A NUMBER of reliable sources are reporting the sad news that Trevor Fleming, guitarist with Sweet Savage, has passed away.
At this time there is no formal confirmation, but if it is so then this will be sad loss to those nearest and dearest to Trev and the wider Sweet Savage family.
It is also time to reflect on the contribution Sweet Savage - in all its incarnations - made on the metal scene in Northern Ireland, and further afield.
Yes, everyone can quite that Vivian Campbell was once a member, and that Metallica covered Killing Time, but few can actually recall what the heady days of NWOBHM were like.
Sweet Savage were among the select few that were caught up in the heady days when the brashness of punk was combined with musicianship of early bands like Purple.
Savage were regarded highly enough to get airings on Tommy Vance's Friday Night Rock on BBC Radio 1, and if my pre-alzheimer's memory is not failing me they also got a play on the covetted John Peel Show, as well as a slot in Sounds before Kerrang! spun off from that mag. Hell, they were even granted a BBC Session recording.
The sound of Sweet Savage, despite the NWOBHM tag, was always rooted in a Northern Ireland that produced - and still does - many acts that defy genre classification. Yes, SLF, Van Morrison, The Undertones, Therapy?, Ash, The Answer etc can all be slotted into one pigeon hole or another, but really there is a magical chemistry about 'Norn Iron' music that Savage exemplified.
Sweet Savage endured much too-ing and fro-ing in terms of line-up and reformed several times from the ashes of previous incarnations. There is a much awaited new album that is virtually in the bag at the time of writing. We hope that it will be a suitably loud and rocking tribute to Trev.
There is one thing we want to hit on the head right here - Sweet Savage deserved none of the pre-pubescent twaddle posted about them on various forums whenever they were slotted to appear. For some children the appreciation of what a dedicated set of musicians can do will never really be known. Those children prefer to notch up the 'mega' gigs they've been to, or rave about some obscure act that few will know and even fewer will care about. If you don't 'like' a band, or they don't conform to your narrow definition of 'metal' then there is no need to publicly offer views that speak more about your own vanity rather than genuine critical comment.
Sweet Savage were in toto man enough to rise above such crap.
If you are fan of metal in its broadest sense, then the passing of Trev will cause you to pause in silent reflection.
I've seen Sweet Savage on quite a few occassions, but two will stand out in my boozee addled brain: ripping apart the Queen's Student Speakeasy one early Saturday evening in the 80s and a gig a couple of years back in the Spring and Airbrake. Neither one of these were perfect shows, but they were perfectly passionate metal affairs.
We offer our condolences and deepest sympathy to Trev's family, his bandmates and the many friends he gathered throughout the years. Rest In Peace