TO HELL AND BACK
‘TO HELL AND BACK’
The memoirs and life story of Jeff ‘MANTAS’ Dunn, founder of VENOM, the originators of ‘BLACK METAL’ and one of the most influential Metal bands of all time.
Through childhood and teenage years, including incarceration in a psychiatric unit for disturbed teenagers, to the early beginnings and formation of a band that was to change the face of Heavy Metal as we knew it, this is an in depth insight into the life, thoughts and personal beliefs of a music creator music producer and pioneer of Extreme Metal.
‘LEGIONS IRON AND STEEL’ - A chapter written by the fans.
With many written contributions and personal photos from some of the most hardcore fans the world over, this is a unique perspective on the band from those whose life it touched and in many cases changed forever. From life long friendships forged to inspiration and even military conflict this is a fascinating, often funny and heart warming look into the world of those who follow the band.
MUSICIANS – Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer), Abbath (Immortal), Jimmy Durkin (Dark Angel), A C Wild (Bulldozer), John Gallagher (Raven), Thomas Such (Sodom)
JOURNALISTS – Joel McIver, Geoff Barton, Greg Moffit, Adem Tepeldelen, Martin Popoff, Carl Begai, Geir Larzen, Malcolm Dome.
Jon Zazula – The man responsible for taking Venom to the USA for the first time.
More to be announced.
‘A MEETING OF MINDS’ – Transcriptions of recorded recollections and conversations between Mantas and Gordon Atkinson (long standing friend and mainstay crew member throughout the early years)
The truth behind the legend, the legend behind the truth.
Leaving no stone unturned from his life and career this promises to be a no holds barred journey through the mind, body and soul of this influential figure.
From the heart and written in his own words.
This is to be a comprehensive and definitive personal perspective from the founder of VENOM, Jeff ’MANTAS’ Dunn.
Read some excerpts below
WELCOME TO . . . THE WORLD
On Saturday 22nd of April 1961, Leatrice Dunn and John Mavin Dunn welcomed their son Jeffrey into the world and on September 12th 1961 The Mayfair Ballroom opened its doors for the first time (DESTINY?)
I was born at Princess Mary Maternity Hospital in Jesmond just outside Newcastle City Centre. Like many grand old buildings in Newcastle, I believe this has now been converted into apartments. Upon leaving the hospital, home was to be Doncaster Road (DESTINY?) in Sandyford, again not far from the city centre, where my parents had their first apartment, a small 2 bedroom ground floor property. From there we were to move to another ground floor apartment in Ferndean Grove in High Heaton, another suburb of Newcastle. Oddly enough, the first bass player that I was to be in a band with years later lived not far from this street (DESTINY?). I have come to believe during the course of my life that everything we do, every event, every choice we make, every meeting that we have is linked to our outcomes. Some may call this coincidence but I firmly believe that they are linked to our path in life . . The Law Of Attraction? Everything happens for a reason, or so they say, and in writing this book I have come to recognise so many events and happenings, no matter how small, that have lead to other more significant periods of my life. It is down to us to recognise these events and act upon them, make a choice, take a risk . . as they say nothing ventured, nothing gained. This obviously is no easy task with many opting for the easy way out and I will never claim to have made all the right choices all of the time, indeed some of us are oblivious to these events at their time of occurring and allow them to slip through our fingers . . missed opportunities? Now before you say to yourself, 'this guy is a lunatic . . what the fuck is he talking about!', I say to you, no more than the billions of people worldwide who pin their hopes, lives and destinies to organisations lead by deities of which they have no absolute proof . . I believe this is called blind faith. Don't get me wrong, each to their own, just not for me, in as much as my life beliefs may not sit well with their ideals but I will not live my life to the confines and restrictions of any of it, we have but a short time on this planet and we should make the most of every second we have, without regrets or to the detriment of others. I believe in Universal Creation and that there is a plan for us as individuals, whatever it may be, that is down to us to discover and these little glimmers of (DESTINY?) are our clues along the way, what we choose to do with them is entirely our choice. I believe that life is cyclic and that things, names, places etc recur in our lives at different points in different manifestations. More about this later.
KISS - HOTTER THAN HELL
My mother used to frequent a large department store in Newcastle city centre, The Co Operative. This place sold everything, you name it they had it and if they didn't, they would get it. She used to collect Co Op dividends, sort of a loyalty scheme kind of thing, and this particular day she was in the store to redeem some points or something. So she went off to do her thing and I headed to the record department to wait for her. It was a small department but an absolute Alladins cave for me full of vinyl goodies and in amongst all of this black plastic treasure I found something that just stopped me in my tracks. It was a double live album, gatefold sleeve and the creatures which graced the stage on the front cover were definitely not of this world, (one of them I found out later actually proclaimed not to be) . . got any clues yet? The copy that I held in my hands and stared at in amazement had obviously been there for a while as it was quite battered and worn by, I suppose, people picking it up, thinking 'what the fuck is this' and hastily putting it back before their soul was condemned to Hell as the clientele of the Co-Op were not your typical Heavy Rock fans . . but I wanted some of this . . badly!! The album was 'Kiss Alive' and I desperately wanted to take it home with me but the price would not allow me, my pocket money simply wouldn't stretch that far so reluctantly I replaced it and continued the search . . was there anything else by this band? . . then lo and behold, a single vinyl album by the very same creatures . . 'Hotter Than Hell' . . appropriate title considering future years (DESTINY?)The pockets were emptied and every last penny was counted . . YES! . . I had enough and so it was purchased. Upon arriving home I hastily removed the inner sleeve from the cover then carefully and with all the respect it deserved slid that glorious piece of black plastic out of its protective shell and placed it lovingly on the turntable . . fuck me this is almost pornographic or should I say 'phonographic' . . haha, yes? no? . . ok, suit yourself, on with the story. The speed was set, 33rpm, the vinyl slid down the supportive stem onto the turntable, the arm slowly moved across and lowered itself onto the now revolving vinyl, its needle poised to insert itself into that first groove, down it went and . . nothing! You could almost hear the record player say 'Im really sorry, this has never happened to me before!' FUCK! What now? It was quickly replaced into its cover and I ran around to my friends house as I knew he had a better record player than me, thankfully he was in and allowed me to play it . . what can I say . . INSTANT KISS FAN!
I still have that very same vinyl copy today.
Grandad - horror films
Something which may explain my fascination with the darker side of life in later years could possibly be my frequent visits to my Grandfathers house. Sometimes I would stay over at Gran and Grandads house and he would let me stay up late to watch the horror movies on a Saturday night. My Grandfather was into all the old horror movies with stars such as Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jnr, Bela Lugosi etc and we would sit together watching these old black and white classics. I remember he used to buy me an old horror film magazine every week called 'Monster Mag' and I was intrigued by the creatures in it. My grandfather actually had a stuffed crocodile, don't ask me why, just thought I would mention it! True to form as with everything to follow I wanted more . . more horror, better monsters and so I discovered Hammer Horror and in particular Christopher Lee . . DRACULA! This dude scared the shit out of me as a kid, oh how innocent and tame those films seem today but at the time with an over 18 only certificate they were absolutely terrifying to the movie going public. This only serves to prove to me how the human race has become desensitised with the ever growing access to information with which we are privileged, sometimes I honestly do think that ignorance is bliss.
One of my hobbies as a kid was building models, I suppose looking back I have always been into 'creative' activities, and my most prized possessions at that time were a series of models by a company called Aurora and the only place which stocked them in Newcastle was a tiny model shop in the Grainger Market in the city centre. It was a series of all the classic figures from horror movies . . Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy, Phantom Of The Opera, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Godzilla and more. They were all based on the originals, Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein etc and I had them all! . . AND . . They glowed in the dark . . YES! So my accompaniment to sleep every night was a bunch of glow in the dark monsters . . wow, I was a weird kid . . but I was happy . . BWAHAHAHAHA!!