[At the ripe old age of twelve I discovered the band Black Widow. It was quite a few years ago, and the band was old even then. They released their infamous Sacrifice album in 1970, before a lot of us fans were even born. So, there I was, perusing a used record shop's cassettes when I found a strange compilation called 'Metal Inferno.' I was already into bands like Slayer and Venom, but none of the names on this comp sounded familiar, except Venom. To this day I'm not familiar with most of the obscure bands that were on it. Well, I gave it a try and most of the stuff wasn't exactly to my liking, until a strange and unique song came on called 'Come to the Sabbat.' The compilation labeled the artist wrong as only 'Widow,' which in the days without the internet only complicated my search for more material. I hadn't heard anything remotely like 'Come to the Sabbat' and to this day, hundreds and hundreds of bands later, still haven't. They were pioneers of their time and blazed a trail for all who would follow. It was great to talk to a member of this once mysterious band. Here we interviewed Clive, a very cool and fan-friendly member of the band who played the unforgettable flute parts of 'Come to the Sabbat' among other interesting tracks. While Black Widow might not be for everyone, with their very theatrical portrayal of black magic/the occult, every metal fan should hear this remarkable band at least once, especially my favorite 'Come to the Sabbat,' which, like a childhood nursery rhyme to me now, all these years later, still beckoning me to 'Come, Come, Come to the Sabbat, Come to the Sabbat, Satan's There...']

The following interview is done with Clive Jones.

Greetings Clive, first, thanks for your time and thoughts. I just heard a sample of your new song ĎHail Satan' with Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath) doing guest vocals and wow, it truly is something great. It's a rockin' song and you've managed to capture that uniqueness of sound that made the old Black Widow so great. Can you tell us how the collaboration came about? You obviously worked well together. Will he do any other vocal work on the album?

Thanks, 'Come to the Sabbat' was tipped to go to No.1 when released way back in 1970. One of the reasons it didnít was because it was banned in the UK. I always thought there has never been a song like it in 40+ years later so I decided to write the follow up using the same format (i.e. the flute, the chant, the black magic lyrics) and I'm so pleased with the result.
We met Tony Martin (Black Sabbath) after we had recorded the album. Tony and his wife came over to see me and we exchanged 'Black' stories and I played him the album. He had some good ideas and went away with the idea of singing one of the songs, but most were in the wrong key for his extraordinary voice, so he chose to add his vocals to "Hail Satan" and we are thrilled with the results.
It's possible we may work together again or we may record a Tony song as a thank you on the next Black Widow album.

I'm really looking forward to the release, which you tell me will be around Halloween?

Yes, since Geoff & Myself have returned to the black magic theme it's great that the album is ready for Halloween. I cant say the date as yet as this will be announced with our new webpage and videos and a radio show, but it will be just before Halloween, so everyone can play it at their parties (lol).

Many people's introduction to Black Widow is the legendary song ĎCome to the Sabbat,' it sure was for me. But only recently have I learned that it isn't the original version and that the original version was done by the original vocalist of the band, Kay Garret. I'm burning with interest to hear this original version and I'm sure a lot of others are as well, so can you tell us how we can hear it? Has it been re-released?

Well the 'Come to the Sabbat' you know so well is from the album Sacrifice, but before we released that album we made a demo of the album and Kay sang what you call the original. I had this demo album under my bed for 30+ years and then I met a friend who had a record company called Mystic Records. He went crazy when he found out I had this album and even crazier when I told him I also had another unreleased B/W album.
Both albums came out on his label and are available from Mystic Records. Just put it in Google as 'Mystic Records UK' and it will come up. The demo was titled 'Return to the Sabbat' and the other album is Black Widow 4. Both had never been released. 'Return to the Sabbat' has the most amazing cover!!
Also whatís interesting is Kay has sang vocals on the new album after not being in the studio for many years. She still has an amazing voice and is featured on the song 'Even the Devil Gets the Blues.'

Speaking of Kay Garret, she is now singing again with Black Widow, her first time since 1969. The new release, called ĎSleeping with Demons' is much anticipated. Personally, I can't wait to hear it. Based upon what I've heard so far, it's going to be really cool. You mentioned in another interview that this is the album that you should have made after 1970's ĎSacrifice.' First, why did you wait for over forty (!) years to finally make it? Is it everything that you envisioned?

Well I think what I said was we should of never left the black magic that we loved so much, but others in the band insisted we change, and to be honest we became just another prog rock band, although we had some great songs like 'Mary Clark' and 'Legend of Creation' from B/W 2, and 'The Battle' from B/W 3.
Clive Box, the original drummer and myself wanted to stay with what we did best and maybe do even another stage show. In the end we were proved right, so after 40+ years I get my wish and we return to what we do best; Black Magic. It's been a long time in the making but Geoff and myself are thrilled with it. It was recorded in Thailand, Germany, Italy, & the UK.

I must admit, I was kinda hesitant to accept this new release. Like a lot of others, I wondered if you could pull off a new Black Widow album after so much time had passed, but based upon what I've heard so far, it is sounding great. Is it hard to do?

Thatís a great question, yes it's certainly hard when you are just using one concept. Geoff and myself wrote separately. Geoffís contribution is another story that covers 10 songs, rather like the whole Sacrifice album did. That could be acted out but I'm not sure we would do it but maybe a theatre company at some time might consider it?
Geoff writes in the style of the Black Widow we all know, where my style is more like the band Agony Bag I used to be in (look up 'Rabies is a killer' on youtube.com if you want to see something yet again a bit different). With this album we wanted to show that black magic can also be fun. There is a crazy song 'Party Time for Demons' on the album that says it all. If you have a Halloween party you just have to play this.
Some people will not like it and others will but you can only do your best I guess. It will be compared to 'Sacrifice' and that has now become a cult album. We personally feel this is a better album, but then I guess we would (lol). Regardless of what anyone says we are proud of it, Black Widow are back.

Black Widow is famous for its Satanic themes. How much of that is theatrical or is it a real belief? Do you consider yourself a Satanist?

No, Iím not a Satanist but certainly I'm a believer. Iíve seen many strange things and as I told before I have met what might not be Satan, but what certainly was a Demon twice. The first time in daylight and the second time when I was returning home at night with the band. Most of us saw the Demon and it appeared at the same place I first saw it.
If you have ever seen an American B movie called 'Jeepers Creepers 2' then thatís what I came face to face with. I often wondered if I went back to that place if the Demon would appear again? I guess one day I will find out. My partner is very spiritual and lots of things happen at our house. When Geoff and his wife stayed here she was frightened when an evil woman came into the bedroom when she was alone and now will not go in there on her own. She did not want to tell us at the time but Geoff told us when they returned to Thailand (I have yet to meet that spirit lady but she is one of many that live here with us).
I have to say we do live on top of a graveyard that all the people that died in the London plague and fire of '1666' were buried in at Dunchurch.

On the topic, we like to ask a few philosophical questions in our interviews. So speaking of religion, how do you envision death? Is there something after the physical body dies?

Yes I'm sure there is as I have said our house has its own guests or are we the guests??
Certainly my mother came back to visit me after she died. I never saw her but she came to me one night and said something personal. People say "oh you imagined it" or "you had a drink" but I know she came back.
I donít like the idea of death simply because I think what will happen to my precious things, my saxophone & flute, my record collection, my animals and the people I know. One of the greatest things you can leave is music. When I play my first ever recording 'Pesky Gee!' the band is all back together again and no one can split us up. I have worked as a carer and seen many people that are about to die, it's usually not a nice thing. I guess itís the dying I'm not looking forward to. Death will come anyway.

A big part of the old Black Widow stage shows were very ritualistic and with occult themes. Did you and do you practice any sort of occult rituals off stage? What do you think about your countryman Aleister Crowley?

No, I donít practise any rituals off stage, and I certainly donít pray. I can't say anything about Aleister Crowley.

Clive Jones and Tony Martin The state of the world grows more dark and violent each day. Nearly every person we've ever interviewed doesn't see any hope for things getting better anytime soon. They believe a collapse is inevitable. History teaches us that every great civilization falls and that it is cyclical. Do you personally see a hope for the future of mankind? What do you think of the current state of the world?

Well we know strange things are happening to our planet, a lot of which caused by man himself. I sometimes despair for the world when I read about the things that happen, even the small things, the acts of violence between man and man or man and animal.
I just have a horrible fear that this might in fact be Heaven and this is going to be as good as it gets??

Back to the music... No band knows censorship more than Black Widow. The band was banned in many countries, including England. Your early works got a lot of attention and were very controversial in the 1970's, yet if ĎSacrifice' was released today, you probably wouldn't have those problems. It was a different world then compared to now. How do you feel about censorship and do you have any personal experiences you can share?

Yes, Black Widow had the most bad luck any band could have. First we were banned from the USA because of the Manson murders, then our label CBS released 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' the same day as Sacrifice came out and pressed nothing else for weeks. The continual mixup with Black Sabbath didnít help, we even had the same management at the time.
The press in some cases worked for us by them saying "donít let your kids see this band" which meant we played to full houses (when did anyone do what their parents ever said??). The problem we had was it became difficult to get radio plays on the BBC, now there are so many stations all playing what they want to. You have to remember Black Widow were the first we made it easy for everyone else afterwards.
With I guess the exception of my other band Agony Bag I'm sure we were the first to have sex on stage and not always with our girl dancers.
But now a days it's hard to shock. You certainly won't shock me. I was always surprised at the Sex Pistols success which started just because they swore on tv. How dull, what was that all about??

It's hard to believe that Black Widow put out ĎSacrifice' in 1970. I don't know of anything else like it at the time. It was unique and cutting edge. When I first heard ĎCome to the Sabbat' in the early 90's, I was pretty damn surprised it was done in 1970. Black Widow made Black Sabbath look tame. Today there are thousands of bands that followed your footsteps, one way or another, since there was nothing like your band out there, who inspired you?

Well we were one of the first bands to actually do an act to the music. Black Sabbath were and are still a great band. At the time both bands were doing their own thing but Black Sabbath stuck together and we fell apart. It is as simple as that we had a couple of guys who had big egos and that ruined the whole thing. They thought they were God's gift to music (lol). They ended up doing very little on their own.
Maybe thatís why Geoff and myself wanted to bring Black Widow back, we never really got the recognition at the time. Since then Black Widow have become a cult band and everyone wants to know about the band. We did invite some of the other X members to join us but it's been a long time and they are doing other things out of the music business, but they wished us well with the new album. We hope they like it.
Who inspired myself, thatís easy, my hero Phil Spector, the greatest producer of all time and a very mystical man. Of course now he is in prison for murder, well that all adds to the mystery about the man. I would love to meet him, although it might not be a pleasant experience, but just to say thanks for the hours of pleasure your work gives me.

Lastly, what are your future plans? Can we expect the band to release more albums? Any plans of touring? Would a Black Widow live show be full of the dark theatrics and controversy of the past? Final Comments?

Thanks for the interview. At this moment we are not sure of our plans. Certainly Geoff and myself hope to do another album. We both have other projects that we are working on but we do want to follow the Black Widow album up with another one, at least, and with other guests. The keyboard player on this album 'Sleeping with Demons' is Paolo "Apollo" Negri, one of the best players in the world and he has said heís up for another one (lol).
We hope to tour, it would be great to see the places we missed the first time around and visit the USA at last.
I must say Iíve never been in what you would call a straight band yet. Not one that just goes on stage and plays, so I'm sure we would do something crazy. Last year I got to do some UK dates with Propagandhi from Canada who had recorded 'Come to the Sabbat' and asked me to guest with them. They wanted me to wear all my black magic cloaks and stuff, it was great for the first 20 mins then the stage mysteriously caught fire and the show was abandoned.
So you never know what might happen at a Black Widow gig, I hope to see yourself and Satan in the front row!

Clive Jones

Black Widow are Clive Jones & Geoff Griffith.

Smack Management

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Clive Jones and Propagandhi

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