SALEM was founded in late 1979 by two former members from the Metal for Muthas stars Ethel The Frog – Paul Tognola (vocals/guitar) and Paul Conyers (drums). Ade Jenkinson was drafted as the bass player and the first band meeting with Paul Macnamara (lead guitar) was 2 January 1980 in The Red Lion pub in Anlaby, Hull. After a period of song writing and rehearsal, Salem began gigging in Hull and district, and recorded the first demo in January 1981.
Simon Saxby (vocals) joined Salem following Paul Tognola’s departure for The Crack in March 1981 and the band continued to perform. Mark Allison joined to provide the depth of second guitar and twin-lead melodies. This line-up gigged regularly and released its own single Cold As Steel/Reach For Eternity in April 1982. Paul Conyers had to leave due to other professional commitments and Paul ‘Animal’ Mendham took up the drum stool.
Salem continued to gig prolifically in the North of England for the band’s hardcore fans. They soon recorded another demo, which included the fan favourite ‘The Keeper of the Keys’. This raw session caught the passion of the live performances. Salem won a battle of the bands at Huddersfield Polytechnic, following which they recorded the last demo at September Sound, Huddersfield, in March 1983, which demonstrated the maturing song writing of the band. Although a number of record companies expressed an interest in the music, the band imploded and played their last, sell-out gig in Hull on 31 May 1983.
In 2009, High Roller Records and Pure Steel Records approached Salem, keen to release the 1980s recordings on vinyl and CD. The result is the 2010 double-album In The Beginning …
Following great interest in the band, Salem re-formed and played first gig in 27 years at The Adelphi, in hometown Hull. In 2011, Salem recorded three new tracks (release as the limited edition New Tricks EP) and played again at The Adelphi on 9 December.
In July 2012, Ricky Squires (formerly of the dEAd ENd KIdS and the Heavy Metal Kids) joined Salem to play festivals and gigs with us, including Italy, Belgium and UK. Ricky later moved on to play in Battleaxe.
Salem was invited to play the first BROFEST in March 2013 and marked the occasion with the release of the limited edition X Rated EP. The album “Forgotten Dreams” was released on 6 December 2013 by Pure Rocks Records and has received excellent reviews.
In 2014, the band continued to play gigs and festivals in UK, Europe – including Play It Loud in Italy, Very ‘Eavy in Netherlands, Headbangers Open Air warm-up in Germany, the Paris in France, Rock You To Hell in Athens, Greece – and in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with special deputy drummer Oli Davis.
Salem played gigs in 2015 in Belgium and England, and at festivals including Wildfire, Scotland, BÃ„Ã„Ã„M in Germany, Power & Glory II, headlined at RockWich in UK and British Steel, France. Also earlier in the year, the band filmed a second videos of the song “The Answer” at sites in Barton-upon-Humber and Beverley. In July 2015, a new re-mastered version of the In The Beginning … album was released by High Roller Records. The songs have been re-arranged into the original chronological order. The album “Dark Days” was released in April 2016 on CD, with vinyl released in July.
Salem has played a series of gigs and festivals in 2016 including Muskelrock in Sweden, a return to Headbangers Open Air, at Heavy Metal Maniacs in Netherlands, and gigs in Belgium and in UK with Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head, Witchfynde and Spartan Warrior. Events in 2017 already include BROFEST in UK again, MataRock in Barcelona, Spain, British Steel in France again, Blast From The Past, Belgium and HRH NWOBHM back in UK.
Salem signed a new record deal with Dissonance Productions and the third album “Attrition” was released on 23 February 2018. Before the album’s release Adrian Jenkinson chose to leave Salem. Following this, Simon Saxby decided to leave with Adrian. In April 2018 Salem recruited a new singer who debuted with the band in London on 25th May 2018. The remaining members of Salem took legal advice from the Musician’s Union and, for absolute clarity, at the MU’s recommendation, the band formally advised Adrian and Simon that Salem would be continuing.
Salem has been cited, along with Iron Maiden, Saxon and Tygers of Pan Tang, as one of the “top 10 NWOBHM bands that are better than ever!”