Report: The Roppongi Rocks Clubhouse Sessions with Tony Dolan of Venom Inc

Stefan Nilsson and Tony Dolan backstage in Tokyo during Venom Inc’s 2018 Japan tour.

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

The Roppongi Rocks Clubhouse Sessions, Episode #1: The Future of Heavy Metal with Tony Dolan of Venom Inc was a good-fun, intimate and relaxed discussion among metalheads. Here’s some of what you missed.

On Thursday 4th March, we had a ton of fun and plenty of laughs during the first edition of the Roppongi Rocks Clubhouse Sessions. Joining from London, England, British metal legend Tony Dolan (Venom Inc, Venom, Atomkraft, M-Pire of Evil) was as chatty as ever and shared some great stories and opinions in this up close and personal talk session. Here in Japan, Roppongi Rocks boss Stefan Nilsson, who moderated the intimate session, was joined by Matt Ketchum (goat-worthy guitarist of Retch and Worship Pain fame) who is one of the driving forces behind the Kaala crew that is active in the Japanese underground extreme scene. The speaker line-up was rounded off by Japanese music and entertainment industry executive Kana Nagumo.

The 70-minute discussion on the Clubhouse audio app covered a lot of ground. There were updates on the forthcoming second Venom Inc album and the creative process involved in writing and recording it. What it is like to be a metal trio with members spread out across England, Portugal and the US. What the future of international tours might look like. When can normal gigs be held again and will the audience still be there? How vital gigs are for actually selling physical records and band merchandise. How local Japanese underground bands are dealing with the pandemic and soldiering on, not least to help venues and other non-artists in the scene. The importance of new, and sometimes unexpected, musical collaborations and tributes, such as Venom Inc’s Mantas doing a The Dead Daisies cover and Tony Dolan doing a Black Sabbath tribute with members of Raven, Snowy Shaw, Marty Friedman and many more. The emergence of online performances and other virtual fan happenings during the pandemic and the likelihood that this trend is here to stay. We talked about evolving business models and sources of revenue for rock music and much more. We all agreed that we dearly miss the smell and atmosphere of sweaty and beer-soaked basement music venues, And we had a laugh about the perceived dangers of Elvis Presley’s hips and Tony’s missing hip (now safely replaced with a fake one).

Clubhouse is an interesting new platform for discussions. It is audio only, live only with no editing and no recording. If you don’t listen when it’s on, you miss out. The first Roppongi Rocks Clubhouse session was good fun. Thank you to all who participated. We will soon be back with details on the next edition of The Roppongi Rocks Clubhouse Sessions. Sweaty rock talk on your iPhone.

If you’re on Clubhouse and you’re insecure and suffering from fear of missing out (FOMO), you’d better follow @roppongirocks and never switch off your iPhone notifications.

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