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INTERVIEW WITH BILL BEADLE
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Sacrilege band, formed in 1982 by singer, songwriter and guitarist Bill Beadle, is back with their 3rd album with Pure Steel Records, since returning in 2012 after a break of 25 years.
“The Court Of The Insane”, already reviewed here, is the 7th studio album for this band with their unique style Sacrilege have shown on this album a hard style with metal sound influences with a deepest sound.
Guest of Rockers And Other Animals, Bill Beadle answers questions about the band's career, the long break and the new album coming out soon.
Hello Bill, welcome to the pages of Rockers... It's a great pleasure to be able to ask you direct questions.
First of all, how are you doing after surgery on your shoulder?
Hi Valeria, thanks for asking me to do the interview, the shoulder is getting better all the time thank you and I hope to be playing guitar again very soon.
I would say to start by asking you about "The Court Of The Insane", which I personally find very prone and of immediate impact.
How did the new album come about and what do you want to convey to your audience with it?
I actually wrote this alum nearly 3 years ago (2 years after six6six) but we have had so many problems with finding the right Lead guitarist after Tony Vanner left and also finding the time between gigs to record it, in the end we asked Dave Lear a friend of ours and great lead Guitarist to do the album which I believe he’s done a great job, Tony can still be heard on a couple of tracks.
"The Court Of The Insane" immediately seemed to me to be an intimate album, dark and in some ways very reminds me of the sound of the first Sisters Of Mercy and Black Sabbath, maybe I'm wrong, but after so many years the band has found itself with a more 'mature' musicality that emphasizes the romanticism, the decadent one, is it just my impression or did you want to create a darker atmosphere?
When I write a song or album I write what I’d like to hear from a band and there’s no conscious effort to be extremely heavy or rocky it’s just how I feel at the time, having said that I never want to write the same album twice but also want to keep the Sacrilege sound, since Black Sabbath are my favorite band I think it’s natural that their influence is reflected in my writing. I think this album is completely different from Six6six which was a lot more doomy and I agree with you this album does feel a more mature album.
What inspired you to write songs like "Celestial City", "Depression" and "Can Hear The Silence"?
I ask you about these three songs in particular because they are my favorites, especially "Depression".
I wrote ‘Celestial City’ first as I wanted a really heavy start to follow up and connect with Six6six before launching into the main part of the song, at this point I didn’t know what the album would be called, like a lot of Sacrilege songs I try and have different parts to a track to keep the interest as long as they all fit well and the added keyboards I put to this song I think adds an awful lot to it, a bit like The traveler from the Sacrosanct album. Depression is a song where the headbanger could just really get into it, even now I find myself headbanging when I hear it, its proving to be very popular to people who have heard it so I’m please you like it as well.
With ‘I can hear the silence’ I had many conversations with Neil (Turnbull) our Drummer about whether it should go onto the album as from the demo I recorded it was different to all the other tracks on the album, maybe even like a track from The Unknown Soldier album, so we weren’t sure it would fit but after recording it we thought it would be ok and I’m glad we did as again people have called it an anthem type track, I’m not sure about that but I think it’s something different to keep the listener interested.
Twenty-five years of the band putting their instruments away, a long break, how Sacrilege is changed in these years?
And what you did, as musician of course, in this time?
Yes, it was a long time away from music that’s for sure in 1987 I wasn’t so tolerant of the hassles running a band involved being young and felt I didn’t need it so stopped and sold all my gear and had no intension of playing again, at this time we only had the Demo album Gates of hell out as you will know. I did numerous jobs including driving for the 70s glam rock band Mud.
In 2007 I decided to redo the Gates of hell album and some other older Sacrilege songs that I wrote and also started writing new material, I have never been a fast lead guitarist so I needed someone to do the solos for me with me giving them my idea on how they should go. I met a guy called Pekka Loikkanen who lives in Finland through a metal site and enjoyed his style of lead playing so asked him to put the lead parts to my songs, he did such a wonderful job I found myself writing more and more tracks still with no intension of playing live again until he couldn’t do the songs anymore due to work commitments and he suggested I got someone more local to do them, this I did and eventually I was persuaded to play one gig live so reluctantly I got some local guys to learn a sacrilege set and a full house in Gravesend saw Sacrilege back for the first time in 25 years, I enjoyed it so much I've been playing live ever since.
Change of lineup from the original one, what has changed and how?
In the early 80s my friend Alex Cookson, the bands first lead guitarist, and myself advertised in melody maker for bass player and drummer to join us, I had only written about 8 maybe ten songs and Rick Burgess and Steve Barrs applied and that was the first sacrilege, we recorded the first demo to get us gigs together in London. There were a few changes to the line up with Alex and myself still playing together until Alex decided he had enough, I continued till 1987 then felt it was all too much hassle so stopped.
Since coming back in 2012 again its taken time getting the right guys into the band but
meeting Neil Turnbull and Jeff Rolland in 2013 I felt Sacrilege were better than ever and these guys are not just band members but really good friends and we just needed that top lead guitarist, this proved really difficult until Tony Vanner joined in late 2015, Tony stayed with us until 2017/18 when he decided the traveling wasn’t for him anymore so after trying to find the right guy for the next year or so in 2019 Paul Macnamara rang me and said he wasn’t doing Salem anymore and he could help till we got the right guy in but after a couple of months with Paul we all got on so well he wanted to stay and we wanted him in so he became permanent guitarist and hopefully sacrilege are now a settled band. Now you can see why the new album took so long to get out.
When you started the band, what were your goals? Is there something you wanted to do with Sacrilege and didn't realize it?
My goals, well I wanted to play Hammersmith Odeon, have a record out and have a great time and I think I have succeeded with all three of those ambitions even if it has been painful at times.
Always looking back, you have always been labeled as a band in the wake of the English movement of the new heavy metal, which is quite bizarre, because you have always been a band with solid roots very hard rock with metal veins. Since you're not a classifiable band anyway, what's the origin of this thing, apart from the fact that people tend to label everything for their own convenience?
I think what you say is spot on. We never said we were NWOBHM or Doom in fact I called us a heavy rock band in the 80s Sabbath style and people do want to label you as this or that, six6six we are a doom band I suppose The wraith album is a soundtrack album then there’s the early Gates of hell and Sacrilege albums. It can also stop you getting on certain festivals for instance we applied to go on the Malta Doom Festival but we were meant to be a NWOBHM band and although we got on that fabulous festival being labelled to one genre certainly doesn’t help I don’t think.
Now, instead, with an eye to the present and the future, what are Sacrilege's most pressing moves?
It’s been difficult since I got the band back together as another couple of bands called themselves Sacrilege without realizing we had the name even though we had played on TV with bands like the stranglers and U2, at the time I didn’t really care as I didn’t think I’d play live again anyway but now its bad because the Birmingham Sacrilege were thrash and some promoters see we have applied and then say no because they think we aren’t the right genre no matter how many times we put this in our band band pack. I’d like to play Keep it true or headbangers open air, Bloodstock would be great so would Wacken, hopefully this new album will convince promoters that don’t know about us that we have 7 albums and two compilations out and are an established band. Next year we are touring Germany and are hoping to do the same in Italy, the last few years we have been playing in the UK, Belgium, Holland and Malta so spreading the sacrilege word may get us on some of the bigger shows.
Could there be a chance to see you play in Italy?
We would love to. I get so many nice messages asking us to come and play it’s a real ambition of mine. I’m talking with someone at the moment about the possibilities but of course any promoters or booking agents interested please get in touch.
Does the moniker Sacrilege have any particular meaning? I mean, is it synonymous with profanation and therefore it is in the religious field or is it also an irreverence of everything?
In 19881/82 I was going to call us Blizzard and I’m a massive Sabbath fan coincidently Ozzy returned with his new band calling themselves Blizzard of Oz so I had to find a different name. While watch a film one night called Demetrius and the Gladiators the star (Victor Mature saw these dead gladiators being thrown into a massive pit, he shouts out ‘That’s Sacrilege’ so I thought what a great name for a band.
Compared to today's music market that is based almost exclusively on the Internet, what are the pros and cons in finding bands and music within reach of mouse, when instead you are looking for news in small record stores? I'm nostalgic, I know!
I’m like you and use to love going into a record shop and listening to a track or two and looking through album covers and taking a risk on buying on just based on the cover, great times. I think these days it’s not ideal, iTunes, Spotify, Deezer etc I suppose it’s just the way the worlds going but for me the record shop and Vinyl was always the best.
When you formed as a band I was 12 years old, I listened to you for the first time with your 1984 Demo, three tracks of which "Ashes to Ashes", which struck me very much and which I still find a current piece. What has changed in these years in the composition and music of Sacrilege? Or rather, in your composition, considering that you are the creator of the songs.
I’m really pleased you liked Ashes to ashes, I still enjoy playing that track now. I think what you said early about the writing becoming more mature is correct, the use of keyboards which I would never have used in the 80s has given another dimension to some songs, hopefully it’s a positive as I know some people probably won’t want keyboards in Sacrilege songs which is why I still write plenty that don’t have Keys. In the 80s id write a song on my guitar and then play it to the guys and hopefully it would sound great but now days I have my own recording studio so I can write the whole song with all the different parts and send them to the guys so that when we get to the studio we all know the song and they then suggest different drum patterns or bass lines etc so I think it’s easier now days to write what you want.
Still about composition, what's most important to you, arrangement, lyrics and melody?
I think personally Melody. My way is, I play a riff and if I like it I try to put a melody to it and if they go together I then sing the first thing that comes into my head, normally this will be what the song is going to be about, after that it’s the different parts and arrangement.
With three adjectives as you would define "The Court Of The Insane" and what would you like this album to be passed on to your fans?
I hope Sacrilege fans will enjoy this album as it’s been a long time coming, it’s got catchy riffs, heavy doomy parts, headbanging parts and interesting intros this is a very sacrilege album and we can’t wait to start playing it live.
I could go ahead and ask you questions to the bitter end, because you are an eclectic and complete musician but I'll let you go... Thanking you for both your time and your availability, is there something you would like to add, maybe something I didn't ask you?
I think you covered most things thank you Valeria hopefully we will get to meet you and tour Italy that would be very special. Thank you
Sacrilege - Lies
Official Video (2017)