Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Photo credit: Lady Gig
Born in Kennington, London, Bill started playing guitar his early 20s when his mum bought him a cheap Tony Iommi SG copy, amp and WEM 2x10 Cab.
Bill had always loved Black Sabbath, would take every opportunity to see them live and could name all tracks in order on each album off by heart plus most of the lyrics. Self-taught, he was only interested in playing the classic Sabbath riffs rather than fast lead breaks although he did learn the lead break in Sabbath's War pigs straight away.
He started trying to write Sabbath-style music and found friends liked the tunes.
Alex Cookson, his best friend, liked them so much he decided to also purchase a guitar and as he had a lead guitarist living next door, Alex spent the next year in and out of his house learning to play. Eventually, Bill and Alex decided it was time to find a drummer and bass player so advertised in Melody Maker. Rick Burgess replied, as did Steve Barrs and a rehearsal was arranged. The rehearsal went well, Bill was not the best guitarist in the world, Rick was not the best drummer, Alex not the best lead guitarist and Steve not the best bass player, but the sound was heavy and raw. When Bill came to name the band, initially it was going to be called Blizzard and by a bizarre twist Ozzy Osbourne was just making a comeback with Randy Rhoades and released the album Blizzard of Oz!
Thinking that people would believe the band was simply a Sabbath rip-off, Bill again thought long and hard about another band name.
Then, while watching a film called Demetrious and the Gladiators he saw a scene where bodies were being thrown into a pit and Victor Mature (Demetrious) shouted “That’s Sacrilege”! That was it.
The band would be called Sacrilege. In fact, the song In the Arena is inspired by this film. Bill had written about 8 tracks by this point and the band decided to cut their first demo.
They booked Elephant recording studios in Wapping, London and recorded Sacrilege, The Ruler, Lucifer and You’re Too Possessive plus an intro. They started recording at 8pm and finished at 6am as this was the cheapest time to record. Now they had completed the demo they set about getting some gigs and approached the 101 club in Clapham Junction and the Ad Lib in Kensington, convincing them that they were worth a headline spot at both Venues.
In the meantime, Bill’s Dad had sent the demo to the TV companies as they were asking for six new bands to play on the David Jensen show.
Bill, not knowing about this, received a call from somebody from ITV saying the Sacrilege demo had been picked out of many thousands of records and tapes.
In December 1983 Sacrilege played on the David Jensen show with U2 and The Stranglers. There have been a few changes in members in Sacrilege over the years, but Bill always believes that Sacrilege should be at their best for every show.
Bass & Backing Vocals
Photo credit: Chiara Galliano
Despite being probably the clumsiest person ever to pick up a bass guitar, Captain Chaos (as he is known) has managed to survive playing bass guitar in rock and punk bands since the late 1970s.
After gigging extensively in South and West London, Jeff moved to the West Country in the late '90s and has continued with a busy playing schedule, which has taken him to France and New Zealand.
Having known Bill for many years, Jeff grasped the opportunity to work with him in Sacrilege and to take the band's music to a wider audience.
Influences; Lemmy, Algy Ward, Jean-Jacques Burnel
Equipment Overwater bass guitar, Ampeg and Hughes & Kettner amplification, Marshall and Hartke bass bins
Neil grew up learning the rudiments of drum soloing with The Mule, the classic Ian Paice drum solo from Deep Purple's Made In Japan live album. He figured if he could play that then he could play anything else! The record wore out before he could play it. In the meantime Neil decided that another Neil, the so called The Professor on the Drum kit, Neil Peart, was now very interesting. It seemed even more likely that if you could play all those Rush songs on drums there wasn't anything else to play!
The next few years concentrated on all the grooves and licks from All The Worlds A Stage, A Farewell To Kings, Moving Pictures until perfected and the neighbours had given up banging on the door complaining about noise pollution.
Neil featured in the critically acclaimed Dervish heavy rock outfit (as Neil Travis!), recording many humongous self penned songs which eventually won the band Metal Godz of the Year in Germany. What were they on?
Eventually the band folded in a devastation of frustration with progress like most other bands. A multitude of bands and travels followed visiting and playing across 55 countries.
On returning he formed (Deep) Purple with the great late Brian Matthews so that he could be Ian Paice (again).
After 5 years in Deep Purple, he then switched to Europe's Premier Whitesnake tribute outfit Snakebite and toured the UK inside and out on the Legends Of Rock tour. He even got to kiss Phil Lynott's Mum on stage in Dublin!
Snakebite somewhat self imploded after the successful series of O2 shows in the UK, so another project was needed. Following many conversations with his dog he turned to the Cold Steel formation to see if a lifelong dream could be achieved? After some real fun shows, he figured it was time to return to his roots playing metal rock originals.
The chance to play with Sacrilege was an opportunity not to be missed. What a band!
He figured that if he turned up to audition in his Ferrari they would think he was a proper rock star...the rest is history.
Photo credit: Valeria Campagnale
Whilst studying classical guitar at school in Hull, Paul started listening to Status Quo and Sweet, then when introduced to Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, UFO and Led Zeppelin, there was no turning back. He was soon the proud owner of a Watkins Rapier 33 and keen to learn every solo by greats such as Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi and Rory Gallagher. He formed a couple of bands at school playing rock covers and a number of his own songs.
In 1980 Paul joined Salem formed by Paul Tognola and Paul Conyers from Hull’s NWOBHM heroes Ethel The Frog. They recorded a handful of demos and a single, with music mainly composed by Paul, playing across the north east of England. After three years and a few line-up changes, Salem called it quits.
He continued playing guitar and teaching, dabbling with some jazz and classical styles, moving to the south west and joining cover bands.
At the suggestion of his brother Phil, Paul posted some of Salem’s 1980s recordings on MySpace (remember that?) and was pleasantly surprised when loads of people began listening to it. Following this, he had the opportunity to reunite the band and release all the 80s demos. Over the next eight years, Paul secured deals for the band for three new albums, featuring many of his compositions, and gigs/festivals throughout the UK, across Europe and even in Dubai. When the band was wound-up in 2018, Paul carried on with Paul Mendham and Mark Allison as From Salem.
Paul joined Sacrilege in January. This was initially a temporary arrangement then, after a series of gigs in UK and Europe, Paul was keen to become a permanent member of Sacrilege.
Equipment: Paul is using Gibson SG and Les Paul, and Ibanez RG guitars with Sacrilege. He is also a Blackstar endorsed artist.
Lighting & Pyro Techician
Richard is a valuable member of Sacrilege.
He is our lighting and Pyro Technician.
Sacrilege couldn't put on the show they do without him, even if he keeps threatening to blow up various band members!