Jeff “Mantas” Dunn on the Very Best of Venom

(Image credit: Official Press Photo)

Below, Venom Inc. guitarist Jeff “Mantas” Dunn shares his thoughts on the very best of Venom. For the complete interview and feature (from our October 2017 issue), head here.

“One day I came in with this riff and Abaddon started pounding the toms to it in a really tribal way. I was expecting a straight beat, but this rolling thing started happening with the song. And the solo is just a bunch of single, sustained notes with feedback—just noise, really. I had some lyrics and Conrad helped me finish them off. Then we put this backward part in the beginning to make the song sound more evil. I played that on my Flying V copy and my Marshall. There was nothing fancy. We couldn’t afford it.”

“I used a copy Strat or a copy Les Paul for that song, along with the Marshall. I wrote half of it at home and the other half in the studio. I think those double-stops in the riff make the song. The first one is on the A and the next one’s on the D. I did that a lot back then; ‘Die Hard’ uses that same kind of structure.”

“I was in the studio one day and I just jammed this riff. It had these sustained chords like Kiss might have used. While I was playing, this guy Ged Wolf jumped behind Abaddon’s kit and started playing. And when I hit the chorus, he did this double-bass drum part. The middle part is my tip of the hat to the center section of ‘The Ripper’ by Judas Priest. And I played that on my first real guitar, the black Ibanez Destroyer.”

“You know how some people take a newspaper or a magazine into the toilet with them when they take their morning dump? One morning I took the guitar in and ‘Black Metal’ was born. I sat there and came up with a couple of riffs. I thought, Oh, that’s pretty cool. When I got off the toilet I just went and pushed record and play on a cheap cassette recorder, and ‘Black Metal’ was born. When we were recording it, there was this pause in the song. We went, ‘Well, what the fuck should we put in there?’ So I had Cronos sing, ‘Lay down your soul to the gods rock and roll.’ That was an homage to the line, ‘Fall to your knees and repent if you please’ in Judas Priest’s ‘Exciter.’ I just loved that phrasing.”

“That was the first song I ever wrote for Venom. I had one of those shitty no-name guitars that kept going out of tune. It’s definitely Sabbath-influenced in the beginning with that string bend, and the rest of it is just bluesy rock and roll, which, I guess, is what a lot of Sabbath was, also. We never really played that one live, though.”

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Jon Wiederhorn

Jon is an author, journalist, and podcaster who recently wrote and hosted the first 12-episode season of the acclaimed Backstaged: The Devil in Metal, an exclusive from Diversion Podcasts/iHeart. He is also the primary author of the popular Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal and the sole author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends. In addition, he co-wrote I'm the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax (with Scott Ian), Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen (with Al Jourgensen), and My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory (with Roger Miret). Wiederhorn has worked on staff as an associate editor for Rolling Stone, Executive Editor of Guitar Magazine, and senior writer for MTV News. His work has also appeared in Spin, Entertainment Weekly,, Revolver, Inked, and other publications and websites.