BLACK WIDOW — the groundbreaking occult progressive hard rock group which was allegedly “banned” by the BBC and besieged by religious nutters when it originally emerged in 1970 — returns to the Sabbat in 2011 with a brand new studio album, “Sleeping With Demons”, released on October 31, distributed by Cargo Records.
“Sleeping With Demons”, which marks a massive return to the black magic roots BLACK WIDOW know so well, is packed with anthemic rock songs, huge chants, soaring hooks, and a storyline with a host of new black magic stories to tell. Written, performed, and produced by Clive Jones and Geoff Griffith, “Sleeping With Demons” also features special guests Tony Martin (lead singer with BLACK SABBATH from 1987 to 1997), Kay Garret and Paolo “Apollo” Negri.
BLACK WIDOW took the world by storm in the 1970s. Hailed as the “original” black magic band, they rivalled BLACK SABBATH, were billed with DEEP PURPLE and YES, and played at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1971, where their set featured “Come To The Sabbat”, the rock anthem from their debut album, “Sacrifice”. The band’s concerts, which featured the mock sacrifice of a nude woman every night on stage, were picketed by religious fanatics, who would preach at the waiting queues warning of the inherent dangers of witchcraft and BLACK WIDOW. But by 1973 the band had imploded and gone their own distinctly separate ways.
Recalling how “Sleeping With Demons” came about, Clive Jones notes, “I had the idea of writing and producing a new BLACK WIDOW album for many years, but that’s all it remained until I traced Geoff Griffith through one of his later bands, MOVING FINGERS. I don’t think I had seen Geoff for about 30-plus years so when he came to visit we had a lot to chat about; Geoff had the same idea, and the really good part was that Geoff had his own studio in Thailand — Clear Blue Sky Studios. I first recruited a fantastic keyboard player, Paolo ‘Apollo’ Negri from the band WICKED MINDS in Italy who were signed to the Black Widow Records label. (The label was nothing to do with us; they just loved the band and had used our name.) I then asked Kay Garret from the original band if she would like to help out; Kay had not been in the studio for many years but she was keen to help with lead and backing vocals — I wrote a blues song for her that she loved and that showed off her unique style — ‘Even The Devil Gets The Blues’.
“In the very early days we had been friendly rivals with BLACK SABBATH — we even shared the same manager for a few years — and the press were always talking about both bands being involved with black magic (something BLACK SABBATH had always denied). So I thought wouldn’t it be a crazy idea to have a BLACK SABBATH member guest on a BLACK WIDOW album? I contacted Tony Martin, lead singer for 10 years with BLACK SABBATH, from a website and to my surprise he came over to see me. We spent a most entertaining day together swopping ‘Black’ stories. I played Tony a demo of the album and he said he would love to guest if we found the right song. Tony chose to swap vocals with myself on the ‘Come To The Sabbat’-styled ‘Hail Satan’.
“It’s taken many years to complete and lots of ‘tears and wine’ but at last after 40-plus years, BLACK WIDOW are back. Turn the lights out, the volume up, and enjoy!”