Interview with Dick Venom of Dick Venom & The Terrortones

If you thought UK psychobilly was on the decline or started and ended with The Meteors and Demented Are Go then you would be very wrong for now we have a new pretender to the throne of  P. Paul Fenech and Sparky in the dark princely shape of Dick Venom. Leading an equally mischievous band of hell’s rejects in The Terrortones they are a fresh, sexy and insatiable addition to the garage/rockabilly/psychobilly freakshows of the UK. We have the pleasure to enter the lair of Mr Venom to find out much more about the unsavoury quartet.

Hello and a big welcome to The RingMaster Review.

Could we start with finding out the history of the man Dick Venom?

Awwww, me? Well I was born in the swamps of the moon’s lagoons and hitched a comet tail to earth. Guess I landed on my ass because my behind which stung like a beehive had been hangin out the back of it for about a month. I dusted myself down, sprayed off a load of space debris and here I am.

When and where did the Terrortones become involved?

They just kinda came outta nowhere. I’d been riding high on jungle janes and ‘gator tails for a while when all of a sudden they hit me. Hell only knows what they were doing in my neck of the woods but damn they sounded good. SugarBeats was pounding on something like a thundercrack jackhammer, Vicky Twist and Wrex St.Clair just seemed to jump out at me with guns and guitars blazin’, they caught me unawares and all the hairs on my unmentionables seemed to jump up to attention.

Your music throws a mix of rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, psychobilly, and garage punk into a swamp of dirty mischief, what are the strongest influences to your sound musically and personally?

Musically? Anything that’s got a lil bit of something raw and a little bit of life to it, stick a little of the Devil there too and you got yourself a mix – from Raw Power era Stooges to N.Y Dolls to Batmobile to Standells  hell… let’s throw some Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson in there for good measure too.

Personally? A lil carpet burn and heat rash and some rubber marks and whiplash and I reckons I just might be entertained

Nottingham is your home, how do you find it for you as an artist and band for opportunities and for finding fans for your insatiable wickedness?

Y’know it’s pretty good. It’s where we started playing and started getting support. And there are always plenty of people to satisfy my appetites. Though I might have to leave when the spate of quiffed up moonchild newborns all come tumblin’ out. Oops.

The band line-up has an uncanny look and feel of The Cramps, intentional or sheer fortune?

Now that can’t ever be a bad thing cannit? I mighta got some fashion tips from a few folk that I like and the Cramps might have been one of them but as for the rest of the ‘Tones – they’re the ones who make the music and they aint never come across the Cramps before getting told they play like them.

You have just had a launch show for new release RockinRollin VampireMan, was it as much of a riot and flesh fest as certain pictures portray?

Awww. Yes. Yes it was. It was every kinda fuckphonic filth that you mighta guessed it would be. Having four sets of jigglies spelling ‘We heart Dick!’ is something I won’t forget. Some people wanna see their name in lights? Seein’ mine on ladylumps will satisfy me fine.

The three track release is a dark beast of gratuitous pleasure, are the songs ones that have riled up audiences at live shows for a while or brand new for the single?

Hmmmm, a lil mix of both. ‘RockinRollin’ VampireMan’ is a pretty old one. ‘StickyPants Trance’, that just had to go on, hell when we first played that song some folk got so wet you coulda drowned toddlers in their pantyhose. ‘Lilly & the Killers’, well that was just a nice lil closer. None were written specifically for it but we try to record just as often as we can so there’s never much delay.

Though your songs often have a horror/movie fuelled theme one gets the sense from the passion you deliver them even in your own inimitable way that there are personal inspirations at play too?

Well I do like to bite.

RockinRollin VampireMan is an infectious almost anthem track, maybe a personal declaration too?

Well with that being the very first song on the very first single then I reckoned I better had set myself up. Aint nutin like an honest introduction.

The tracks sound actually reminds of the first split release the Meteors were involved with but also in a way of very early The Fall. Are these bands that you have a liking for?

Now the Fall I like – but… Really? The Fall? I might have to dig the old stuff out and compare.

(Note from us to Dick..check out How I Wrote Elastic Man).

Included on the single is the track Sticky Pants Trance. We have all had some of that in our lives but what inspired the song itself?

Once I got stuck in a crater of a hiphole and then I got thinkin’ how I got there. Now it can’t all be my fault that chicklets get transfixed in my stickypants trance can it? Guess it’s a curse I have to bare.

The CD comes with a great comic book sleeve, the artwork is excellent, who drew and wrote that?

You can find here in the video for StickyPants Trance, she’s the nurse that gets carted away at the end. She’s called Nurse Catatonic.

Once the dust for the single has settled what comes next and how long before the next release?

Gigs, leather, latex, shows, caber tossing, goat blowing, olive oil, friction burns, corsets, tattoos, tattoos of corsets, pictures of tattoos of corsets, burlesque queens and the odd dream of Dana Scully. Got a bunji clunge jump all lined up too – that’s a bunji jump and target practice all rolled up in one. Next release? Shall we say end of the year? Thinkin’ it might be a new song we’ve written that we so sensitively called ‘Get Fucked Up Good’. It’s a sweet little ditty ‘bout the pitfalls of lovin.

Many bands now seem to be disregarding releasing an album to instead bring a steadier stream of singles or EPs, is that something you may consider?

I think that might be the case. Every time we get a set of dynamite songs we’re gonna get them down and get ‘em out to the masses. If there’s demand for an album then hells yes we’ll do one. Plus this way our comic strip will get longer with every release.

With your diverse sound which fights being tagged how easy is it to find bills and bands to fit easy with your distinct show?

It’s working pretty well, ‘cus we got bits of rockabilly, bits of punk, bits of garage, psychobilly, gothabilly we get tied into a load of different scenes. I reckon people don’t just wanna see one thing at a gig so having a mix up does us some favours.

Is it harder to find gigs further afield than Nottingham with venues that do not know the band or is it the opposite and places you have spoilt that are then more resistant haha?

Can’t say we ever had much problem getting out and about – the more places and people we sweat on the better. I’m a sociable lil critter so I like t’ hound promoters and venues wherever I can. I’d say we play a different city every two weeks at the moment and I reckon I wanna do more. And I aint never trashed a stage or venue too bad to not get an invite to go back.

I can imagine many bands would stay away from sharing stages with you for fear of being blown away from your performances.

Well maybe, guess folks in the audience can only get so wet.

What have been the best gigs you have had to date and most memorable?

The single launch was something unforgettable and every time we play at 12Bar in Soho it’s like the best sticky hotbox homecoming you could ever imagine. Got a nice big break at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham about a year back too.

And the best forgotten?

Already forgotten.

It is hard to believe your gigs are just another show for people, you make sure one way or another they are unforgettable one imagines?

Well now that’s just me all over– unforgettable. And without any show then you may as well be sat at home with a record in your ears. You want something to get caught up in right?

Are there any boundaries or limits that have not been or you will not push in your shows?

Hmmmmmm… I mighta knocked my tooth out  twice on a mike, split my lip so bad that I went to a vets right after the gig (I didn’t wanna wait all night at A&E). Think I broke a rib somehow too but I’d never do nuthin to hurt myself on purpose.

Thanks very much for sharing your time to talk with us, do you have any last thoughts you would like to share?

Yeah – I’m all outta whisky and my mouth is bone dry. But you probably had enough of me an mine – why don’t ya get down to a gig and share yours? Maybe check out our video too… www.dickvenom.com.

Finally Gillian Anderson?  I know you would and will you share?

Will I share Gillian Anderson?! Oh Heeeeeeellllllllllllls No! That ET bustin buxom she queen is aaaall mine. Hands off ya hear me?

The RockinRollin’ VampireMan is available now, for more information go to https://www.facebook.com/DickVenomandtheTerrortones or http://www.dickvenom.com/

Read the review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/dick-venom-the-terrortones-rockin-rollin-vampire-man/

RingMaster 07/03/2012

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Demented Are Go: Welcome Back To Insanity Hall

Be afraid; be very afraid for the asylum borne mayhem that is Demented Are Go is back. Their long awaited and permanently desired return comes in the size of the malevolent new album Welcome Back To Insanity Hall. They have not just re-emerged to stalk nightmares once more but burst in on us again with an intensity and dark villainy that sees them back to their very evil best.

When psychobilly was at its height in the eighties with the likes of Meteors, Guana Batz, and King Kurt leaving wreckage wherever they stomped with their infectious sounds, Demented Are Go was the one band that stood out and fired up these senses more than most. From the moment their debut album In Sickness And In Health put its nasty twisted fingers around the heart with slices of evil in the shape of tracks like Pervy In The Park and Rubber Love, devotion was inevitable so that even the mention of their name was inspiration for a deep malignant glow within.

Sparky

The years and lives of Demented Are Go and especially of band original and vocalist Sparky (Mark Phillips) have been turbulent and unsettling to say the least but throughout the band has fought back to rile up music and their fans with notable releases such as Kicked Out Of Hell of 1988 and Hellbilly Storm in 2005. Times have been rocky for Sparky and testing for a band that has seen many changes over the years but nothing could stop them for long. For all the great releases it can be said that the band has not always lived up to those early days even if they out shone most other pretenders throughout but with the new album they have once more taken their place at the head of the genre with a mighty declaration.

Just to prove that the world of Demented Are Go is never straight forward the album was touched by tragedy in the death of engineer/producer Tim Buktu with whom the band also worked when he remixed their earlier Hellucifernation in the late nineties. Aged only 53 he died from a heart attack having already mixed the new release and it hit the band hard as one can imagine. Eventually with the determination and strength that has always been a hallmark of Demented Are Go, the album was finished by late 2011.

From the opening madness of the intro a feeling brews that this will be an unforgettable hellish ride, the opening title track bringing the confirmation and so much more. Rampaging through the ear the song litters the senses with unbridled tumbling riffs, insatiable beats and Sparky ripping up things with his gravelled venom dripping vocals. It has been seven years since their last album but Welcome Back To Insanity Hall makes it feel like they have never been away, something all the subsequent tracks endorse with a vengeance. What emerges is an album which might just be the most complete and consistent ever from the band and certainly one of the very best.

Earlier albums gave us classics like Human Slug, Transvestite Blues, and Pickled And Preserved to name just a trio that scarred the heart for blissfully ever. The new album adds to the list with the mighty black wickedness of Devil Says Kill, the menacing Heads On A Pole with rhythms that see walls crumble and enemies run in fright, and the outstanding Lucky Charm, a song that plunders the senses with punchy rhythms and riffs which command and taunt. With the best song on the album The Life I Live adding to the deep quality and fun this is an album that Demented Are Go were always destined to make. Like the album, The Life I Live has a swagger to it, a mischievous glint in the eye and satanic grin that is addictive from the moment the opening intermittent guitar strikes beckon with their steely fingers. It has a reflective feel, a personal heart, and a defiance that says this is how it is just deal with it.

It is unfair to pick out some songs over others as the whole release is of such a high standard. From Sparky growling and back as the frontman of psychobilly to the flesh searing slices of deviltry from guitarist Holger and the bone shaking stomps of drummer Criss Damage the band tears a wide one in all it makes contact with. The trio excel everywhere to make every song deeply impressive but things are taken to an even greater height by the double bass sorcery of Grischa. He prowls and pounces on the nerves through each song like a ravenous beast and in this disciple resurrects the long burning desire to get ones hand on a slapper…. the instrument obviously.

The album is wonderfully unpredictable, eagerly diverse, and a marauding storm of rock n roll from beyond the grave. Sparky and co sold their souls to the devil a long time back and now they want yours. Welcome Back To Insanity Hall shows there is no resistance strong enough to avoid the inevitable.

RingMaster 04/03/2012

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Thee Gravemen – Thee Gravemen

 

You cannot get much more simple a set up than offered by trash rock ‘n’ roll band Thee Gravemen or anything as incessantly infectious. Consisting of just a senses cruising guitar and insistent primal beats the duo from the UK, now Malmo, Sweden based, with their self titled album have created a release that knows its sound, loves its sound and is determined you will too.

Thee Gravemen were formed in the autumn months of 2009 by guitarist and vocalist Sir Lee Tea and drummer Devilish Daz Trash, who initially were just doing a one off gig as a duo. Luckily they decided to continue though it was through the lack of finding a suitable stand up bass player as much as anything that tipped the decision to remain a twosome. Behind them the musicians have a good pedigree with Tea having been part of the garage rock band Thee Exciters as well as currently part of Swedish r&b band The Branded, and Trash having been part of UK psychobilly/punk band Skitzo, under the name of Strut. As Thee Gravemen the pair have unleashed a raw and uncomplicated fusion of garage punk, psychobilly and coarse surf veined fuzzed up rock ‘n’ roll, a dirty and boisterous sound that sears the flesh and resonates within the bones.

As can be imagined the songs come from the darkest shadows of the two, the lyrics borne from horror movies, wicked intent and from beneath disturbed ground. The album grabs with an icy clawed grip from the opening ‘Hey There Pretty Baby’ to squeeze and tease, resisting the urge to let go right until the last lingering note of the album passes on. The opening track is relatively subdued compared to what follows throughout the rest of the album but it is immediately noticeable that the production though unfussy and pretty straight forward gives a rich generally full sound, in a way surprising considering the scarcity of instruments.

The album buzzes and crawls over the senses through track after track and though the core of the music is a set spine each song comes from different and enticing angles. ‘Come On’ is a slightly darker track than the opener and reminds of 80’s band The Orson Family whilst the instinctive rhythm led ‘Digging Graves’ has a scuzzed up garage energy that recalls their former bands in many ways.

There is not a weak track on the album; each having their own heart of siren like appeal though it is the beat and rhythm led tracks that make the strongest connection. The pulse beat stomp of ‘Friday At The Hideout’ and the voodoo raw primal rhythms of ‘My Girlfriend Is A Werewolf’, both with a Guana Batz meets Screaming Jay Hawkins like vibe lift the excitement higher but it is when the band go into the realms of The Cramps that they really stand out. ‘My Witch’ is glorious with its distinct twang as distinctly manipulative as the song’s character and ‘Six Feet Down’ alongside the outstanding ‘Shake It’ rip through the ear with primitive ease. The band’s cover of ‘Green Fuzz’ is equally excellent; a very valiant version of The Cramps’ version that easily exceeds the Randy Alvey & Green Fuz original.

Complete with another cover in the hypnotic shape of the Sandy Nelson song ‘Let There Be Drums’ and the immensely fun outro track with after a moments breath ends with a track that sounds like a fictional nightmare when Demented Are Go’s Sparky popped his cherry with Eugene Reynolds of The Revillos, the album is simply fantastic. Released on Dirty Water Records it makes no demands or offers any unnecessary frills but just feeds the soul with inspiring, mischievous and thoroughly essential rock ‘n’ roll.

RingMaster 11/02/2012

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