Hello, Cleveland!

B-Sides examines Venom's Spinal Tap moments, puts on kid gloves for Rasputina and reminisces with Shilo

Potluck afterward: Venom refused to play at any venue that couldn't accommodate an elaborate pyrotechnic show. As a result, it played its first big-time gig four years into its career, at London's legendary Hammersmith Odeon. The satanic group did play an earlier explosion-free show at the only space that would host it; a ticket pictured in the liner notes reads: Methodist Church Presents Venom.

Answer: Venom: In a 1983 radio interview included on MMV, Cronos answers a question about metal's damaging influence by asking, "What's more corruptive than Boy George?" It seems the original black-metal band wasn't big on men wearing makeup. The group also spends a full minute detailing how it has progressed on every album "except for the first one, which wasn't a progression at all because it was the first."

Fangs, anyway: Venom blazed trails in the field of "evil" publicity photos, but one shoot with a king cobra went awry. The serpent escaped, slithering across the studio and scattering band members before it became tangled in camera cables.

These go to eleven: Cronos' stage banter has a shelf life that rivals "Hello, Cleveland!" The Beastie Boys sampled his "You're wild, man, wild!" on Check Your Head, and the Web site for New Jersey's WFMU (www.wfmu.org) offers as a download an all-banter, no-music recording of the 1985 Venom gig (alongside Black Flag in New Jersey), at which that outburst — along with "You're fuckin' pretty loud, New Jersey!" — originated. — Andrew Miller

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