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Let’s talk stereotypes for a moment. Generally, punk rock is generally seen to be pretty vocally left wing, while a good amount of extreme metal (though far from all of it) can tend to skew more towards the right, or ignore politics altogether. I know Venom are more concerned with blasphemy and Satan, but in general, do you think metalheads should aim to be as politically and socially aware as some punks try to be?
Punk lyrics seemed to be a lot about attacking the establishment or venting their anger at aspects of society they didn’t like, but there was no real politics, no solutions. We wanted Johnny Rotten to start the Punk Party and run in an election, then ultimately become Prime Minister, although I have no doubt in my mind that none of the politicians were worried that some band could possibly win enough seats, no matter how cool that would have been.
I think it would be very naive to say that people who like Rock or Metal are in anyway less politically and socially aware than people who like Punk. I agree that a lot of Punk bands write songs about political issues, but that is the style of the music, and it has never been something that Rock or Metal has concentrated on very heavily, but there are political opinions in some Rock and Metal bands lyrics.
Politics are a personal opinion, and maybe it was the Punks trying to use their songs as a political soap box that lost them a lot of popularity, no fun eh! Whereas Rock and Metal are more about escapism and don’t intend to preach.
Do you think it would benefit the genre and the community to look past zombies and Satan and into the more real and immediate evils that the world contains?
I do actually, that’s the idea behind Black Metal, I write songs about the world we live in, good and bad. I never wanted to just write Venom songs about drinking whisky and your wife leaving you with the dog, so I have the freedom to write about many different subjects, but as the saying goes . . . the Devil has the best tunes.
I often use Satan as a metaphor, and this enables me to write about subjects that make people think and ask questions. Black Metal is not just about fire and brimstone, and I don’t write about Zombies.
Punks aren’t always open-minded towards metal folk either, and clashes frequently arise when imagery is misinterpreted or politics come into play. Just look at Antifa for proof of that. Did you ever get into any scrapes with punks back in the day for being into metal?
No, I still wear my 22 hole Doc Marten boots, I have always got on with both Punks and Rockers, I’ve produced albums for Punk bands and Metal bands, and hung out in both Punk and Metal gigs, without incident. I think the main issues that started a lot of rumours about clashes between the Punks and Rockers were the fights between the Skinheads and the Bikers. In Newcastle especially there were often clashes between these groups, although Skinheads are portrayed more as Soccer Hooligans than Punks, but I guess from an outsider’s perspective they see them as the same.
How do you see the two scenes coexisting – do you think metalheads and punks are more or less the same by now, or that the two are still living in different worlds
I think all of the scenes co-exist now, there are lots of cross-over bands and styles, many of the metallheads like punk music and vice versa, so its cool to like various styles, not just be a Punk or a Rocker, and to also like a bit of Jazz or Hip Hop or whatever. I’ve always been very open and honest about liking lots of different styles of music, from Jethro Tull to David Bowie, or Kate Bush to Rush, I just like what I like, and I think it’s more common now to like different types of artists, without just saying I only listen to Metal for example.
Do you have any other thoughts to share?
We are in the studio working on the new album and also getting ready for our 2013 concerts, a big hell yeah to all our Legions for burning the flag bright and staying loyal to our music, we hope to see you all soon, stay wild. Visit our website for news, videos, photos and concert updates etc at www.venomslegions.com