Interview by Arto & EvilG
This Mantas interview was setup a few months ago and was
originally to be with both Tony Dolan and the man himself,
Mantas. Unfortunately, the questions specifically set aside for
Mantas never got completed since he became too busy. After
leaving this in limbo for a few months we decided to run it as
is since there is still plenty of info provided by Tony about
his previous bands (Atomkraft and Venom), his current status as
an actor, and as a member of MANTAS.
I just found out that the never released 'Atomized’ album
of ATOMKRAFT (which was originally released on a different label
to Neat, never came out) would be finally released during 2004.
Why now, and what went wrong back then?!
That album was recorded but not for any label. We were
looking for a new label but before we could find one the signer
we used left and I went to join VENOM. The album got shelved!
The Sanctuary group now own all VENOM and ATOMKRAFT masters and
are set to release the ATOMKRAFT anthology this August. I will
be re-mastering the material for that and then thought why not
put out ATOMIZED around the same time! Our fan base was limited
as Neat records had poor distribution and ATOMKRAFT never made
it to CD like lot's of other 80's thrash acts. No one knew we
were there after 1988!
Atomkraft was one of the first speed/thrash bands hailing
from England, but did you consider Atomkraft as a speed metal
band in the first place? Did you try to have more Punk
influences in the stuff?
At first the band was a kind of Punk outfit. It was the late
70's and that was the British scene. Then I saw Motörhead on the
first tour they did at Newcastle University. I thought these
guys are great. Dirty, loud and fast! That was it, it was
everything I ever wanted from a band. Listening to those early
acts now it seems crazy to class them as fast but believe me if
you weren't there, Overkill by Motörhead was considered as
stupidly fast by most. Ha! Ha! Makes people laugh now though! So
I guess if matching Motörhead made us fast then yeah we were a
speed outfit. Although playing a show next to Slayer in 1985,
also taught us that, we were not fast at all!!
Did the original guitarist of Atomkraft, Chris Taylor,
come up the name of Atomkraft after visiting Germany in the late
Well he returned form Germany with badges for us as gifts.
There was a lot of Anti Nuclear stuff going on back then. The
badges were in that vein. "Nuclear Power No Thanks!" However in
German that read, "ATOMKRAFT Nein Danke!" I liked the way
ATOMKRAFT sounded and looked so that was it! We changed our
You relocated to Canada in some point of the stage of the
career of Atomkraft, why?
It was 1983. I used to live in Canada in the early 70's. My
sister was still living there and does to this day, in Ontario.
Steve White decided to leave for personal reasons (a woman!!!)
so being unemployed I felt very depressed as ATOMKRAFT was my
life. I didn't want a lesser guitarist and at that time people
like Steve and Jeff Dunn (Mantas) were few and far between. It
was just coincidence that my sister invited me to live with her
for 2 yrs while she was studying, to help with her two kids. I
thought why not, things looked grim for me in England, so I
went. I played in a few bands over there but was really just
keeping my hand in! They all seemed to be doing covers back
Soon you returned back home and Atomkraft was resurrected
from the ashes with the tysondog drummer Ged Wolf, Rob Matthews
on guitars…can it be said this line-up was the first real
Atomkraft in a way or another?!
Actually this became the lineup that recorded the first
album, but if anyone has ever heard the 'TOTAL METAL' demo with
the original lineup I'm sure they'll agree that this was a
weaker band and a weak album in Future Warriors. The danger and
ferocity was gone!
You then signed a deal with the same label that had Venom,
with Neat Rec. Was the decision to sign a deal with Neat kinda
easy because of Venom?
Neat was actually 10mins from my house. I had recorded demos
there before. The owner knew me. There was a lot of speculation
about us. Were we Venom roadies(ex), because the drummer was
related to the Venom manager is that how we struck a deal. It
was all bollox. The guy was interested in us from 1982,when we
became a three piece. Maybe he liked the three piece, Venom,
Raven! I dunno. The only reason we went to Neat is that it was
on the door step and that was it!!
The first release called Future Warriors came out 1985.
Are you still pleased with how the album turned out as a debut?
Not at all. I had recorded some great tracks and heavy
material before with the original band and Future Warriors never
stood up! Fun and exciting to do and at the time I suppose I was
into it. Production was crap! The guy who produced it for Neat,
when I asked if he could give us some of that Venom sound on it,
told me he couldn't do that, that was venom's sound and no one
else's!!! I realized years later after, shit upon shit album's
by the guy that he didn't even know what he was doing with the
Venom album's let alone anyone else's!! We got truly fucked by
everyone on Neat, The producer, the owner, the label, Venom, all
except Raven who were dons to me!
Soon after you set off for the first Euro tour with the
label mates Venom. Can you recall any kick ass stories about
Don't know about kick ass! We got very drunk as much as we
could. Hung around with Exodus and the diamond that was Paul
Balloff (R.I.P.). Thrashed and fucked my self to death and
rarely saw Venom. Except every now and then performing but we
were really just hanging out front to catch the female fans
around the bar. Big fight in Osnabruck Germany with some guys
after a pool game. Me and the guitarist got pissed and some guys
were trying to roll us for our dough but we'd already ran out.
They bought a whole bunch of beers and Rob was getting nervous
as he knew we had none left to return the favour and they would
ask us to. I wasn't bothered, I was so pissed (Drunk) I didn't
give a fuck as long as the booze kept coming! They then asked us
for beer I said we were broke they didn't like it, we all went
outside and there was a big fight. Our crew turned up and joined
in as did more German guys and it was a great night! I don't
think Exodus were there but I'm sure if Rick had been he would
have enjoyed it too!! ha! Oh yeah we weren't given any
food in Copenhagen too so I refused to play. Metallica were in
town recording 'Ride the Lightening' and came down to the show
to see their mates in Exodus and I remember too Paul Balloff and
King Diamond bringing us food out to our bus and dedicating
their entire set to us! Cool!!
You opened a gig for Slayer at Marquee - could you finally
clear up what exactly happened on that gig because I have heard
some wild stories that you were forced to cut the set for three
songs and you had some fight with Slayer?
No fight with Sllayer I am afraid!! haha!!! The P.A. went
down after only three tracks, sabotaged! Who or why we never
found out but we didn't give a fuck we wanted to impress so we
took sledge hammers to the show to destroy any equipment! This
we did. Once we realised the P.A. wasn't coming back we just
destroyed the place! We got one review and I knew at the time
that the guy was in the bar next door and didn't even come in to
see us! Everything he wrote was bollox too. I have shots of
ourselves and Slayer right after the show and we are all smiling
together! Maybe I should get 777 to post some on the fan site so
everyone can be clear about that!
Marquee, London - with Slayer - 1985
Then you left the band when you were working on the follow
up to Future Warriors and a new line up was quickly assembled
with new additions being ex-AVENGER vocalist Ian Davidson Swift
and bassist D.C. Rage. The album was an EP called Queen of
Death.. Why did you leave the band and what is your opinion on
I left as we had disagreements about management. Abaddon and
Eric Cook, venom's manager, wanted to represent us. I didn't
trust them and thought they were shit!! It was my drummers
brother so you can guess what he wanted to do? My guitarist was
promised all sorts of things if he stayed so he did. Then we,
that is myself, Tony Bray and Eric all had a big argument, they
called me a fucking Lemmy (meaning power crazed!) and said I
wouldn't walk! So guess what, I said Fuck you and went. I got a
deal with a Belgian label called Whiplash and began writing what
later became 'Conductors of Noize'. Just as I was set to begin
recording, Whiplash backed out. Abaddon and Eric Cook had fucked
the deal up so they could get Queen of Death out as ATOMKRAFT,
to fuck me over. I thought the title track was good, it should
have been I guess five people wrote it for them! Or so I was
told by them! The other A side track was OK! The other tracks,
Demolition, Funeral Pyre,were mine anyway and still had my
playing on them and Mode three, which was a cover of a 16th
century number had me and Rob playing. So they left my face and
name off it but I am on it!!
You returned back for ‘Conductors Of Noise’ EP, what made
you change your mind?
I had Conductors sitting there and no deal. They came to me
after Queen of Death as no one in the band could write and they
couldn't find anyone to do an album for them. It suited me. I
got to do my album and they got an album to play on and put out.
They never had ATOMKRAFT off me they only used the name on Queen
of Death to stop me using it.
Then you played at Dynamo and toured as a support for
Agent Steel and Nuclear Assault. Where did you play, what kind
of reception did you get, and how did you get along with Agent
Steel and Nuclear Assault dudes?!
Agent Steel were OK I guess but told not to mix with us or
Nuclear Assault. John Syris( Syrus???) I dunno, is a fucking
pussy. That's all I'll say! He's lucky he didn't get fucking
nailed on that tour! Nuclear Assault were great. Dan Lilker
moans a lot but John, Glen and at that time Antony Bramante were
fucking great! John is a very funny guy. We had a great time
with them although I think that Abaddon and Eric stole money off
them and as they arranged the tour, ripped them off bad so maybe
they don't remember it fondly like I do! The fans were fucking
brilliant. Except Germany were on the whole they fucking hated
us! We did have some great fans but like I said on the whole! I
do remember though that Dan lilker was like this fucking book on
underground bands, which was great, plus he basses like a don!
Dynamo was great in 88. 15,000 people in a car park. Testament,
Destruction, ATOMKRAFT and fucking Stryper??????????Still, all
the band were cool and we had a great time too!
A new bassist named DC Rage joined and you switched to the
guitar, was it an easy move?
Yes! I wrote everything in ATOMKRAFT on guitar anyways. Like
all the Venom stuff I wrote. So I have always played both guitar
and bass. It's not a problem, I am happy with either. It was
better and faster than looking for the right guitarist. Plus
Rage had already been associated with the band and I like him
In 1988 you toured with Exumer and Nasty Savage and I
remember having some old articles on some gigs... but you played
even behind the iron curtain of that time, namely in Poland. I
guess it was a great chance to play there!?
Yeah that was cool. Still a Berlin wall back then. The fans
were amazing and we played the first show at an arena called
Spodek to 25,000.That was so cool. That whole tour was amazing
for ATOMKRAFT...we had arrived! We thought it was all to come!
We worked so hard.
Why did Atomkraft split up then!?
Singer left for a woman. D.C. Rage got even more hooked on
drugs and booze, The guitarist was already going a bit crazy,
wearing silly boots and making weird signs every now and then. I
just couldn't be fucked to start all over again after we'd come
so far and worked so hard. Then a call from Venom and that was
What are other guys doing nowadays?
D.C.Rage? Who Knows? Ian Swift started boxing, had one match
got knocked out and now is a Butcher!! Rob Redhead, is a street
busker/clown! Ged Cook(Wolf) runs, Demoltion records with his
brother Eric Cook. Steve White the original guitarist runs a
Theatre and the Original Drummer Paul Spillett is a
Is there any chance to see the Atomokraft reunion in the
wake of these reunions of old 80's thrash bands like Agent
Steel, Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Death Angel, Destruction,
Necrodeath, Assassin and so on?!?!
What do you think of all these reunions anyway?
Great, welcome back boys!
You continued as a new front-man of Venom by doing a
series of albums and one ep, but was it a big step for you to
step into Cronos' shoes?
NO! Ha! ha!
Primal Evil 1989, Tear Your Soul Apart ep 90, Temples Of
Ice -91, The Waste Lands -92.... To be a honest those albums are
quite unknown releases in the glorious Venom history, although
Mantas and Abadon were involved, do you think that people kinda
didn't want to consider them as Venom releases because Venom is
known as a three piece band?!
How do you mean they are quite unknown? Prime Evil sold more
copies than either 'Cast In Stone' (the Reunion album) and
Ressurection (the cronos/Mantas album) that's not my bullshit,
that's the facts from the labels involved and their figures not
mine! Yeah the hardcore Venom fans wouldn't accept it as Venom
but on the whole the wider fanbase did. Even the fans that
didn't accept it as Venom used to tell me and still do to this
day through the fansite how they loved the material etc, but
just wish it hadn't been called Venom. That's cool, but it was
and that 'IS' history I'm afraid! Look at any discography and
the material is there as am I. I have had so much fan mail by
people who claim that I and Prime Evil and the rest turned them
onto Venom and helped them discover the back catalouge. Great,
then as long as they got something then isn't that a good thing
for everyone? There's a concept that Venom is Cronos, another
that Venom is Mantas, I was a fan from the off. VENOM is the
three of them, not any one individual and THAT is THAT! Without
each other! Well, let's wait and
was the fan reaction at gigs when “Demolition Man” was in Venom
in the early 90`s?
Great! Only one show in Germany where I got hassled and that
was my fault. I used to dedicate Bloodlust to Cronos. I did from
the off at every show. He wrote the lyrics and that so I kinda
thought it was his theme tune. This one night, the fans were
chanting, we don't need Cronos, we don't need Cronos and I
joined in, stupidly! A bunch of dudes at the bar didn't like it
and we had a few things to say to each other. After we finished
the show, myself and a roadie went to meet them as we thought we
were going to have it with them and they'd fucked off! After all
that, they went home! On the whole though, everywhere we played
the fans were exceptional to me and I thank them all again right
here right now!
Venom was put on hold for a while and you left to carry
out your movie career?
Yeah I lost patience in the end. Abaddon and Eric were too
much into keeping the money from me and Jeff and making cheap
product. They ended up as today just trying to squeeze as much
money out of the VENOM tag as possible. I had enough and thought
better to leave them to it! I left. Then Jeff left and then a
new deal was offered by a German company, they accepted the deal
did one album, split again, sacked Abaddon got Conrad's bro in
(Who is amazing by the way, as good on guitar as on drums in my
opinion), did a follow up then got kicked off the label and here
we are! Still a new album coming with Mike Hickey playing
guitar. Remember him? He played on 'Calm Before the Storm' with
Jim Clare, the replacements for Jeff (Mantas). MANTAS has
recorded Black Metal. They've recorded Black Metal's the word so
let's see what happens next eh?
How did you get an idea to re-start working with Mantas on
his band and new output?
He called me we spoke he told me about the project, he had no
bassist and eventually I offered and he agreed!
Isn’t it kind of funny that drummer Mark Savage is from
another old UK band War Machine, formed by the former Atomkraft
guitarist Steve White…..what comes around, goes around I guess?
XLR8R features mark savage on the vocals and Al Barnes (who used
to be in Venom ) in the same band as well... hmmm...
Savage was 'NEVER' in War Machine! Besides where does Mark
Savage come in? I don't get that? Mark Savage played with MANTAS
in 1986 or something and only in the video's for his solo stuff
he was never on any product that was a drum machine! I am in the
MANTAS video for King of the Ring but never played on the album!
Al Barnes was Jeff's mate and came into Venom with him as part
of the deal. They were in MANTAS, the Band together at that time
and Jeff didn't want to just up and dump Al. None of them are
connected with this project.
How did you end up in Stallone's movie Judge Dredd and now
the Russell Crowe film 'Master & Commander'?
I had an agent and they sent me up for the parts! I met the
casting and directors and got the jobs. The Dredd thing left me
mostly on the cutting room floor. Danny (Cannon), the director,
re-edited about 6 or 7 times and made so many cuts and bad for
me I went, to trim things down and tighten up the movie. Still,
a famous guy in the UK called Rick Mayall did the new Harry
Potter movie and all his material was cut out as was Christopher
Lee's in The last Lord of the Rings so I didn't do too bad at
least I am still in the moviie eh? Ha!ha!
Did anyone on any of the sets know you were once in Venom
and freak out a bit?
Yeah. On Master and Commander, the researcher for Fox movies
went to L.A. and New York and got all the album's I'd done
including 'Kissing the Beast' the Russian album we did and
brought them back to the studios. That day when I went to lunch
they were playing the material in the eating hall. The whole
place was staring at me and laughing! Afterwards I had loads of
extras and technicinas talking, getting my autograph and banging
on about the music. Which I really enjoyed!
Tony in Master & Commander
I understand you jammed with Russell on the set, so did
you get to show Russell any metal riffs or what? Ha!
Yeah me, Russ and Paul Bettany and Billy Boyd (Lord of the
Rings) too all had a great time playing. We played metal and all
sorts. Clash to Thin Lizzy. We even did a bit of Green Day. No
ATOMKRAFT or Venom though! ha! Russelll had a whole 2 trailers
with full P.A. and everything you could possibly need to use for
us all. Fridge, couches in there, fucking everything it was
great but mad! WE fucking rocked the place it was so cool! No
Bullshit just music for music's sake! Great!!
Do you have any other film/theatre projects coming up?
Yes I am filming at the moment for the BBC and HBO T.V. A
movie called 'Dirty War'. I also have a series coming at the end
of summer to British T.V. Called about British History,
'Battlefield Britain'. We are also preparing for a show in
London called, 'Hitler and the Boys', which is very funny. Plus
a radio play, part 3 actually yet to go out but recorded for
How would you compare acting to performing live with a
Very different. No fans to feed off. No one screaming you
either though so both have their negatives and positives. I like
them both and both give me satisfaction. My music was always
hampered by small timers but the acting is a business and
therefore feels more real as far as the money and job angle
You also have a solo album coming out soon!? Please give
us the details on what to expect musically, the line-up, release
The lineup is still coming together. So I can't give too much
away. I don't want anybody's preconceived ideas about the
material so until it's around no-one will know who it is
exactly. The material will speak for its self! The album was due
out now originally but I had to delay as I was waiting for
tracks to be returned to me as I have a few guest thrasher on
there and also, filming plus the MANTAS material, the schedule
all went crazy.. It will make it out by the end of the year.
When the information is more solid you and all will know my
Mexico, Master & Commander -on set- 2003
MANTAS official site:
Tony's official site: