updated : 9/4/21



Band changes name to:


The new name SABBAT was chosen unanimously by the band to reflect the atmosphere of their live shows;- ” A gathering of Witches and evil doers for the express purpose of harming righteous Christian souls”

“Well, we were basically a new band, which started us thinking about a new name. Andy’s mum lent me this book, ‘Witches’ by Erica Jong, which was a very influential book for Sabbat, and a lot of other thrash bands actually. I was reading it, because we’d decided to go with the paganism theme rather than Satanism. We used an image from it for our first demo cover. I was looking through it at rehearsal, talking about band names, and I saw something in the book that caught my eye and said, ‘What about Sabbat?’ Andy went away and did our logo, and even though it had a tail on it , it looked like how it’s written in the book.”

The name Sabbat came from a book on witchcraft, but I actually found some old school books of mine with ideas doodled on them so I’m sure I had some doing in suggesting it, but I do remember we liked the way the word looked in the scrawly type of writing so we went with it.’

Andy: “Now why did we change the name to Sabbat? I had a witchcraft book…”
“Erica Jong, a book called ‘Witches’,” Martin remembers.
“That’s right! We liked the artwork in it.”
“Yeah the artwork was phenomenal. There was a chapter simply called ‘Sabbat’.”
“In fact,” muses Andy, “the way the logo is was a little like the way the heading was written. We didn’t think much about it, we just tried to find a name to fit with the image.”

“And then Andy told us that his dad owned this electronics company in Ripley, and the building they owned had this old night club attached to it, the full works: a proper stage, downstairs dressing room, the lot. It had been a proper club, but it was totally empty and available, so we decamped all the way over to Ripley, where we could leave our backline set up all the time. It got bloody cold in the winter, but that didn’t matter, because we were now practising Monday and Thursday night, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons, solidly.
Our mentors were Hell; Dave Halliday even did our first photo session for us, at Wingfield Manor, where Hell had all their famous photos taken. We even had a photo session in his house! But basically, because Dave had taught Andy how to play, Andy had picked up his work ethos as well, and because they had all come from different backgrounds, they rehearsed solidly for six months until they could put a proper show on – which was why they were so good from the off.
And we loved the show side of it, we wanted to be different. So we rehearsed four times a week, and lived and breathed Sabbat. There were so many bands that were all the same; we really wanted to do something different… especially because of the lyrics and that. It didn’t really suit what we were singing about , going out there in jeans and t-shirts, and people got quite into it.
Anyway, we worked solidly for six months. We built stage sets, these big ‘flats’ with Aleister Crowley images on them and everything. We didn’t have big Marshall stacks, so they would help to fill the stage a bit. We always wanted to appear bigger than we were. We built a load of gravestones, after seeing Demon, who blew us away, and we had lights to go in Mark’s bass drums; he made these eyes to go with them, and we set them in time to a trigger. We were always buying lights and pyrotechnics, the works. But we loved bands like Witchfinder General… in fact, Andy managed to get himself burnt hanging over a pyro pot at one of their gigs. And Hell loved fireworks, of course – we’d be there at the front, shielding our faces from the heat!”

JUN 30 – JUL 1 MAGIC IN THEORY AND PRACTICE Demo tape recorded at MCK Recording Studio


1985 Demo #1

“It was brilliant, it turned out really good. We did one track that Andy and Adam had written together, ‘By Thy Command’ and the other two Andy had written himself; they were ridiculously fast… very Mercyful Fate.”

Two weeks later MARK leaves to reform HYDRA mkII with ADAM.


The drummer left (thankfully) after we did our first demo a couple of months later, I think due to me having a go about his girlfriend being in the studio (you see, good work ethic back then!). It was Tim Bowler (the drummer from Hell) who introduced us to Simon Negus.

Drummer SIMON NEGUS [ex Striptease] joins.



The four found an old deserted ballroom where they met three times a week for rehearsals. This proved perfect until the winter when they found out that the temperature in their comfortable ballroom dropped to below freezing. Out came the socks and thick jumpers and rehearsing went on. In May ’86 their first demo which cost them just £10 was recorded at this very venue.