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Tony Dolan (MPire Of Evil)

Interview with Tony Dolan from M:Pire Of Evil)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 02 July 2013, 1:38 AM

MIRE OF EVIL, already a name to be reckoned with, led by two ex-VENOM players, Tony Dolan and Jeff Dunn (One of VENOM’s founders). Lately the band released is second album, “Crucified”, via Scarlet Records. Bearing with three originals, the band re-recorded classic tracks from three VENOM albums back when the two were in the band. Steinmetal had a chance to talk with Tony, also known as The Demolition Man, about the album, old memories and future expectations. 

Greetings Tony, thank you for your time on taking this interview on behalf of your band Mpire Of Evil. How have you been?

Hey Lior….thank you for having me and the band joining you and the readers of Metal Temple..Of Ice!! ;-) I’m good thanks and we have been doing great!

Before we head on, congrats on the release of “Crucified”, I was pleased to listen to some of the old Venom classic where both you and Mantas took major part in.

Ah thanks as million brother… It was such great fun to do. Some people got why we did it and some did not but, well we do what we feel and not what seems to be A: Expected or B: required to fit the norm…lol..Just how we see it and feel it.. Fans wanted it and so we delivered for them and had a great time doing it.

Let’s go back a bit to 2010, when Jeff Dunn aka Mantas and you, Demolition Man, formed Mpire Of Evil, after letting go of the Prime Evil name. What was your initial vision back then when starting the band? Was it to recreate the days of you both in Venom or something else entirely?

Well we didn’t actually think about anything as far as conforming or trying to be relevant to a now metal scene…we simply decided we would be a Metal band…as classic as we could, the kind of bands we used to love and seem sorely missing these days. We couldn’t help being ‘old school’ lol..I guess…we are what we are. I wasn’t prepared to fake anything and we weren’t about to ignore our heritage so we kind of tipped the hat to our influences on The Creatures Of The Black release to let everyone know where we were heading.. Changing the name was controversial as people think it’s shit…ahahahaha….they expected Venom and we are not, they see us live and think (beforehand) we’ll be laid back and old guys but we aren’t…In fact at every step, we seem to be the opposite of what is expected. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but that’s just how we are, where we are, how we are and we’re glad we are…

Though Dunn has been collaborating with you for some time now, ever since Dunn’s band Mantas, as he was also the main riff machine behind Venom’s classic era, do you think that there are major difference between Venom and Mpire Of Evil?

Major? Well depends…between classic, Mantas, Abaddon, Cronos Venom, of course but then again, there was when I did Prime Evil with them as Venom and the albums that followed. For good or bad that was progressive Venom. I had fun initially but once I and Mantas had worn ourselves out we agreed it was time to end that part of the history. I think that it is inescapable for Mantas to NOT be Mantas and so his style will just be present…although these days he is a million miles away technically from those early days, however he still has a classic ear for a classic riff…he’s a riff machine for sure!

Only a year after your debut album, “Hell To The Holy”, which personally brought me back memories of your Venom hungry days, and after constant touring, you guys released “Crucified”. Not exactly what one would call a sophomore album, as most if it were re-recordings alongside a few new publications, but it is still a new effort. What do you make of it?

That’s true and there will be another, probably unexpected, release before September if we get it finished before the new all new album, “Unleashed”, set for March 2014..We like playing live, love writing and recording and to be honest, what else should a band be doing? Lol. We just wanna be productive and have lots to get out I guess. I love CRUCIFIED.. the idea came because people (fans) were trying to get us to re-release old material but it is owned not by us but Universal as they acquired the master from Sanctuary, who bought everything NEAT records had. Universal refuse to re-release so fans are either left without hearing the tracks we did mostly or looking at stupid prices for out of print copies by eBay sellers. I asked what songs would they like us to do, live or even recorded and the we got lists and lists of fav’s. So we sat down and cross referenced the lists, then selected tracks ourselves which we felt hadn’t quite hit the mark for one reason or another and ended up with a list twice the size of CRUCIFIED but decided on 9 for this release. It does two things, freeze up the songs and makes them available at a regular price but even more, it makes songs available to a wider audience that never even heard them in the first place…Already proving my point are some reviews and a few interviews I have already done, where the writers have talked about the ‘3’, ‘4’ older Venom songs we re-did on CRUCIFIED…hahaha..there are 9…so even to people who know their stuff, these are mostly new. We had some in our live set fro  the start and I recall, those who disliked the Venom after Cronos we hardened fans but all seemed to have the same reaction or wish, that, while they liked Prime Evil, they wanted us to have been called something else. Well now we are…and the songs will all join us as MPIRE…We are very happy with he result and this album and hope the fans dig it for what it truly is, a new MPIRE of EVIL album.

Not one of those, Ooh I know, lets give some old songs the 2013 treatment…nothing was further from our mind…when we began, just make these songs belong to MPIRE of EVIL, like all our songs.

Within “Crucified” there are tracks from all the three albums you participated with Venom, “Prime Evil”, “The Waste Lands” and “Temples Of Ice”. I wonder, which one is your favorite of the three?

Well, I like Prime Evil but a couple of tracks I don’t…but like the production by Nick Tauber, I think we got as close to Nailing it as possible then Temples? Love the idea, cover is shit, and production bad. Some good material wasted, I thought. The Waste Lands. Same again, better production than Temples but didn’t match Prime Evil and by that point we were closing shop so some good material again lost, no promotion and lackluster reviews but to be fair, we felt kind of uninspired also all for different reasons and I think were just going though the motions. Lack of true heart on that album. So I guess of those three, the one that had true intent and meant something real was Prime Evil so, that’s my fav.

Do you think that now with MPIRE of EVIL, these old songs share a different atmosphere than under the Venom emblem?

Absolutely, %200 better, more rabid, more real and more relevant to MPIRE of EVIL

What about those early days, any fond memories worth mentioning? I am sure that you have recollections about old times.

Hahaha Lots, some good, some bad but hey past is exactly that. No one can change history. They can whine about it, bleat about it even try to convince others it didn’t happen but history is history and that’s that. During Prime Evil, it was great, fun and all seemed well, through Tear your Soul Apart and Live ’90…we were on it, hitting all the right buttons. Then, things started to go sideways, the ‘Venom curse’ they call it…lol..bad business, fast cash, unscrupulous behavior and pretty soon the taste turn sour. I was there to play, deliver, enjoy and it was not fun in the latter days and not completely honest so I called it in and moved to London to get on with life. I left because I had better things to do at that point and wasn’t prepared to waste time and duping fans for someone to gain at their expense or mine.

Going back to “Crucified”, among the tracklist, you presented three new tracks. The final clincher is called “Taking It All”, which reminded me of a raw Motorhead meets Venom loaded with old British Punk. I thought it was a hell of an Anti-type oriented creation of a battle against the known social norms. What inspired you to write this one? Early tribute to the British Punk days or there is something more to it?

There you go…lol..Cheers Lior but, Demone and Taking It All are new the rest, all, are older songs we did way back, just never like this. There are only 2 new trax not 3..

As far as Taking It All goes? Well I was raised a Punk, my pre- ATOMKRAFT band was a punk outfit, so I guess it’s inside me…Mantas has the tune done and I let it write it’self…I had no preconception lyrically..I kind of never do..I let the music scream what it wants to say, with this track, I felt it wanted to just say what we all want to say to those fucks in our life but sometimes are unable to for whatever reason. It is an Anti song…and in this current world climate, where the rich seem ok and everyone else is getting fucked, where banks who caused this current economic disaster get money from regular people to keep afloat then give themselves huge bonuses, while we all suffer. Where everyone from  teachers, politicians, family members, bosses, ex-band members, ex-partners, causal acquaintances, seem to be able to tell you their opinion on you, tell you what you should be , doing, saying, thinking, not doing, etc,etc…FUCK YOU!!! Do what YOU want, think, feel, YOU do what YOU wanna do and not what some other fuck tells you, they think/want you to do!

While “Hell To The Holy” and the new tunes are being supported, what is expected to be the next MPIRE of EVIL release?

The all new album UNLEASHED is due March 2014 but before we go back to North America in September we will release the video for Taking It All, featuring video from show and fan recorded material…then something special and very much LIVE!

Judging by the new songs presented on “Crucified”, are we expecting a diverse kind of release in comparison of “Hell To The Holy”?

Well we are MPIRE of EVIL so unpredictable of course, we don’t want people to think they know what is coming…more exciting that way, lol..BUT I will say, UNLEASHED is already looking like it is the best work we, together but also as independents or with our respective alternate bands have ever done.

Is there a single out of the upcoming new release sometime soon?

October/November there will be the new single heading towards…UNLEASHED…

Tony I wish to thank you for this interview. I can’t wait for a new MPIRE of EVIL album, I hope that it will blast through the lungs of hell. Any last words for the readers?

Thanks man for the opportunity to speak and let everyone into why CRUCIFIED is the release it is. The new one will indeed, shake the foundations I promise!! Thank the readers for the support and for new readers come taste the MPIRE of EVIL, You May like what You find. And if not, no harm done…but always remember…what You think is important, what someone else thinks about You is not…each to their own and if You dig us? Thanks, if You don’t, just walk away, and if You really can’t do that without setting the world alight with Your opinion then….. FUCK  YOU! See You on the Dance floor! Out there somewhere, sometime!!



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Edited 16 September 2019
 

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