Can you tell us about the origin of the band name, a history of the band and a little bit about the various members?
Bill: In 1981 I was thinking of starting a band and decided on Blizzard until Ozzy decided to call his band Blizzard of Oz so it was back to the drawing board. While watching a film on TV call Demetrius and The Gladiators, the dead Gladiators were being thrown into a big pit after losing their fight and Victor Mature (the star of the film) looked at all these bodies and said that’s Sacrilege. I immediately liked the idea of calling my band Sacrilege. The original members were myself, Alex Cookson, Lead Guitar who I haven’t seen for 25 years, Rick Burgess who I recently caught up with at Legends of Rock festival and looked every bit the part in those days and a good guy, it was great to see him again and Steve Barrs on Bass who I also haven’t seen since the early 80s.
Jeff: I’ve been playing for over 40 years, starting in a punk band in 1978. It’s mainly been originals bands, but there’s been a few covers bands in there as well over the last 15 years.
Are you all from the same area? How did you get together as a band?
Bill: We’re spread out over quite a wide area. From East to West, Neil lives near Norwich, myself near to Gillingham, Jeff is in Andover, Hants and Paul near Bristol.. We’re a local band in many places!
Jeff: I originally got to know Sacrilege as a great friend of mine (hi Steve!) played drums in one of the early line-ups. Fast forward 20-odd years and when Bill was releasing self-produced albums, one of the lead guitarists he worked with played in the band I was in at the time. Bill recorded a few tracks with us essentially as his backing band. About 10 years ago Bill called me to ask if I would Dep for a couple of gigs in Yorkshire while they found a permanent bass player. They still haven’t found a permanent player so I’m still depping with them!
Who are your favourite artists/bands and how have they influenced your own sound?
Bill: Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and more recently Nightwish.
Jeff: My favourite band is Motorhead. I’ve nicked stuff from many bass players, and Lemmy’s style fits well with Bill’s writing.
Did you always have the ambition to be a musician and in a band or did you originally have other plans?
Bill: I had no ambitions to be in a band and it was even more of a shock that I found I could write songs and people liked them! I use to enjoy going to gigs and went nearly every night in London whether it was Metal or Punk and it was only when my then best friend Alex started learning guitar as he had a friend that lived next door who was in a band called Dogwatch that was teaching him that I thought if he’s learning lead then I’m going to get a Bass Guitar (even though I couldn’t play a note!) I tried learning but was rubbish and impatient so I then decided to get a lead guitar, why I don’t know but I found I could write songs on it even with my limited ability so then I advertised in Melody Maker for a Bass player and a friend of mine Peter Tarling suggested I ask His Friend Rick if he was interested and we became Sacrilege
Jeff: Right from when I first got into music, I wanted to do something, but it was punk that made me take the plunge. I really wanted to be a drummer but I’m the least co-ordinated person on the planet!
What songs or albums are on your current playlist?
Bill: Most Nightwish songs but Sabbath and Priest are never that far from me
Jeff: The new album by Billy Bio is excellent and I’ve recently been introduced to a glam/sleaze band called The Carburettors so I’ve been listening to them, and Motorhead and Slayer are never far away. Obviously I also listen to whatever’s playing on The Metal Asylum!
Do you sing in the shower?
Bill: Nooooooooo, I only started singing as we didn’t have a singer and the sacrilege screams were an accident, we were recording In the arena and I though a scream would be great at the beginning and wish we had someone that could do that so decided to have a go, the first few weren’t great but I finally got the hang of it, strange thing is I think I sing and scream better now than I did back in the 80s.
Jeff: Not often – much to the relief of my neighbours!
Do you have any plans for the band for this year and into next year?
Bill: we are releasing a DVD from our Metal Maniacs Festival show and we hope to record maybe an EP but nothing has been agreed date wise yet.
Jeff: We’re always on the lookout to play, so hit us up if you want us to come to your town.
Do you currently have any new songs/albums ready to be released?
Bill: like my previous answer we are thinking of recording but I want to make sure anything we do record is worthy of being good enough for a Sacrilege album or EP, I don’t just want to release something for the sake of it.
If you could play at any venue in the world where would you choose?
Bill: I’d love to do Wacken or a Show in Vegas but Playing Hammersmith Odeon where all my hero’s have played would be the pinnacle.
Jeff: Anywhere with a big stage for me to run around on! The Minack Theatre on the Cornish coast would be cool – it’s a smaller version of a Roman amphitheatre cut into the cliffs and there’s the waves breaking behind the stage
Do you have a favourite album? If so, what is it?
Bill: Not really there are so many classic albums.
Jeff: No – I do have a favourite single, “Complete Control” by The Clash.
Do you have any guilty pleasure songs/albums?
Bill: Can’t tell you those sort of things haha (I do love a crooner though) Neil Diamond, Engelbert Humperdinck to name a couple haha
Jeff: Yeah a few. “Come Hell or Waters High” by Judie Tzuke is guaranteed to turn me into a blubbering wreck!
If you were putting together the greatest show on earth, who would be playing?
Bill: Sabbath, Priest, Nightwish, Scorpions, WASP, Deep Purple and Sacrilege.
Jeff: Motorhead, Slayer, Girlschool, Rocket From The Crypt, Sick of It All – and Sacrilege!
Can you remember the first album you bought with your own money? What was it and do you still have it?
Bill: Kimono my House – Sparks
Jeff: No, not exactly, but it ‘s likely to have been Ziggy Stardust or something by The Faces or Mott The Hoople. I still have all the albums I bought from that time.
As your fans will be reading this, is there any message you would like to send out to them?
Bill: Yes I like to thank everyone that has come out to see us and support us often travelling many miles, it’s hard to name individual names but a special thank you to The Rock Den Massive, everyone at the Carlisle Hastings and also the many DJs like you Dawn and all the DJs at Metal Devastation radio, James whittall (Calida Rocks), Darren Joyce (Denim and leather), Carlos Santos in Portugal, Danny Wilde (Vegas Rocks) and everyone at Hasting Rocks Radio especially Nick Thomas then there’s Cliff Minors, Mark Taylor there are many others that have both supported us and helped us and I thank you all.
Jeff: I’d like to thank everyone for their support both for us in particular and the underground metal scene more widely. I know times are tough for many at the moment, but I do hope we’ll get the chance to see as many of you as possible.
Finally, let us know all your social media sites so your fans, old and new, can find and follow/like you!
We, at The Metal Asylum, would like to thank you for your time. Is there is anything further that you would like to add?
Jeff: I’d like to thank you for your support too, we genuinely appreciate it, and on a personal level I love being a part of the community of Metal Devastation Radio. with friends such as you both. See you in chat!
This interview is solely the property of The Metal Asylum