Five Records That Changed My Life, Part 6: Tony Dolan

The British bassist and vocalist Tony Dolan, aka The Demolition Man, made a name for himself with NWOBHM band Atomkraft. Then he fronted Venom in the late 1980s and early 90s before moving onto M-Pire of Evil and now Venom Inc together with fellow Venom bandmate Mantas. A new Venom Inc album is in the making and Tony recently released the fantastic first album of Sabbatonero, a Black Sabbath tribute project. Roppongi Rocks boss Stefan Nilsson checked in with Tony in London to hear what albums inspired him.

The Dickies “The Incredible Shrinking Dickies” (1979)

“From the first single I bought because it was a bubble gum pink, I was hooked. This album was so fast and so much fun. In 1978 to hear an almost thrash version of ‘Paranoid’ blew my mind. The energy they put into the music and their live shows just stunned me. Covers of ‘She’ and ‘Eve of Destruction’, etc. were pushed into a frantic speed-thrilled ride for me. I still have my first edition blue vinyl LP signed by the band after meeting them at a record store in Newcastle. One where they were mobbed enough to smash the window of the store so we could flood in that way rather than using the door like regular people. Haha!”

The Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” (1977)

“What can you not say about this only album proper by the Pistols? ‘God Save the Queen’, ‘Bodies’, ‘Anarchy in the UK’! At the time, in the late 70s, England was in a huge disarray and this album just screamed to a very disenchanted, disillusioned youth of which I was one. Just perfect timing showing you could be relevant and play music, to have a voice, even if it wasn’t going to change the world. I think this album started a musical revolution and at an influential age then, to me it just spoke volumes in all kinds of ways. Don’t be afraid to just do it and have your day too!”

Motörhead “Motörhead” (1977)

Motörhead…just wow! To hear something this heavy and extreme in the late 70s. Dirty, loud, mean but salacious and heavy too? It was just like wow! I heard the opening bass to the track ‘Motörhead’ and when acquiring the album, I simply kept picking the needle up and setting it back to start at the track’s end. it was mesmerising to me, that rhythm and that sound. I’d heard nothing like it or even close. It made me want to play bass, that bass, that way, that sound… Just bliss!”

Motörhead Overkill” (1979)

“This album, from the front cover of the exploding logo design to the opening track. It was just on another level then. We had a show on Thursday evenings called ‘Top of the Pops’, the only real music show on TV for the younger people, a kinda chart show. It was only a 30-minute show and this one Thursday I tuned in as everyone did and they introduced Motörhead with ‘Overkill’. I’ll never forget the impact it had on me. At school the next day I couldn’t understand everyone was talking about it and what a freaking noise it was…but although I didn’t opine what I was thinking – what’s wrong with me – I thought it was incredible and the sense of power and controlled chaos took me to another realm. The bass patterns and rhythms. ‘I’ll Be Your Sister’, ‘Limb from Limb’, ‘Damage Case’, etc. I think I perfected my own rhythmic bass feel directly as a result of this album.”

Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath” (1970)

“Well… dark, heavy, evil and atmospheric. The rain sound effects opening, the bell! I had never come across this kind of use of sound adds. I mean police sirens on some punk singles or gunfire or crowds, but this was more directed and on purpose to send shivers down your dark spine. The tracks themselves just oozing a darkness and power. Geezer Butler’s bass style and feel coming to my mind. Just three musicians but so much sound, so much depth. I wondered how they played so much instrumentation at once, having no idea how studios, etc. worked of course… I think I took a sense of harmony from this album most at the time. Tony’s layering and Ozzy’s almost spooky vocal. A real classic and I still own my vinyl copy.”