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Tony Dolan (Mpire of Evil)

Interview with Tony Dolan from Mpire of Evil
by Lior Stein at 11 February 2012, 7:19 PM

What happens when three ex-VENOM members meet? Well, it is unknown but in this case they formed MPIRE OF EVIL, a new Heavy / Thrash Metal band with evil intentions. After the band’s EP, via Scarlet Records, “Creatures Of The Black”, was released, they announced on a new album. Its title is “Hell To The Holy”, that is due by March. Steinmetal had a chance to talk with Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan, vocals and bass, regarding the formation of the band, the new album, his perception of the band in comparison to VENOM and more…

Hello Tony, how have you been? Thanks for taking the time for this interview for the Metal-Temple magazine.

Very welcome and thank you for having me…Been good thanks…busy but all good..Recently went to L.A. to the NAMM conference which was fucking crazy but amazing too…saw old friends, met new friends…and everyone was there..Great players…ones we knew but never met, ones we knew well and ones I had never heard before but all in all amazing talent and inspirational…plus..you can’t go far wrong being in California now can you? lol

MPIRE OF EVIL is the new name for your band, along with Jeff "Mantas" Dunn, after renaming it from PRIMEVIL, and as the news tell me, a debut album will be out soon. Can you please provide some details about it for the readers?

Yes…when it was first suggested we get back together..we had some idea for names but couldn’t decide so asked the fans of ours..what they thought..they suggested “Prime Evil”as this was the VENOMalbum they loved so much and said it was obvious…I was opposed to it as there was a couple of bands that had that name, one of which I had liked..but everyone convinced me there was no one using that name in any active kind of way so eventually I conceded but then one of those bands got upset with me and began attacking me for disrespecting them…the LAST thing I wanted to do, so after much discussion and as we were about to sign a new recording deal…I thought not to sign as “Prime Evil”but as these discussions were happening the NYC band “Prime Evil”had a lawyer send a letter requesting us to cease the use of the name as they were reactivated…so I changed the name..and we all agreed it was the best thing for us and now that band are enjoying a resurgent career and we are moving fwd so all is for the better I think. We have the new album being released on March 26th 2012 titled ”Hell To The Holy”and consists of 10 tracks..

HELLSPAWN
METAL MESSIAH
WAKING UP DEAD
HELL TO THE HOLY
SNAKE PIT
ALL HAIL
DEVIL
SHOCKWAVE
THE 8TH GATE
M-PIRE (Prelude)

It’s a little old school but with a modern edge I think..Mantashimself produced and the artwork cover was done by the fucking amazing..Gyula Havancsak, famous for his DESTRUCTIONcovers as well as ANNIHILATOR, GRAVE DIGGERand IRON MAIDENamongst others..and we love what he did..I was told I might not get him as he was in demand so I emailed and he was fucking cool and was totally into it..I can’t thank him enough and he has created our very own Eddieor Mad Butchertype character, just that ours…is the fucking Pope…ahahahahaha. I hope people dig it…? Because we did not want to be put in a box like everyone does we moved all over on this album so we could have our very own category..after all…..we are building and M-PIREhere! Hellspawn our army..dressed in Black..ALL HAIL!

Recently, you released through Scarlet Records an EP named "Creatures Of The Black" that introduced cover of your Metal passions and two original new songs. In comparison to what you did in the past with VENOM, do you think that MPIRE OF EVIL offers something that is far more unique?

Yes “Creatures of The Black”..we wanted to get out and play in 2011 so wanted something out there. We thought we do something fast so we composed 2 new tracks…the title track..and “Reptile”…and then thought, why not do 4 songs from bands that made us what we are…made us want to play..so we chose songs that affected us when we were starting out. We chose JUDAS PRIEST, MOTORHEAD, AC/DCand KISS. We kept the versions as close to the originals as we could, bearing in mind I’m no Rob Halfordfor example…unless an operation was a choice…lol but did add a few hints as to where some ideas for later songs were born. I think we are proud of that record because..we got to be our fave bands for a moment in our own way of course..We didn’t get out playing as it only went out in October 2011 so the original idea didn’t work lol but…it meant we could introduce something new from us so was all good.

Do we offer something far more unique than what we did as VENOM? I think so, we work outside that particular box I think. We wanted to…VENOMis VENOMand very much alive with Cronos. The world doesn’t need another VENOMbut an M-PIREagain, maybe, this time a musical one and something to join everyone under one roof like the old days?…We will do what we do the way we want to this time, you must or you aren’t honest about your music and integrity is lost. Doing it for the money? Bad..you won’t fool anyone but especially your fans. That maybe unique these days in some ways..lol

While I listened to the EP, I couldn't help but notice how the sound production was so similar to VENOM's, especially your period of time with them throughout the mid 80s to early 90s, was that old, classic dirty sound your aim in the first place?

A; Oh…hahaha…well…maybe that simply because…it is myself and Mantasperforming..but only with a drummer of the caliber of Antton, who is pretty fucking good…lol and Mantasproduced it! So was there intent? No..it is what it is..simply because we are what we are..we have not forced or planned anything for this. Just wrote songs we liked, recorded the way we liked and produced so it sounded good to us, the way we liked it to sound and that’s that really. 80s and 90s old classic dirty sound? That’s probably coz we are old and dirty!! Ahahaha..

Weren't both of you guys afraid that MPIRE OF EVIL might be considered by fans, especially VENOM's fans, as a sort of a shadow of a giant?

No. Why? The best thing I thought was that VENOMwas out playing and recording and enjoying success at doing that. If they had not been, then it would be different for us. VENOMfans are the loyalist, I should know… I am one..lol but I have never hidden that, I wouldn’t have done what I did with the band if I wasn’t. I think fans and VENOMfans especially know who they are and who we are and will see the separation clearly and at the end of the day the more of us there is the richer the wealth of music. This is not a them and us thing, we don’t care about that kind of shit, they do what they do so what..we do what we do too..lol. This is about good music and the fans..all of them. The more better music they have from us and others the better I think!

Since the resemblance between the bands, won't that criticism bother you guys in any way?

Well of course there will be that, I don’t think we could escape that! Bother us? Not so much, we aren’t interested in comparisons, this is NOT that band, and we don’t need or want to be that band, this is M-PIREand we are quite happy being that..:-)
If there is a resemblance then that can’t be helped, we like the 3 piece idea, ATOMKRAFTwas a 3 piece originally also, the sound and approach, just how it is. So if people see a resemblance then they do fair enough, but they are not trying to be us and we are definitely not trying to be them. It’s like, for us, that was then, this is now.

Let's go backwards to the foundation of MPIRE OF EVIL. How did the idea come up?

Mantaswas doing his DRYLLproject, his drummer broke his ankle and Anttonstepped in then stayed. They were doing a local show and played Black Metal as an encore, as the 2 of them hadn’t played together for years and years they though that would be fun. It was but got them thinking, then Anttonhad an idea to get me involved in some way, Mantasagreed it could work and other people began to suggest it too..so I got a phone call and that was that. Mantasexplained what he and Anttonwere thinking and I simply said yes. That’s it in a nutshell, as they say, an M-PIREwas born..lol

Let's talk about you for a bit. Are you currently involved in other musical projects? If so can you tell about them?

Well…I do all sorts yes from time to time. I get asked to guest and try to do as much as time allows. Young bands or more experienced musicians, different styles..it’s all cool and if I like it I do it, like I said, if time allows. After all, I consider myself a musician first. Currently, I have done a guest spot on the new EVERSINalbum just being finished (an Italian Thrash act), their bassist  which was great fun and they have made a very cool album..dunno when that is out. Then there is JOE MATERA(guitarist) who is an old mate…he has done a mini album of instrumental stuff and he asked me to play bass for the project, which was very different and great fun, that is now out there and is titled, “Slave to the Fingers”, I was to appear and the band SATANIKA’s album currently being recorded but had no space..to do that, there is 2 other projects I am guesting on as well if time permits but the M-PIREcomes first and we have a tour etc upcoming so..I’m not sure I can fit any more in. Then of course there is the ATOMKRAFTalbum to be done. W.A.R. productions released the EP “Cold Sweat”last year (which actually features Materadoing a solo on the title track a cover of the THIN LIZZYClassic) and also has on it Par Hulkoffof RAUBTIERon it. I am currently writing the new ATOMKRAFTalbum titled “The Dark Angel”, with Kraen Meierof SACRIFICIALand Jimmy Durkin, DARK ANGELand will feature Paul Caffreyof GAMMA BOMBand should be finished in 2012. Shows will happen but only if gaps in the M-PIREschedule happen long enough. There’s other bits and pieces but got to see how everything goes first..

How do you perceive Metal music today? Do you still think that old school Metal music made in modern hands is the right future for the genre?

Well you know..I still don’t distinguish myself between old and new. To me it’s all Metal and I like that. I hate people need to put everything in a box..why? There was so much strength before and I have heard lots of statements in the past about Metal dying etc….no it hasn’t…there are just too many subgenre’s that people separate the whole thing out for no real reason I can truly see. Of course the internet has widened everything..bands don’t need labels to display their music anymore which is ok but labels are still important to acts. The way everything works has changed but that’s progression, things do change. If their was an old school category, then AC/DC, MOTORHEAD, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA, SLAYERare all there and MACHINE HEAD, DOWNetc,etc…are in the new. Then there’s the Black, Thrash, Doom, blah blah blah too…yes I get it but….to me? It’s ALL Metal….and the variant is fantastic….I have everything from GARY MOOREto BURZUMin my collection, SABBATHto HELLHAMMERincluding the likes of, SLIPKNOT, MACHINE HEAD, SLAYER, DESTRUCTION, KREATOR,  SODOM, EXODUSBLACK LABEL SOCIETY,  MAYHEM, LAMB OF GOD…and countless South American and world bands…the variants are fantastic…yes there should be and are many styles…cool but in the end it is ONE brother/sisterhood…we are the M-PIRE..let’s get back to being one. This doesn’t mean you need to like a bands style or share you favorite style with a style you don’t have taste for but if we are united again like we once were then the world is ours again! Is Metal (modern) safe in the next generations hands…Hell Yeah… but everyone needs to bring it together and not keep separating it, old, new, whatever…it is all Metal…Underground used to mean bands who made tapes and those tape were traded,  now it means unsigned generally. BUT the difference between then and now?…distribution! Before the ‘WORLD’ couldn’t hear you without a big label’s major distribution, now the world can because the internet is there for everyone to distribute themselves, you only need to be determined enough to keep at it, promoting yourself on the net and eventually…everyone and anyone get’s to hear you. Is it too much? Well not everyone will like everything out there but at least they can hear you now, read about you and make that decision, how can more music be too much? Before, someone else made the decision for you to be heard by anyone outside you little domain, they didn’t have the right to make that decision for any listener and now? They can’t anymore!

Besides the album on the horizon, what is coming next for MPIRE OF EVIL?

A; We have a tour with ONSLAUGHTstarting on March 19th in Seattle USA and then follow 3 weeks of US and Canadian dates..ending in Washington DC on 8th April. We play the following dates..

M 3/19Seattle WAStudio 7
T 3/20Portland ORHawthorne Theatre
W 3/21Oakland CAThe Pound
Th 3/22Los Angeles CAEcoplex
F 3/23San Diego CAJumping Turtle
S 3/24Tempe AZ910 Live
Su 3/25El paso TXHouse of Rock
M 3/26San Antonio TXThe Korova
T 3/27Laredo TXOld nº2
W 3/28Dallas TXTBA
Th 3/29St. Louis MOFubar
F 3/30Chicago ILReggies
S 3/31Dayton OHHouse of Rock
Su 4/1Detroit MIBlondies
M 4/2Cleveland OHPeadbody's
T 4/3Toronto CANWreck Room
W 4/4Montreal CANThe Katacombs
Th 4/5Quebec CANL'Agitée
F 4/6Rochester NYMontage Music Hall
S 4/7Brooklin NYSaint Vitus Bar

Then we fly back to Europe and have Sweden’s MuscleRock Festivalwhere we headline with HELLand the RockHard Festivalin Italy and more shows awaiting confirmation. Lots of dates but right now I haven’t the correct details..but you will see us in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and beyond. We then we will work on the new release after summer and that will feature an amazing guest we are hoping right now..:-) and then the next album at the end of 2012.

Do you have any last words for the Metal-Temple readers?

A; Only to thank them for reading this and I hope they come see us when we visit..buy the new release “Hell To The Holy”on march 26th and that they like what we are about. Music equals fans and that’s it! Without you, no-one is anything and even when some musicians seem to forget that, most of us never do and appreciate it.

Tony I would like to thank you for taking this interview. The form of MPIRE OF EVIL brought back the evil old school sense of NWOBHM and bits of Thrash back into recognition. I wish you the best of luck!

Thank you too man for you kind words. I hope this, in some small way, helps bring it all together. It’s a new world but let’s shake the fucking foundations again, you are important and have that voice, look at Egypt, Syria, Libya etc… Metal is our way..they can ,once again , try to ignore us all but they can never escape us ALL -  HAIL!



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