Bill Beadle, Sacrilege – Interview, February 2014

Bill Beadle front man at Sacrilege interview by @LouellaDeville_ @Planetmosh

Sacrilege return to the stage after 25 years. Appearing recently at Winterfest 2013 at Warehouse 23. Bill Beadle front man and founder tells us a bit about the band, their history and why they are back quarter of a century later: –

Sacrilege reformed in late 2012 after stopping playing live in 1983. Why did you decide call it a day back then?

Sacrilege in the 80s
Sacrilege in the 80s

So many reasons really, from band members, dodgy agents/promoters and just bad luck! I remember constantly writing songs, arranging rehearsals, finding gigs, doing all the promotional work, sending demos to record companies, picking the band members up for rehearsals or gigs, as I worked for a courier company and had their van to use during the evenings, and dropping them home in the early hours and then being up at 6 for work next day, only for band members to ask, “when’s the next gig? Are we rehearsing this week Who is picking me up? Are we getting paid?” Of course not all band members were like this, but I did feel like I was the only one pushing the band forward. Maybe it was because I wrote all the songs and got the band together in the first place that they felt they were in “my band” rather than it being “our band”, who knows, I was young.

With promoters/agents, in those days everyone wanted to know you if they thought they could make some cash and promised you this and that as long as you signed a contract or promise you these gigs if you put this much money up front etc

Sacrilege IM PosterOn the bad luck side. We were playing some good venues and people were getting to know the band, John Glover’s independent label wanted a track called Ratrace to go on their new compilation album which was also to feature Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard and Angel Witch amongst others so we recorded the track at Shepperton Studios with a producer to make sure the track was the best it could be. Unfortunately for us, John also had a band called Go West on his books who got a number one single and the album was dropped while all monies was channelled into the Go West Project. Then Iron Maiden were coming to see the band at a venue in Northampton with a view to putting us on as support for their next tour but our drummer, who worked in a pancake house in London, fell the night before the gig splitting his hand open and in no way could he even hold a drumstick let alone play and the gig was cancelled. The accumulation of these, and other things, lead to me thinking it wasn’t to be and I stopped enjoying what I was doing so decided to call it a day.

Why did you decide to reform Sacrilege after all this time?

I met John Berry who played in 70s band Mud and who is now with Slade and built a great friendship with him and eventually become Mud’s band driver. Every time Mud did their sound check I was always thinking what might have been if I had continued with Sacrilege, and it made me think I have unfinished business with Sacrilege. So after many years of not playing I decided to build a recording studio in my garden and revamp all the old tracks and record new stuff but still with no intention of playing “Live” again. The problem was although I play a fair standard of rhythm guitar I was never the best for the faster lead breaks, Alex used to play those. I listened to other guitarists on the internet and found a fella called Pekka Loikkanen who lives in Finland and asked him if he would put some solos to my tracks, he seemed to really like them and did this for about 10 tracks. I really thought they were great and sounded like I wanted them to sound back in the 80s. Fortunately or unfortunately depending how you look at it, Pekka got another Job in Finland and didn’t have as much time to do the lead breaks on my songs so I advertised for a guitarist in the UK to come round to my studio to record lead bits. Neil Abnett who lived local to me came round and couldn’t believe I wasn’t playing “Live” anymore and convinced me to get my band back together and start touring, I was reluctant at first, remembering how things were before, but decided I would and from the first rehearsal I couldn’t believe how much I had missed playing, whether its because I’m trying to make up for lost time or not I don’t know but I am enjoying it more now that I did back in the 80s.

Why not just form a new band with a new name?

We had a really good name in the 80s and I wanted anyone who knew us then to ask the question ‘Is it the Sacrilege they supported in the 80s?’ Also I have never played in any other band and have never wanted to and, as I wrote all the songs and named the band back then, I couldn’t imagine playing and not being in Sacrilege even if it was my new band with just a name change, I also feel that with this line-up its our band not my band as we all pull together which is great. One thing that isn’t helpful about the band name is, since I stopped in the 80s another Sacrilege came out, a thrash metal band with a female singer, by all accounts they were very good but we do still get mixed up with people thinking we are them! (I look nothing like a girl!) lol

The name Sacrilege was copy written as was the track “Sacrilege” we did for TV in the 80s but, since I had stopped playing and didn’t think I would play again, I didn’t care that another band was calling themselves Sacrilege but as I say it is a bit annoying when people think we are thrash Metal.

At the Winterfest a couple of girls came up to me after our set and said they weren’t going to come to see us as they weren’t keen on thrash, then when we started they were so pleased we were classic heavy rock and came to the front for the whole show. When I spoke to them after our set they said “we were just saying to each other where the hell have these guys been all these years”! Which was really nice but you can see the band name problem we have from time to time.

Sacrilege in the 80s
Sacrilege in the 80s

What happened to the original members? Are you still in contact and if so have they been to any recent gigs?

Alex Cookson my best friend and lead guitarist had some issues and we lost touch after the band finished. A shame as we went to primary school together, I haven’t seen him for 25 years.

Steve Barrs Bass, again I haven’t seen him for years but did speak to his son a while back when he saw one of his dad’s TV appearances with Sacrilege. I spoke to him briefly on the phone but we never followed up.

Rick Burgess drums, I am not sure what he is doing but he has threatened to come to a Sacrilege gig. Another old friend of mine told me they both are trying to make a gig soon.



Tell us about the current line up?

Sacrilege in 2014
Sacrilege in 2014

The current line up is fantastic: –

Neil Turnbull on drums a real powerhouse drummer who has not only made Sacrilege sound more powerful but his enthusiasm for the music makes him a pleasure to be and play with. Neil has played many big gigs around the country and abroad and has played in bands such as Dervish in the 80s and tribute bands Purple and Snakebite.

Jeff Rolland on Bass. Another fantastic player and great guy. Like Neil he has all the enthusiasm for the music both studio and live. I have known Jeff for many years and am so glad he is in Sacrilege. Jeff has played for bands in the UK and as far as New Zealand, as well as in a different Snakebite to the one Neil was in – spooky! The two of them really create a great rhythm section.

Dave Burgess. No relation to Rick. Dave is very new to the band and has played for many cover bands and hopefully will add to the sacrilege sound.

Richard Ellender the band pyro technician and lighting engineer. Sacrilege couldn’t possibly put the show on that they do without him.

Who are Sacrilege’s biggest influences?

That’s an easy question, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Rush, Kiss to name a few. Also really enjoyed watching and listening to Saxon, Maiden, and the NWOBHM bands that were around at our time.

Can you tell us about the stage show the band used to put on?

This was and still is so important to Sacrilege. In the 80s even if we played a small venue we went out of our way to put on a full show.this would include a coffin, tombstones, dry ice along the floor plus pouring out or 4×12 speaker cabs and from the drum riser. Pyros, lasers, strobes and when available a grim reaper! The band’s thoughts then were, if the crowd don’t know us they could listen to a record but they will remember us more if we put the full show on! Besides we love all that stuff going on while playing. We also had real long straw type grass I got from a studio prop centre which still had the clumps of earth at the bottom, we lay this all around the stage to give the cemetery affect but left one hell of a mess to clear up after the show! lol

Will you be working with the same props/stage show in future?

Yes we will apart from the grass at the moment but we are working on that. Although some venues have strict fire regulations so smoke and Pyros are sometimes banned so we use extra lighting.

Which is the best/biggest gig you have ever played?

I have played Hammersmith Odeon size venues with Sacrilege but enjoyed the old Marquee in London as a favourite venue. After the first TV appearance we played some large venues here and abroad but can’t really give you a name as it was quite a while ago.

Neil has played all over Europe and played on the legends of rock tours which took in all the 02 venues around the country plus festivals abroad.

Jeff has played many gigs and comes into his element, as we all do, with the larger crowd.

Dave has just played in the UK and done some session work on albums but is so looking forward to playing the bigger stages with Sacrilege

Which acts would you like to play on a billing with?

Black Sabbath would be just superb. We have come so close to playing with Iron Maiden I think that would be another great match up. Judas Priest fantastic band, Saxon, Angel Witch, Def Leppard or any of the old 80s bands we use to have so much fun playing alongside.

How many albums have you released?

Best of Sacrilege 1983-2012: Album Cover
Best of Sacrilege 1983-2012: Album Cover

5 albums plus a best of: –

Gates of Hell
The Unknown Soldier
The Wraith
Best of Sacrilege 1983-2012

We have a new album coming out this Summer.

Who does the album artwork for you?

Tigsart. A young designer who does great artwork for the band.

What have Sacrilege got planned for 2014?

Power & Glory Festival 2014
Power & Glory Festival 2014

We are playing: –
Tavarock festival in Milan 3rd May
Flairz Hastings 24th May
A support to Dennis Stratton (ex iron Maiden) who does the Iron Maiden early years 7th June Red Lion Gravesend
Leofest Red Lion Gravesend 19th July
Forever sun festival Dorchester 26th July
The power and the Glory Festival 23rd August

The new album in between dates and already working on making 2014 the biggest year ever for Sacrilege.


Any final message?

Anyone that hasn’t seen the band come along and give us a try for a great night of power heavy metal with a great stage show.

This isn’t a revival; this is Sacrilege bigger and better than ever! We plan on getting around the country to as many venues as possible this year so hope to meet some of you soon.

Thank you to Bill and Sacrilege for taking the time to answer our questions.

Sacrilege were recently reviewed at Winterfest 2014:

[amazonmp3 asin=”B00C2GJ81C”]

About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!