, Pissed and The Tigers who were all far superior players to us; with us, I think it was just that sort of all balls out attitude and absolute ignorance of what we were doing that created that sound; I did an interview with Decibel Magazine when they inducted "Welcome to Hell" into their hall of fame as a ground breaking album and one of the questions I got was "How did you come up with that sound?" and I have to say that it was absolute fucking ignorance my friend. (Laughs) We really didn't know what we were doing in the studio, we had no studio experience whatsoever and from a guitar playing point of view, it was as basic as you got.

But, I think production values aside, the first two Venom albums what has stood the test of time is the songs...people still talk about the songs, regardless of what the album sounds like and the production value compared to today's standard, the songs have stood the test of time which is what I am most proud of. Yeah, guitar playing wise, even today, I am still oldschool when it comes guitar playing, I love blues, I love classic rock and metal, I always said as a Joke that my metal world starts with the word "Judas" and ends with the word of "Priest"; I am still a diehard Priest fan .

About guitar playing, my guitar playing, I would say I am more a blues based player...the thing is, this neoclassical shredding, it's a amazing don't get me wrong, anyone who can do that has my utmost respect, I can do it to a certain extent but I have to admit it leaves me a bit cold, all the Yngwies and all that kind of stuff, you can't deny the talent, it's unbelievable...my friend has got a saying "The note has got to hit the monkey gland, it's got to make you want to move" and Gary Moore always did that, he can shred with the best of them, he could play a million miles an hour and then something so melodic which is memorable...I remember reading Gary Moore saying that the guitar solo in a song has to got to take the song somewhere, it has to add to it, it has to do something for it otherwise it's unnecessary. Guitar playing is about music, it's not how fast you can hit every note on the fretboard, that's boring as far as I am concerned, if somebody said to me "you can be the most amazing guitar player the world has ever seen and people will worship you or you can be the most amazing songwriter the world has ever seen and move people physically and emotionally" I would be the songwriter, definitely.

For me, the guitar...you can give someone the best woodworking tools, all the best equipment, will they build you a beautiful cabinet or will they just chop you some firewood? For me, the guitar is a tool to write music, music is the thing, it's all about the song. I've always said is a radio edit of a rock song, one of the first things to go is a long guitar solo...in the end of the day people buy songs, not the guitar solo.

I know the solo is an inherent in metal, I suppose it's a necessary part...or is it? It's gotta be justified, let's put it that way, I enjoy playing solos, but I've done a lot of songs where there are no solos where I don't think it needs it. I enjoy just as much banging out the riff and headbanging with the rest of the crowd. So I don't need to be in the spotlight shredding my brains out, I don't look at myself as a guitar hero in the slightest, not as all, I look at myself as someone who can write a decent metal tune and if that's what people think, I'd rather have that said about me, then "he's a shredmeister"...I am not interested in that, just songs, songs, songs.

ThrashHead: So you're saying your relationship with your guitar playing and music is kinda like a girlfriend, it's emotional rather than based how technical you are, it's a growing relationship of inspiration and expressing yourself. You mention songs that may not have amazing leads but can still easily provoke people into having an emotional reaction; speaking of Judas Priest you look at a song like "Rocka Rolla", very simple song, but because of its simplicity you feel that song...there are so many songs out there where a guitar player is melting his axe, but you're not feeling the song, no emotion... sad, angry, aggressive or even relaxed....you're just listening to a song based around the technical expertise of a single musician...

Jeff: I think that kind of playing is just...there will probably be a lot of people who might shoot me down in flames for this, but again, it's a personal opinion...let's put it this way, these guitar players who have been doing this, their talent is undeniable, it is incredible what they can do when you watch some of these players you go "Jesus, fuck, what the hell is that guy doing?" it's amazing, but will Dragonforce ever play, headline to the same crowds as AC/DC...do you get what I mean there?

ThrashHead: Yeah absolutely

Jeff: It's about groove, its' about songs, about anthems, and Angus is a fucking blues player... it's as simple as that, that what I try to get across to people, it's exactly what you said there, it's about moving people emotionally and physically, to get them moving, to feel things. I would rather be that type of player than playing a million miles an hour, that's guitar gymnastics as far as I am concerned.

ThrashHead: I'm with you, there's a lot people spending too much time on being technical rather than putting music out which will get people to buy their music...music that will have people cranking the volume all the way up and playing a song over and over jamming to it.

Speaking of provoking emotions in people...Venom, you guys in the early 80's were as hardcore as they came...metalheads were drawn to the band's music because it was fast, crunchy, your lyrical content, you weren't beating around the bush, you were in society's face, you influenced literally millions of musicians and was critical in helping spawn two new genres in metal; thrash and Black metal, appropriately named after Venom's second album....but how much of that lyrical content was from personal beliefs, I dunno if it's an urban legend, but it's said that you guys were into the satanic bible at that time, and how much was from wanting to take it beyond the boundaries of the quote unquote "social norm" and just have fun doing it?

Jeff: Ummm....I certainly owned a copy of the Satanic Bible, I found it a lot more practical on a life style basis, then the usual we were used to. But, I think a lot of people did miss the point with Venom, there was always with that humor there, you only gotta to listen to songs like "Poison" and "Teacher's Pet" ...there was a certain sense of humor there. Was it done for shock value? Absolutely, of course it was...we did want to take it further than Sabbath or Black Widow had taken it, but again jumping forward to the new album, the track "Devil" is a statement ...ok, so Venom started all this black metal thing, and there is a million bands that followed us and has involved into what it is today, but don't forget that way before that, way before Sabbath, way before Black Widow, there was...

ThrashHead: Johnson

Jeff: ...yeah, exactly! Some guy in the delta sitting there, wailing on a old beaten up acoustic and singing about the devil...the lines in the song "A Widow on a Sabbath Day" , black widow, black Sabbath, "The Snake did us wrong, way before it all began, the delta sang it's song" I think that's a point a lot of people miss, everything came from there, everything came from the blues at the end of the day. With the Venom thing, nobody had blatantly put the pentagram, certainly the symbol of the church of Satan on an album cover.

Were we being deliberate about it? Of Course, we were, people had asked about hidden messages...fucking hidden messages what do you want? There is a song called "In League with Satan" on an album titled "Welcome to Hell", how much more fucking obvious do you need to be? (Both laugh) ...we didn't need to hide anything.

Were we practicing Satanist? No, of course we weren't, I mean by the definition of the word Satanist...living your life without restrictions but taking responsibility for your actions, not to the detriment of others...if by that definition that makes you a Satanist then 90% of the world...isn't that we are all doing, living our lives the way we wan to? Obviously, there is the hardcore, doesn't matter what you get into there is always going to be the hardcore, fanatics. We actually did get a letter from the Church of Satan in the early days, essentially, from what I can remember, it was kind of congratulating us...sort of a more power to you type of letter. You could ask the same question of Sabbath, Black Widow, were they Satanists? There are a lot of bands nowadays, black metal bands, who would say "yes we are definitely card carrying Satanist" but, personally I have no personal religious beliefs either way.

I think there is something, but I am more of a belief that it's on the universal scale I suppose, I'm not a believer of someone sitting on the cloud and someone downstairs in a ball of flames, not that way. As for evil? You don't get much more evil than man...man is the ultimate evil, and again that's something we talk about in the "Eighth Gate" ...with Venom, I wrote the song "The Seven Gates of Hell" and that song is basically a lot of sword and sorcery and DIO-esque lyrics, where as the "Eighth Gate" talks about when you open the "Eighth Gate" of hell all you see is a reflection of yourself because man is the ultimate evil, you don't have to create evil, you don't have to look at something and say this or that has caused this, no, man on the planet is doing enough damage to himself and the environment. You don't get much more evil that that, you turn on the news, CNN, SKY News, you will see far more disturbing images on there that are real and happening now which are far more terrifying than any horror movie or little demons with pointy horns and tails. We just wanted to put that to the forefront and if we shocked people, then we shocked people. I don't think it would shock anybody now if it came now; it's very, very difficult to shock anybody in the human race now because of the very nature of television and now the internet; we've become desensitized, you can be there in the warzone with the soldier, watching everything happen, and that's far more disturbing than any horror film.

The best example of a horror film type of evil for me is "The Devil's Advocate", where Al Pacino is the devil, but he is a fucking liar in power, that's for me where the devil is going to be, a position of power where he can manipulate...I think with all that you got of people like that on the planet, there's a million and one devil's on the planet. I think you have to take away the sword and sorcery aspect of that image of hell...it's governments and religion, not little demons.

ThrashHead: So man is essentially the creator of all evil...

Jeff: I believe so, yeah, just turn on the news and there's the evidence; Look around you.

ThrashHead: You're spot on, and nobody blinks an eye, they cry for someone who became famous and perhaps wasted the gift they had been given, yet won't blink an eye for a child dying of starvation or a third world country ravaged by disease...they are more preoccupied by what they own and what they can have.

Jeff: Yeah!

ThrashHead: Going back again to the history of your music, you left Venom in '86 and started Mantas, you had clearly taken a different musical direction on the album "Winds of Change" which was in, I think, '88? What made you decide to leave the band that you had founded and go in another direction as an artist?

Jeff: First of all, going in a new direction was just a breath of fresh air, it was just fun...we really had so much fun doing that album, no pressures, no pretense, nothing to live up to, we laughed all the way, it was just good fun...sort of 80's party type of band, and that's all it was, it was a relief to do something like that.

When I first left Venom I thought that was it, I was done with music. And for a while I firmly believed that; I thought it was just the whole music thing that I was sick of. I then got a call from NEAT Records and asked me what I was doing, if I was interested in doing a solo album. Ok then, I went down, talk to them and eventually put a band together and I quickly discovered that it wasn't music or guitars that I was sick of, it was the personalities in the band, and every band goes through this I suppose, if I gotta blame anything it has to be the events of 1985, there were certain events that year, that really drove me to leave the band, things I thought it wasn't like being in a band anymore but, a fucking traveling Circus. That was it...come '86 I said to myself that I gotta make the move now, that's it...I can't justify..

ThrashHead: You still had the passion for the music but you weren't being fulfilled as a musician?

Jeff: It wasn't even that, everybody knows that the personalities in Venom really didn't get along with each other..I think one contributing factor to that was the speed of success of the band; which was literally overnight. We went from rehearsing in an old church hall in the west end of Newcastle one weekend to playing in a sports hall in Belgium the following weekend in front of a few thousand kids. It was totally bemusing for us, we really didn't know what the hell was going on to be totally honest. I remember standing at sound check, while waiting for sound check, and some guy walks by singing "Sons Of Satan". I looked at the guy and asked myself "How the fuck does he know the words to that song?"

(Both Laugh)

Honestly, we didn't have a clue of what was going on at that point. In the end, all this adoration, it's all put upon on you and all of sudden you're touring...it happens sooo fucking quick! (Chuckles) I remember, I was so mystified by the whole thing and my attitude was "right, point me in the direction of the stage"..that was my thing...the two things I love about this business is being in the studio, being creative, and playing live, everything else that goes with it, all the traveling, and all the fuckin' bullshit yu can keep that...if you could put me into suspended animation and wake me up on stage brilliant! I think there are a lot of musicians like that who have a love/hate relationship with the road...but performing wise, that's obviously where every musician comes alive. In the lights, you feed off the energy of the audience...but once it comes to the point where you don't want to travel with your own band, they don't want to travel with you...I'm not talking about two members not wanting to travel with one, I'm saying all three don't want to travel together, then you have to look at the situation.

I remember reading an interview with Paul Stanley and he said that two way marriages have a tough time making it in this day and age, but when you have four personalities, as in Kiss, or in the case of Venom, three, who are socially radical different personalities....we never socialized with one another outside of the band.

I am often asked "How the fuck did you do this thing with two other guys you really didn't get along with, who also didn't get along with each other..?" Was there a higher (slight pause) ooor lower force (chuckles) who put us together for this very purpose? I don't know...there was something there that worked; everything that is successful has a chemical formula, an equation, to it that works, and that little equation of us three just really seemed to work, but even that was already whittled down from five people.

Like I say, there were just certain things that happened during the course of the career, in '85, those things happened and I thought "nope, this NOT good". And it was at a point where I got a call about us doing something in Brazil, and Japan, at that point I had never been in Japan... I was desperate to go see it, especially for the culture, the martial arts aspect especially. That's when I said, "Well, you better get someone else, cause I am outta here"...so I left at a point where Venom was going on to do bigger shows as well.

ThrashHead: Do you think you dodged a bullet emotionally by not being lured in by more tours and more fame and maybe more money by taking a stand and saying "No, this is just not right for me"?

Jeff: Definitely, definitely, I think the stress levels would have been just ridiculous after something like that, it wouldn't have been worth it, I wouldn't have been true to myself, I would have been doing it under protest, let's put it that way. I thought it was the right time to make the move, and I just said "no, I am not going to this anymore". And then years later, I went onto the Prime Evil thing and the reformation for the Dynamo Festival Festival . When the original lineup reformed, there was problems there, the same personalities, but it started to look good, we did the festival, then we did a really great show in Athens and we did the Milwaukee Metal Fest, but the Metal Invader Festival in Athens was awesome, everyone was great, all the journalists said "fuckin' hell, Venom is back this is it, this is great" and it was good for awhile, in the end all the old wounds started to open up...I supposed it's typical of any band whose been through problems, look at KISS with Frehley and Criss...Priest went through it with Halford...look at the Sabbath situation at the moment with Bill Ward. It's not something unique to us and other bands who have had far more success than us perhaps its worse because it's on a bigger scale...

ThrashHead: Bigger egos perhaps?

Jeff: Bigger egos plus there is a hell of a lot more fucking money concerned my friend; when that starts to get involved...

I get the question all the time about whether or not the original Venom line up will get together again and I will have to say no. I don't believe there is enough people waiting out there to see us back together to start off with, and if we did get back together, it would be purely for financial reasons and is that the right reason to do it? I just don't think it would happen, we tried it in once, in '96, it lasted a little bit and it was just proven that it wasn't going to work again. There is a Venom out there doing what they do, I am doing what I do with M-PIRE, so I suppose everyone is happy.

ThrashHead: Meaning no disrespect to Cronos, the M-PIRE album smokes the latest Venom release "Fallen Angels" by a million miles; so essentially Venom is a closed chapter in your life and you just want to continue on with what you want to do.

Jeff: Yeah, myself and Tony, Demolition Man, have spoken about this because he was in Venom as well...

ThrashHead: He Joined after you left right? He joined in 88?

Jeff: That's right, I was doing the "Winds of Change" thing at the time, and we did "Headbangers Ball"...we were involved in quite a few things and I got the call "Do you want to rejoin Venom" (laughs) and I straight away said "No", I just did not want to do it. They said Abaddon is still involved, but we are going to get Tony Dolan is in...and that was the thing that did it for me, because I have always been really, really good friends with Tony, we've been friends now for, god it must be thirty years...and Tony had stipulated he wouldn't do it unless I was involved, and I said I didn't want to unless Tony was doing it ...so they were pulling out all the stops to get us in.

And then, when we got together, it was the first time we worked together as a song writing team. I mean, Tony had jumped in on bass for the video I had done with Mantas, the "Winds of Change" thing, but that was as much as his involvement in that had been, he had just stood in as a bass player on the Video, but when we got together writing songs, we found out we work really, really well together. The Prime Evil album was great and now with M-PIRE... on the tour we will be doing "Black are the Priests", "Prime Evil" and "Carnivorous" we've rehearsed those songs....there are gonna be a bunch of other Venom songs in there...I think leaving Venom, I just discovered I could do more, there was more scope...on the M-PIRE album I was free to do more, there are more styles maybe...

ThrashHead: Yes, absolutely, when I heard the album that was one of the first things I noticed and I made a point of mentioning it, was that you guys seemed to be exploring different realms of musical expression. And, like you mentioned, it's no secret you are into Frank Marino, and a deep appreciation for blues, you talked about "Devil", I had picked it up as a tribute to Robert Leroy Johnson, and that was actually was going to be one of my next questions: how were you able to accomplish such a wide range of styles on the album without losing the core essence, the identity of what the band is about? I mean, a lot of bands try to touch on different styles just to see what is accepted and on the next album they will stick with it....albums like those always seem to end up sounding a bit schizophrenic, but this album just works, it sounds really cool I was really blown away, you had a little bit of Sabbath in there, you had some anthems, giving shoutouts to Judas Priest and Venom, you had the blues of "Devil" and you had a really evil Black Metal sound on "Hell to the Holy"...how did you pull that off?

Jeff: "Hell to the Holy" was actually the very first song I wrote for the band, and I sent it to everybody and I got a message from Tony saying "sounds great!, Let's bring hell to the holy!" and I was like "Woooah there we go, there's the title right there!" and we were just jamming it at rehearsal...Tony went up to the mic and sang "Bring hell To the Holy!" and that was it, we just needed to get the rest of the lyrics from there. But what we had decided when talked, he said to me, actually both of us said to each other, we didn't wanted to be in the black metal box, we don't want to be in the death metal box, we don't want to be in the classic metal box, we didn't want to be in the whatever metal box, we wanted to open all these boxes and have a little bit of M-PIRE in every one of them and I think that's what is going to set the style of the band. We just want to have no restrictions.

And one thing I've said is, that in the early days of Venom, we came out with this term Black Metal, now that came about when an interviewer was saying to us about the current state of heavy metal, this was back in the 80's, and at the time, every band who had long hair and a guitar was put in the heavy rock or heavy metal box, so "you're a heavy metal band, you're a hard rock band, you're a whatever" ...ok, you have long hair, you have a guitar, you play loud you're a heavy metal band....and at that point we were so arrogant that we said in fact what you think is heavy metal, we have nothing to do with... that we felt we were different at that point form other bands, obviously the pressed turned around and asked "well, then what are you?" and that's where that term comes from it's that type of thing you know, black magic, black metal . From there, black metal has involved into something completely different from what we were. But after that, I suppose every band that came after look at us in the way we looked at Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and all the other bands, we want to be heavier than those, we want to be faster than them, we want to have a bigger stage show than them; they probably looked at Venom and said, "Right, we are going to be faster, more dirtier and more evil," etc etc, and then all these sub-genres began...death, thrash and all these started coming out which I feel now, as an older musician if you like, seem to fragment the whole scene, you are into death metal , you're into that metal....so Tony and I, without trying to sound pretentious, we said ok with M-PIRE isn't time to bring it all back together again? So let's have a band that can do whatever the fuck we want, we are not going to be stuck in a box, it's metal that's it!

ThrashHead: I had to have picked up on that cause I mentioned that specifically, there is no genre for M-PIRE, the World Meteorological Organization, in charge of naming hurricanes, should give a name to a genre which can describe these guys and retire the name; the whole genre thing really sucks because you have a thousand genres for a thousand bands and we used to simply enjoy just heavy metal. And now M-PIRE , the whole album is absolutely incredible metal, that's it, and I congratulate you guys on being able to put something like that out, like I said in the review, it's desperately needed.
Touching on M-PIRE news, you guys are about to embark on a North American tour aren't you?

Jeff: Yes, we start off on Seattle on the 19th of March...

ThrashHead: And how many cities are you going to hit? You're cruising along with Nige and Onslaught right?

Jeff: That's right, it's something like 21 shows, no days off, basically a new city each night, we will be getting to a lot of the U.S. and into Canada as well...

ThrashHead: Are you excited about getting on the raod again?

Jeff: Oh god yeah, I mean it's going to be a hard slog, I know it is, but I think that's what we signed up for, that's what it's all about, it's about getting out and...I mean god, how many bands can say their first tour is 21 shows in the states? It's a great opportunity so we are going to grab it with both hands and shake the living shit out of it basically!

(Both laugh)

ThrashHead: Well, ThrashHead is definitely going to be catching one of the shows... I wish I could be there, I am stuck down in cartel country and I never get to see shows unless they show up in Mexico City and even then, I get a little skittish to go to them, roads at night and all, that's probably going to be one of the most exciting shows of the year, you two bands are going to tear up the United States.

The Following questions are ones which I ask, just to help folks gaze deeper into a musician's persona...first: away from Music, what makes you the most happy in life?

Jeff: What makes me most happy? She's sitting right across the room from me now. (Laughs lovingly), my girlfriend...I actually live way out in the countryside on a farm, and I am looking out the window now, it's absolutely pitch black, stars in the sky and it doesn't get much better than that...peace, quite...I guess I am a person of two extremes if you like...a lot of people who meet me don't believe I'm the same person that I am on stage, even my girlfriend sees videos of me and says "that's a different person altogether". (laughs) I think that's good, because it's a side of me that has to be released at some point, it's been released through music, through martial arts, been into martial arts since I was ten, and I remember, here's a funny story for you, where was it, the Espace Ballard in Paris in the Seven Dates of Hell tour and Metallica had just been on as support act, and I walked in,a ll my stage gear on, I had a little Nintendo game, so I walk up to the stage playing this little Nintendo game and I put it on pause as the intro tape was going, handed the game over to my roadie, he gave me my guitar, went on stage, went crazy for an hour and a half, walked off stage, handed the roadie my guitar, he handed me my game back, I unpaused the game and continue to play it as I walked off to the dressing room, the promoter of the show told the manager at the time "this guy is schizophrenic!"

(both laugh)

How can somebody be so calm and then go onstage and do that then come off like that...I suppose it's like being an actor in a way, you get on stage you get a release, what I really like is the energy you get from the audience, that makes me really, really happy. People who know me in my personal life, they see the DVDs and such and ask "What's it like?" and honestly, there is no feeling, like in the big shows like Athens and the like, or Hammersmith in the old days, when those house lights come on, the rush is unbelievable you feel invincible, you can take on the world...I have to say if they ever invent a machine which you could step into to experience you have to do it, it's an amazing feeling to go out there and have people in front of you who appreciate what you do.

That's a thing I always, always, always say in interview, I always get around to saying this every time, to anyone who is reading this, the fans, the people who pay their hard earned money to buy a ticket, a cd, to buy a download, to get a t-shirt, the fans are the most important part of the music industry...they are the life blood, they are the engine of the industry, without those guys out there in the front, without those guys listening to the music, appreciating the music and follow what the band does; bands need to understand this one point, that without the fans you wouldn't fucking exist my friend.

The fans are the most important, we are the most important people on stage, but we are privileged to be on stage to play, that's why I don't understand any of these artists who act like prima donnas, who need fuckin' rose petals in their dressing room and all this kind of shit...it's like "no!" you're already in a privileged position, you don't need all that crap, get out there and do their fucking job...those people are paying money to see you, those people worship you, they follow you...

I was lucky enough, I was in L.A. a few weeks ago, I got to meet Rob Halford, obviously a major thing for me, I was actually fucking shaking when I met the guy, I had met him one occasion before, but spoke to him only briefly, but this time had a great chat with him, the guy is amazing, lovely guy, he took the time, told him who I was...I dunno if I got him on a good day there might be days were he's pissed off and may be not too family. Just to reiterate that point; without the fans, this whole fucking machine would just grind to a halt; if everyone decided they had enough, they weren't going to buy albums or tickets anymore you just watch the bands disappear one by one because we need that, that's the engine, that's what makes us tick, we need that.

ThrashHead: That's really awesome , there will be so many people stoked to hear those words...and you are absolutely right, there are a lot of prima donnas out there who just don't respect the people who have made them famous, who've supported them throughout their careers. I think those words have really made it clear to folks what kind of musician Jeff Dunn is and what they can expect from M-PIRE OF EVIL; a band that not only writes music for those who love heavy metal, but also deeply appreciates their fans. All the more reason to be psyched to see you guys out on the road!

Punk, Metal, Hardcore vinyl records and Distribution from PATAC Records
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