Ex-Venom and current M:Pire Of Evil axe-wielder Jeff ‘Mantas’ Dunn has spoken out about any possible reunion with the legendary black metal outfit’s original line-up, claiming it will never happen.


Jeff released an official (and lengthy) statement through M:Pire Of Evil’s Facebook page to try and eradicate the constant speculation and rumours surrounding the possibility of a reuniting. And what better person to provide insight into a possible Venom reunion than one of the band’s founding members?


He started off by explaining his reasons for releasing the statement, not for attention but, having read numerous accounts of Venom’s history (none of which has been 100% true) to get an accurate version of events out.


Jeff said: “I received a call almost one year ago regarding this matter from the original management who had an enquiry regarding the possibility of a reunion of the original line up. My response to this was that I was willing to talk but I did not believe for one minute that there would be any realistic chance of this happening given the past history between the members. I was however open to discussion and would await further information.


“In 2005 I had a lengthy telephone conversation with Conrad [Lant – Cronos] initially regarding the return of a product licence. It was during this conversation that he asked if I was ok with him continuing as Venom. I said yes and wished him well with it. At this point in my life Venom was of no concern to me as my mother had suffered a serious stroke and later in that year after a long battle she passed away so my focus had obviously been on her.”


So Cronos continued with Venom and Jeff started up M:Pire Of Evil with fellow ex-Venom member Tony ‘Demolition Man’ Dolan. But, as for any popular band with at least half of their original members still alive (think KISS, Pantera, even Led Zepplin) rumours constantly bounce around about a reunion. For the likes of At The Gates, Dark Angel, Autopsy, Gorguts etc. these rumours have come true, but for Venom it appears that won’t be the case.


Jeff continued: “I made the decision to contact him [Cronos] to get an answer which would basically come down to a simple ‘yes or no’. In my heart of hearts I already knew and was prepared for the answer and quite honestly I also had my reservations about the validity and practicality of such a venture.


“As you may have already guessed the answer came back as ‘no’, so I can hereby officially say that there will be no reunion of the original lineup.  I will include only one line from Conrad’s response as these were personal and private communications between him and myself. In his response he stated; ‘I’ve personally got no interest whatsoever in trying to work with the original line up ever again.’ This was something that I fully expected and understand.”


Speaking as a music fan Jeff says he understands Venom fans’ passion for the band and that it may not be the news they wanted. He points to the press surrounding KISS’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction as a good example of how a reunion for many bands isn’t as simple as just getting together for a few drinks then going out and playing a few shows.


The statement ends with Jeff thanking all his fans and making it clear how honoured he is to still be able to make a living from making music.  “I have heard so many times from fans and indeed concert promoters and venue owners how it is an honour and a privilege to have me play for them. No, it is an honour and a privilege for me to be able to step on any stage and present my music to you and for that once again I say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You guys mean everything to me.  As I said at the beginning of this statement, this has not been done to generate a ton of responses or discussions, there now is no discussion to be had. As many of you will be aware I very rarely make statements or post on social networking sites but I felt that this issue needed to be addressed.”


To read the full statement and for updates on M:Pire Of Evil head over to their Facebook page here.


For updates on Venom check out their website here.


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