Judas Priest has not only released a magnificent new album ‘Nostradamus’ they have also embarked on yet another world tour, bringing their classic Heavy Metal performances to their hundreds of thousands of loyal fans to revel in. I am proudly one of those fans and have been since the late 1970’s (I started rocking at a very early age compared to most).
Priest has a sound like no other and a show that no band can even come close to cloning; they are pioneers of Heavy Metal and certainly deserve great respect for all of their accomplishments. I generally don’t get over excited about much anymore, but knowing I had an interview with the one and only Ian Hill from Judas Priest made me a giddy little school girl all week long! I’m quite certain I drove my husband batty for days talking about them, listening to all of my albums and CD’s – YES I can get a wee bit carried away but let’s be real – Judas Priest really does RULE! I remember the last tour I saw, it was ‘Turbo’ and I was in heaven with their performance. When they play Calgary this July – it will be the 4th time I’ve seen Judas Priest perform live and I can’t wait!
With a new album in tow, Judas Priest is working their way across Europe and will head to North America in the summer. Ian and I spoke for about 20 minutes over the phone about all sorts of topics & I want to share our chat with all of you!
TFL: Let’s talk about ‘Nostradamus’; LOVE IT! Chip sent me a copy of the CD
IH: Yeah Good!
TFL: I’ve been listening to it and I have to say, to me being a Priest fan for3as many years/decades as I have been one, I would have to say that this is your masterpiece!
IH: Oh well thanks I appreciate that, that’s nice.
TFL: Where did you get the idea for the format? I love how you have ‘Dawn’ which goes into ‘prophecy’ and you have ‘Awakening’ which is the start of ‘Revelations’; who came up with that brilliant idea of having those instrumental segways going into the next song?
IH: Yeah it was Ken & Glen that came up with that. They do all of the musical writing you know not all of the lyrics, so it was Ken & Glen who came up with that. It wasn’t just that though I mean the songs themselves have to be able to fit together if you know what I mean. The musical piecing between the songs has to be relevant to both if you understand you know, so there was a lot of thought that went into the actual…you know what I mean…the songs themselves so they would in fact flow into one another properly.
TFL: I like the operatic tones that they are using & the classical piano that is in some of the songs, the strings, the violins that are in a lot of the songs.
TFL: Then it will go right into ‘Death’ which is a nice hard Heavy Metal song or ‘Conquest’ which to me is like a classic Judas Priest kind of groove right.
TFL: It is the most mature Judas Priest album I have heard.
IH: I think that is probably hitting the nail on the head is maturity yeah. We were considering where to go with the next project and we came up with the idea of Nostradamus you know. This is something new and something we can get our teeth into, it’s a brilliant idea.
TFL: Why a double CD? Was it just because of the material that ended up coming out from the creation process?
IH: That’s right! There was different aspects to his life & his experiences and that’s how long it took you known. Like I say, the musical pieces in between as well in many cases are songs in themselves. We weren’t time watching at all you know, we just sort of did what we did and then times it was ‘Jesus it’s an hour and 45 minutes!’ (laughing) So, yeah that’s as long as it took.
TFL: You’re in Europe & you’re coming over to Canada and I’m very much looking forward to Monster of Rock by the way it’s about bloody time they did an outdoor festival here.
IH: Alright good!
TFL: Calgary is ready for Judas Priest to come back!
IH: Well that’s great news yeah! We’re looking forward to getting back.
TFL: After 30 years Ian, you’ve done 30 years of touring, performing, recording; what keeps you guys going to be as strong as you are?
IH: It funny you know, it’s something that you just always do you know. You can’t imagine yourself not doing it! It’s one of those things that you know, you do finish a tour and you put your guitar away and you leave it there for a couple of months (laughing) You don’t even want to see it at the end of a tour you know. But after a couple of months you really do start to miss it again and out it comes you know what I mean and it all starts all over again. That’s what keeps us going, I think it’s the love of the music and the pure unadulterated love of what we do for a living you know it keeps us all going & keeps us all young.
TFL: Do you see a difference in the crowds now? Do you see a difference in the crowds or the reactions of the fans over the years?
IH: You know what the great thing is NO! The thing is I look down the stage and you expect to see people my age there and there are – there are quite a few people! But there is so many more young faces down there & that is great news; not just for us but with Heavy Metal. Traditional Heavy Metal in general I think is having a tremendous resurgence at the moment and it’s so heartening to see the younger faces in the audience it just means it’s going to continue for another generation or two you know and probably beyond there is no reason why it shouldn’t. So no there is not a great deal of change, in the mid 90’s there you had the mosh pits and things like that, people running into each other – it was a bit different (laughing) but even that seems to have died out . Now I think people are just there to see the band and listen to the music the way they were all those years ago.
TFL: Are you surprised at the longevity of Judas Priest?
IH: With hind sight you know, no I’m not. If you had asked me that sort of 10 years ago well yes I would have been surprised. It’s only because there is nothing to replace it, it is something that is very popular and there is nothing else on the menu you know – it’s as simple as that. It’s why it’s kept going as long as it has! 40 years it has been going, 1969 really with Sabbath and ourselves we were running a ’69 tour. Other types of music have come and gone; Punk and new wave sort of stuff has been replaced with another ‘fad’ type music but Heavy Metal and Heavy Rock has always been there. It’s always been there; never too popular never out of sight it’s just always been there. I think it will always continue. Bands not just ourselves but the other established bands as well if we can carry on as long as we can until one of us drops (laughing).
TFL: Now you said when you come off tour the guitar gets put away – you don’t want to look at it. What do you do then when you are not bassist on stage for Judas Priest – what does Ian Hill the human being like to do?
IH: I’m a family man at heart you know, spend a lot of time with the folks. I fiddle around with guitars (laughing) and I’ve just taken up Micro Light flying as well, I just got my wings. Yeah, I keep myself occupied I mean flying is great!
TFL: Just be safe…PLEASE!
IH: Oh yes yes, (laughing) I don’t take unnecessary risks.
TFL: We want to still see you on stage for another decade or so would be nice.
IH: (laughing) I have no intention of going down in flames not just yet anyways.
TFL: Are there any bands out there that you are watching that are new where you’ve thought ‘damn those guys are pretty good I like that’?
IH: There are a few up & coming bands. The one that sort of caught me is an Australian band called ‘Airbourne’
TFL: Airbourne – yeah! Sound and Fury are opening up for them this fall!
IH: Is that right? Yeah they are a good band, a good traditional Heavy Metal band you know- in the Australian type of AC/DC mould. They are a very talented young outfit. They’ve been on a couple of festivals over here with us & that’s how I’ve come to recognize them. I think there is other bands coming up as well with their traditional stuff, the Death Metal and the mosh pits and things like that although that’s not going to go away either for the same reason it’s still very popular but I think it’s almost had it’s day to a certain extent. There are still some acts coming along who can fly the flag for a few more years yet.
TFL: I’m sure you get a lot of fans that are musicians or are working on bands who talk to you – when they ask you for advice Ian what do you tell them?
IH: I think its patience; you’ve got to be patient. Even if you are brilliantly gifted, you ain’t going to make it overnight. There is no such thing as an overnight success. All the overnight successes I know have been working at it for 10 years. That’s the main thing, if you’ve got what you fell is a good band then try to stay together, I know it’s difficult when success is not coming straight away but if you can keep a good talented band together sooner or later someone is going to notice them. Patience even more today than days gone by, the root of all trouble these days is illegal downloading. It goes like this – because the record companies are not making any money, they are not signing any new bands. It’s killing new music, it’s not effecting established bands like ourselves or Maiden or anyone else who has been around for 20,30, 40 years. We’ve got a huge back catalogue that will keep selling in droves but the new bands are not getting the breaks because everyone is giving their music away for nothing. It’s got to be patience.
Great advice from a legendary musician! If you have not had the opportunity to hear
their new CD ‘Nostradamus’ then get online and check it out or head down to your music
store and buy the CD – BUY IT!! Backstage Live Magazine is VERY proud to present
Heavy Metal iconic legends Judas Priest as our feature artist of the September issue.