An unholy row has broken out between a band of rock musicians and a priest – who feared they would play ‘anti-religious’ songs at a fundraising gig.
Heavy metal band Seventh Son hoped to raise cash at the Polish Catholic Centre on Ecclesall Road to help ex-Sheffield speedway racer Ricky Ashworth who was injured in a horror crash that left him in a coma for 90 days.
But they were forced to move to a different venue after Father Tomasz Wojick, who is in charge of the Polish Catholic Centre, saw a picture of the band on posters to promote the booking and decreed they could not play.
He said the act ‘could not guarantee’ they would not play anti-Catholic or anti-religious songs.
Today Bri Shaughnessy, frontman in the South Yorkshire band which has been going for almost 35 years, told The Star: “For starters I’m a Catholic myself! So we don’t play any stuff like that.
“But they never even asked us anyway. We’ve been told the posters were put up at the club, and that’s when the priest saw them.
“He made a judgement just on how we look.”
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The band have an album entitled Spirit World and a song called White Witch, and are pictured on the posters wearing T-shirts with skulls or the word ‘witchcraft’.
But Bri insisted their songs are not anti-faith, and that they are a classic rock and heavy metal band.
“We do have stuff that is dark or Gothic but that’s it really – it’s how you interpret it,” said Bri, of Barnsley.
Drummer Kev Lee, of Darnall, Sheffield, is friends with Ricky Ashworth, who is still recovering from his life-threatening crash and needs constant care following a year in hospital.
Kev said: “This gig is something I really wanted to do for him. It’s not going to raise a lot of money but every little helps towards his rehabilitation.
“He’s a fantastic bloke and is known by a lot of people.
“It’s 100 per cent daft that we had to move the gig – we only got an alternative venue at the last minute.”
The Star understands the Catholic club still offered to hold the event, but without the band. Future acts performing there will also have to guarantee they will not play anti-faith music.
Father Wojick has been in charge of the centre for the Diocese of Hallam for four years.
Speaking through an interpreter, he told The Star: “A lot of rock bands carry with them a wrong religious message, and they couldn’t guarantee me they wouldn’t do this here.
“They couldn’t guarantee me that they don’t sing any anti-Catholic or anti-faith messages in their songs.
“It is the picture as well, the posters signalled that this is the kind of music that is against religion.
“We haven’t got anything against the band personally, but as it is a Catholic church hall we were worried they would bring the Bible up in their songs.”
The benefit gig took place at The Noose and Gibbet Inn on Broughton Lane, Attercliffe, instead and included a raffle and charity auction.