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Sweet Savage

From: Belfast

Active: 1979-1984; 1996-




NWOBHM with some speed metal tendencies. Best known for the classic "Killing Time", later covered by Metallica, and for the presence of guitarist Vivian Campbell who later found fame with Whitesnake and Def Leppard.

Sweet Savage had a good following in Ireland and played to its largest crowed to date at Slane Castle in 1981, supporting headline acts Thin Lizzy and U2. Also on the bill were Hazel O'Connor, Rose Tattoo, The Bureau and Megahype.

Trevor Fleming left the band in 1981 after the classic debut single was recorded. "Take No Prisoners" / "Killing Time" was released in November 1981 on the bands own Park Records label. Robert Casserly from Dublin joined as singer in 1982 and appears on the second single "Straight Through The Heart" / "Teaser", which was recorded in 1982 but released in June 1983. Viv Campbell left shortly after the recording of the second single in 1982 to join Dio and later turned up in Trinity, Whitesnake and Def Leppard. The band replaced Campbell with Ian Wilson (guitar).

Sweet Savage split in 1984. Ray Haller occasionally resurrected the Sweet Savage name for support slots for bigger acts when they came to Ireland such as Ozzy Ozbourne and Dave Lee Roth, but in truth the band did not really exist anymore.

Sweet Savage reformed in 1996 with three of the original members plus new boy Simon McBride (guitar) and released two albums on Neat.

John 'Harv' Harbinson was vocalist with Sweet Savage during one of the later lineups. He was later in Trojan and Ashanti, among others, and a 90's band called Den Of Thieves. Raymond Haller and Davie Bates both appeared on Den Of Thieves second album "Conspiracy".

Disambiguation: Not to be confused with the Californian hair metal band who released a five track 12-inch EP in the UK in 1986.

Original Discography 1979-83

• 1980 Tommy Vance Friday Night Rock Show (BBC) session

This was later circulated as the "1981 demo tape" which never in fact existed. All tracks are included on the Radio Times CD (see below).

• various artists - Friday Rock Show
LP - BBC Records - REH 426 - UK - 1981

• Take No Prisoners / Killing Time
7" - Park Records - PKR1001 - UK - November 1981 - PS, red & yellow label, 1000 copies
7" - Park Records/Dato Records - PKR1001 - UK - 198? - PS, black & yellow label,

Notes: The original pressing has a yellow label with red text. The single was licensed to Dato Records in the UK who repressed it. Dato appears to have been a one-off label set up specifically for this reissue. Dato was manufactured and distributed by Spartan, suggesting the reissue dates from the mid 1980s (it's undated). The PS is identical to the original and the sames mothers were used for the disc - same matrix markings - but the text is printed in black ink instead of red, is rearranged somewhat, and adds the text "Under license to Dato Records" and "Manufactured and Distributed by Spartan Records".

• various artists - Now In Session
LP - Downtown Radio - DTR SC1 - UK - 1982
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• Straight Through The Heart / Teaser
7" - Crashed Records - CAR48 - IRL - June 1983 - PS confirmed!

Undated, but reviewed in Hot Press in July 1983. A PS for this single definitely exists but is extremely rare (scan to follow).
Recorded at Lombard Studios Dublin in 1982. The lineup is Campbell, Haller and Bates joined by vocalist Robert Casserly from Dublin. Viv Campbell left shortly after this recording was made.

• The Raid / Prosecutors of Greed

Notes: Rumoured to exist as a single on the Crashed label and listed as such in several sources, but it simply does not exist. It's possible a follow up single on Crashed was discussed with the label, and if it had been released it would have been the bands third single, but it never came to pass. There aren't even test pressings. It simply does not exist in any form.

Archive Releases 1979-81

The following archive releases are regularly offered on ebay and come from an official source.

• Take No Prisoners / Killing Time
CDS - Sweet Savage/Park Records - PKR 1001 - 2005

• Eye of the Storm / Prospector of Greed
CDS - Sweet Savage/Park Records - PKR 1002 - 2005

• The Raid EP
CDS - Sweet Savage/Park Records - PKR 1003 - 2005

• Ground Zero EP
CDS - Sweet Savage/Park Records - PKR 1004 - 2005

• Lady Marion (1980) / Pity (studio runthrough) (1979) / Lady Marion (instrumental intro)
CDS - Sweet Savage/Park Records - TH1515 - 2006?

• Radio Times (1979-81)
CD - Park/Sweet Savage Records - TH1616 - 2006?
Collects various radio sessions 1979-81

• All That Remains EP (1981)
CDS - Park/Sweet Savage Records - TH1818 - 2006?

• Official Bootleg (1979-81)
CD - Sweet Savage Records - TH2020 - 2006

• Fodder For The Monster
DVD - Sweet Savage Records - ??? - 2006

Four track DVD collecting the only known live footage of the band, recorded in 1981. Reputedly pretty good quality, given it's age.

• title?
CD - M.I.S. Records - ??? - 200?

Notes: Bootleg compilation gathering together the two 7"s, some of the Friday Rock Show tracks, and an entire live set from 1981 (possibly Hammersmith Odeon 25/11/1981).

Discography 1996-

Recordings by the reformed 1996 lineup.

• Killing Time
CD - Neat Metal - NM011 - 1996
CD - Pony Canyon - PCCY-01034 - Japan - 1996

• Rune
CD - Neat Metal - NM031 - 1998


We need your help to correct and/or complete this entry. If you can provide more information about this band, have scans, photos or any other memorabilia we can use, or spare copies of any releases, then please get in touch.

See Also: Trinity

Thanks to Trevor Fleming and Mario Corbella

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