The epic Venom banter mixtape, 1986

My friend Mikael Jorgensen of the band Wilco just turned me on to a classic tape I'd never heard before: The Venom Banter Tape (MP3).

From a 2005 WFMU blog post about this classic tape of "mentally-defying sounds of the between-song banter that tumbled from the mouth of Venom vocalist Cronos when his band played at City Gardens, (Trenton, NJ)."

Backstory: In 1986, Black Metal legends Venom played what some thought of as an unlikely bill with Rollins-era Black Flag at famed punk dump City Gardens, in scenic Trenton, New Jersey. The club was a magnet for all types of unsavory social elements — skinheads, criminals, bikers, leather-studded punks, people who liked Meat Beat Manifeto, and so forth. Anyway, the punkers, metalheads, and general thugs who turned out for the show not only got to witness two of the more badass bands of the era sharing a stage, but were also treated to some of the most (unintentionally?) hilarious between-song stage banter ever, courtesy of Venom's knuckle-dragging vocalist Cronos.

The story behind this recording is shrouded in mystery, but the local history texts claim that a Black Flag roadie recorded the entire show, cut out the middle sections of all the songs, and the subsequent stage banter and guitar intros/outros were released as an Ecstatic Peace single. The legacy of the recording is impressive, to say the least. It was sampled by the Beastie Boys on one of their records ("Because you're wild, man….. WIIIIILD!") and it's got more quotable one-liners than a Monty Python movie.

"You're fuckin' pretty loud, New Jersey!"