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KEVIN SHARP Breaks Down The Pain & Madness Behind VENOMOUS CONCEPT's The Good Ship Lollipop

Plus a reflection on The Black Dahlia Murder's Trevor Strnad.

Venomous Concept

We find Kevin Sharp in an unenviable yet familiar situation to any musician during a lengthy tour: deep in a limbo between towns waiting on the resolution to aggravating mechanical troubles.

Sharp (ex-Brutal Truth, Lock Up, Primate), is on call to dive deep into the conception and release of Venomous Concept's latest studio effort, The Good Ship Lollipop. But at this moment, he's a tour manager managing a problem. Getting tireless metal workhorses Brujeria's tour bus up-and-running for that night's gig.

"Everyone just thinks it's Saturday night and let's get rock n rollin' and stuff, but getting point A to point B with everyone not going to the hospital and vehicles rolling smoothly is kind of a challenge," Sharp jokes, his legendary dark humor on full display early in our interview.

"The older you get, the more you appreciate the things you did and the life you've lived. Obviously, you know, when you're our age, you get nostalgic about things. You look at your life and so many variables could have pushed it in this direction or that. And here we are in a parking lot in front of the Goodwill, 54-years-old, waking up in El Paso."

Pitch black humor and the ability to find levity in the darkest of times is a recurring theme to Sharp's sit-down with Metal Injection.

Silver linings in times of crisis – managing the madness if you will – are front and center to Venomous Concept's newest effort, which Sharp admits could be considered an, at times autobiographical, concept record.

"It explains, in my position, what life was like when it all unraveled," Sharp shares bluntly. "You know, it's a story as much as the next. My ex-wife had chronic illness and what it was like to live next to someone with chronic illness and what it was like to deal with infidelity and madness and cruelty and that sort of thing. It's a story as much as the next one, and everyone has them."

There's catharsis in a work that, on the surface, is the most loose, fun and free collection of cuts the combined might of Sharp, frequent collaborator Shane Embury, John Cooke and newly recruited drummer Carl Stokes have uncorked in Venomous Concept's 20 year history.

Yet, there it is, beneath the liner notes and slick and frantic production, a dark albatross underneath the hopeful visage that mirrors a turbulent few years for its architect.

"The Good Ship Lollipop is all about that, you know? Everything in there, all of the madness, narcissism, gas-lighting, trauma bonding madness, darkness, going places that are uncomfortable. But the only way to process those things for me is to write about it, or create something around it. And actually with my sense of humor, why not do a melodic hardcore punk record about fucking losing your mind?!" Sharp jokes, again finding humor in negative spaces.

"That drives the nail in my sense of humor. I choose to laugh at things versus cry about them, you know?"

Sharp has been upfront and honest about his own struggles with mental illness, penning a raw testimonial to Decibel in the wake of the tragic passing of The Black Dahlia Murder's Trevor Strnad in the spring of 2022.

"It wasn't the easiest thing in the world to write about. I had a lot of people that wrote me and shared their madness with me," he admits, solemnly. "There's a lot of people hurting from the results of what unraveled in the pandemic. A lot of people didn't make it. I got a lot of friends that are struggling in abuse. Some that are struggling with their health, some that are struggling with their mental health. It's just a very difficult time for everyone."

Teasing that the successor to The Good Ship Lollipop is already in the development stages, Sharp doubles down on the chemistry and brotherhood that is Venomous Concept, a wild juxtaposition for the weighty subjects in which the band covers.

"Venomous Concept has always just been a fool's love, you know? We always just kind of got together, told some jokes, wrote some songs, recorded them. We've pretty much always recorded them with our own money and figured things out. This time is a little different. You know, we've gotten further into things that we really want to do.

"And I guess when you get older and you sit there and you're in a van or bus or whatever, and you sit there and you talk a lot of shit about like, 'Oh, I want to do a record that sounds like this,' blah, blah. It's all a bunch of fucking pillow talk. And then along comes the pandemic, and you just kind of have the time to sit down and think about things and make it happen.

"I mean, everyone's trying to figure their thing out. We're all going through shit. I went through a divorce. Shane has family issues. He was at home for X amount of time, and he's got to see his kids. That's all up in his head. Everyone's trying to figure out how to do what we do, and still be who we are."

And Kevin Sharp, by his own admission, is damn proud of who he is.

Venomous Concept's The Good Ship Lollipop is available worldwide through Decibel Records.

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