Reunions are a big trend in rock and metal right now, and although they wrote “Stand Up (And Be Counted),” you shouldn’t count on Venom’s classic members Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon getting back together as two of them have reignited a longstanding feud, trading fresh disses in the press.
It’s quite an old school windup we’ve got here — no Twitter beef or snarky Instagram comments or call-out posts on Facebook, just answering interviews questions the way feuds used to play out back in the day.
Earlier in December, in an interview with Metal Hammer, Cronos said the chances of a reunion of the classic power trio were “less than zero.”
“I owe them nothing, and they’ve got nothing I want,” he added, recalling what he argued was a poorly received reunion in the mid-1990s. “The last thing I want to do is get onstage with those other two doddery old fuckers and put on a subpar performance,” Cronos continued, citing better album sales with the current lineup while taking a shot at Venom Inc., his former bandmate’s rival group.
“I just want Venom to be great,” the frontman concluded.
Currently, Cronos (bass and vocals, real name Conrad Lant) has ownership over the Venom name with Rage (guitar, real name John Stuart Dixon) and Dante (drums, real name Daniel Jon Needham) flanking him in the lineup since 2007 and 2009, respectively.
Meanwhile, classic Venom members Mantas (guitar, real name Jeff Dunn) and Abaddon (drums, real name Antony Bray) formed Venom Inc. in 2015 with Demolition Man (bass and vocals, real name Tony Dolan). Demolition Man replaced Cronos in Venom from 1989 through 1992 and contributed to three albums — Prime Evil, Temples of Ice and The Waste Lands.
Regarding Venom Inc., who just released their second album There’s Only Black, Abaddon departed the lineup in 2018 and has since been replaced by War Machine (real name Jeramie Kling, also of The Absence, Inhuman Condition and more). In October earlier this year, a GoFundMe was launched to aid Abaddon with cancer treatment and other expenses — donate here.
Now, Mantas tells Heavy Culture his side of this story and flips the script on Cronos, branding his Venom band as the one responsible for delivering “subpar performances.”
“Venom Inc. are the people who have been asked to do the anniversary shows. And we’ve done it. Because you know why? Because this fucking shit show of three originals can’t get their fucking act together to get together on a stage and give the fans that. And [Cronos is] turning around now and saying, ‘Oh, I’m not getting on stage with those doddery old fuckers to give a subpar performance.’ I’ll tell you what: watch the videos of your own band if you wanna see a subpar performance. This pisses me off to the hilt,” Mantas fires back in the video seen further down the page (transcription via Metal Injection).
He goes on to say that he has tried to organize a live event where every former member of Venom can participate in some way. “Mikey Hickey, Jim Clare, fucking Abaddon, Cronos, Mantas, Tony Dolan, Al Barnes, fucking Dante, Stu — whatever his fucking name is — they should all be on one stage together playing their era of Venom, and at the end of the night, the original lineup plays some of the classic songs just for the fans.”
“I put that out. Who contacted me? Fucking nobody. Because none of them have got the balls to do it. And that’s the fucking truth,” he contends.
Mantas refutes some of Cronos’ other assertions, such as who called the Dynamo Festival promoter to book Venom in 1996 (Cronos says it was himself, Mantas says it was manager Eric Cook and Abaddon). “It wasn’t fucking Cronos who put that reunion period together,” the guitarist insists.
The way he remembers it, Cronos initially turned up at a band meeting about a reunion just to tell everyone he didn’t want to do it, only to later be coerced by Abaddon who told Cronos to “fuck off.” Later that night, the bassist/vocalist changed his mind, says Mantas.
It looks like fans will have to continue to see Venom and Venom Inc. if they want to see Cronos and/or Mantas play those classic songs live.