Black Widow (band)
|Also known as||Pesky Gee! (1966-1969)|
|Genres||Progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal|
|Labels||CBS, Mystic, Black Widow|
|Past members||Kay Garrett
Paolo "Apollo" Negri
Jess "Zoot" Taylor
Black Widow were a rock band that formed in Leicester, England in September 1969. The band were mostly known for its early use of satanic and occult imagery in their music and stage act. The band were often compared with the better-known Heavy metal band Black Sabbath, but the bands were only superficially similar.
The band originally formed in 1966 as Pesky Gee! with Kay Garrett (lead vocals), Kip Trevor (lead vocals, guitar and harmonica), Chris Dredge (guitar), Bob Bond (bass guitar), Clive Box (drums and piano), Jess "Zoot" Taylor (organ), Clive Jones (saxophone and flute). Jim Gannon (guitar, vocals and vibes), replaced Dredge in Spring 1969. The band split in September 1969.
The band released one album for Pye Records as Pesky Gee!, 1969's Exclamation Mark, before Garrett left the band. The remaining band members continued on as Black Widow and released their debut album Sacrifice in 1970. Perhaps better known than their music was the band's use of occult references in their music and their live performances, which were made more controversial with the mock sacrifice of a nude woman. These acts at time were very shocking but now a common use in the underground music scene, black metal. The band attracted further controversy by consulting infamous witch Alex Sanders for advice.
Controversy aside, Sacrifice reached No. 32 on the UK Albums Chart. The band also performed at the Whitsun Festival at Plumpton, UK, and at The Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. By 1971, the band had moved away from its darker occult imagery in an effort to gain a wider audience, which was unsuccessful. Having replaced Bond and Box with Geoff Griffith and Romeo Challenger, Black Widow released the self-titled Black Widow album in 1971 and Black Widow III in 1972 (by which time Gannon had left, replaced by John Culley) to general disinterest before being dropped by CBS Records. The band recorded an album, Black Widow IV, later in 1972 without a recording contract. It was not released then due to the band breaking up, shortly after replacing lead vocalist Kip Trevor, with another singer known as Rick "E" (born Frank Karuba; formerly of 'Plum Nelly').
The album was finally released in 1997 on the Mystic Records label. In 1999 the original recordings of their debut album, made before Garrett left the band, were released as Return to the Sabbat. In 2000 Black Widow Records (an Italian label) released King of the Witches: Black Widow Tribute featuring bands such as Death SS and Church of Misery as well as tracks featuring original members Kip Trevor and Clive Jones. In 2003 Sanctuary Records released an Anthology 2xCD.
In 2007 Mystic Records released an unreleased concert film Demons of the Night Gather To See Black Widow – Live as a DVD. The film included Black Widow's entire Sacrifice album show from 1970. The interest towards Black Widow has been growing and because of that Clive Jones and Geoff Griffith started to work on new Black Widow music. Paolo "Apollo" Negri from an Italian hard rock band Wicked Minds agreed to join the project on keyboards. The latest Black Widow studio album has a title Sleeping With Demons. Tony Martin is featured on the album as a guest vocalist on the song Hail Satan.
Black Widow's most popular song Come to the Sabbat has been covered by many bands and artists including Timberjack (Top 10 hit in New Zealand in 1971), Jon the Postman, Bewitched, Death SS and Propagandhi. Clive Jones of Black Widow together with Mark Pollard & Kevin Brooks wrote an Abba tribute song "Hey You Ring Me Tonigt" recorded by the Swedish band The Airwaves and released 2008 on their 3 tracker CD with the same name (Riverside Records Bonnier Amigo Distribution).
In 2012 guitar player John Culley appeared on a cover version of an old Black Widow song You're So Wrong on Corvus Stone's debut album.
- Kay Garrett (born 5 April 1949, Leicester, Leicestershire). - lead vocals (1966-1969)
- Kip Trevor (born Christopher J Trevor, 12 November 1946, Littlemore, Oxfordshire). - lead vocals, guitar, harmonica (1966-1972)
- Jim Gannon (born James Gannon, 1947, Leicester, Leicestershire). - guitar (1969-1972)
- Bob Bond (born Robert Bond, 2 October 1940, Brighton, Sussex). - bass guitar (1966-1971)
- Clive Box (born in 1946, Leicester, Leicestershire). - drums, piano (1966-1971)
- Chris Dredge - guitar (1966-1969)
- Jerry "Zoot" Taylor (born 10 November 1948, Leicester, Leicestershire). - organ (1966-1973)
- Clive Jones (born Clive Alan Jones, 28 May 1949, Leicester, Leicestershire - 16 October 2014). - saxophone, flute (1966-1973)
- Geoff Griffith (born Geoffrey Griffith, 4 April 1948, Leicester, Leicestershire). (1971-1973)
- Romeo Challenger (born 18 May 1950, Antigua, West Indies). - drums (1971-1973)
- John Culley (born in 1946, Leeds, West Yorkshire). - guitar (1972-1973)
- Rick "E" (born Frank Karupa) - lead vocals (1972-1973)
- Exclamation Mark LP (1969) as Pesky Gee! (Pye Records)
- Return to the Sabbat LP (1969)
- Sacrifice LP (1970 CBS Records)
- Black Widow LP (1971 CBS Records)
- Black Widow III LP (1972 CBS Records)
- Black Widow IV LP (1973 CBS Records)
- Sleeping with Demons CD (2011 Smack Management)
Albums after the break-up
- IV CD (1997 Mystic Records), recorded in 1972
- Return to the Sabbat CD (1998 Mystic Records)
- Demons of the Night Gather to See Black Widow – Live CD/DVD (2008 Mystic Records)
- See's the Light of Day LP/CD (2012 Black Widow Records), unreleased live and studio performances recorded in 1971
- "Come to the Sabbat" b/w "Way to Power" (1970 CBS Records)
- "Wish You Would" b/w "Accident" (1971 CBS Records)
Reissue / compilation
- Return to the Sabbat CD (2001 Black Widow Records)
- Come to the Sabbat – Anthology Double album CD (2003 Sanctuary Records)
- William Ruhlmann. "Black Widow – Allmusic biography". allmusic.com. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 61. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Black Widow biography". Hem.passagen.se. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Plumpton Festival". Ukrockfestivals.com. 24 May 1970. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Discography". Hem.passagen.se. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Blabbermouth.Net". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Rocker reunites 'hellraisers' Black Widow for one last shot – Features – Rugby Advertiser". Rugbytoday.co.uk. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Timberjack". New Zealand On Screen. NZ On Air. Retrieved 2 October 2014.