Jeff Mantas, the founder of Black Metal legends Venom and the man responsible for much of the bands classic early material.
Born and raised in Newcastle in the North East of England, music was to play a big part in his life from a very early age. “There was always music in the house, my father was a drummer and he and my mother financed my first guitar and amp, little did they know what they had started!”
His first encounter with another musician was at a Taekwondo club (at which Mantas holds 1st Degree Black Belt and also 1st Degree Black Belt Aikido and 3rd Degree Black Belt Freestyle Karate) in 1976 and this was to be the beginnings of a band which would eventually see him as founder member of Venom.
Best known for his guitar work with Venom, arguably one of the most influential metal bands of all time, the early part of his career saw him touring world wide with acts supporting such as Metallica and Slayer.
Quiet and unassuming off stage there is definitely another side to Mantas as is proven by his on stage persona.
Even through the trials and tribulations of Venom, he is still the first to say that he is justifiably proud of what he created and the success it enjoyed and the impact that it had on the world of Heavy Metal and indeed music in general.
His place in musical history is secure, as is evident by any Rock or Metal encyclopedia so much so that he was asked to write the preface for the first edition of the Extreme Metal Handbook and was also interviewed for contribution to the Metallica biography “Justice for All”.
The March 2004 edition of Guitar World placed Mantas at number 39 in the list of the 100 greatest metal guitarists of all time and he is honoured by inclusion into Joel McIvers book “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists”.
Mantas is never one to rest on past glories and as such is continually looking at new projects and opportunities, because as he so rightly states “without evolution comes extinction”
From the glory days of Venom through the Winds Of Change period to the Prime Evil era of Venom then back to the original line up in 1995 leading to the Resurrection album and onto Zero Tolerance, Dryll, M-Pire Of Evil and now active with Venom Inc and many more musical outings along the way it has been a wide and varied career so far . . . and as he says 'it aint over yet'
He has a firm philosophy on life and that is “you only get one shot on this planet so live life to the full because at the end of it will you be saying “what if”, “I could have”, “I should have” , or will you say “I did my absolute best and took every opportunity given to me”. Don’t let it pass you by!
IF YOU ARE NOT IN IT, YOU CANT WIN IT !
This belief was tested to the max on 30th April 2018 when he suffered a massive and fatal heart attack and was actually clinically dead for just over 5 minutes before doctors and paramedics managed to revive him. Ten weeks after a double bypass operation he was back on stage at the Bloodstock Festival however he is the first to say that it was undoubtedly the most terrifying experience of his life.
This life changing event only strengthened his resolve to explore every musical avenue that caught his attention and to utilize his legacy and constant creativity to help pursue his passion for animal welfare and so with that in mind a percentage of all profit from t shirt, music and other merchandise sales will go towards supporting a local cat and dog sanctuary and towards his own small, but ever growing, rescue project.