After 50+ years, Judas Priest is ready to ‘Rock Forever’ – Daily Local

Before he could even afford it, Ian Hill traveled the world.

“Everything we earned, we put back into the band,” said Hill, one of the founding members of heavy metal icons Judas Priest. “It was hard work, but extremely enjoyable.”

From those humble beginnings in 1970, Judas Priest became one of the most influential heavy metal bands of the 1980s and are still going strong today. Hill, Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Scott Travis and Richie Faulkner bring their twice-delayed “50 Heavy Metal Years” tour to the Met in Philadelphia on March 29. Go to for tickets and tourist information.

Hill, along with guitarist KK Downing, formed the band from material from a defunct band. Halford, whose distinctive look and voice eventually became Priest’s centerpiece, joined the band in 1972.

“(Those early days) we just had to wake up in the morning,” Hill said from his home studio in Staffordshire, England. “We searched for roots for about 10 years. We loved what we were doing and we didn’t mind difficulties.

The hardships of the 1970s led to an explosion in the 1980s and Judas Priest hasn’t really stopped since. They are once again among the finalists for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“That we thought we’d be here in our 70s to do it, well, no, of course we didn’t,” Hill, 71, said. “The contemporary stars of the time, even the old crooners, they were only in their fifties. and 60s. The concept of a contemporary star doing it in the 70s did not exist. People died when they were in their fifties. We obviously intended to stick with it for as long as we could. Fortunately, we continued to build year after year. We managed to live with it. »

Hill is now one of rock’s most recognizable bass players, but his inspiration was, well, a little softer.

“My dad was a bass player in jazz bands, dance bands, folk bands,” Hill said. “Anything he could do. He was the one who originally started me. He was beginning to teach me. Sadly, he died when I was only 15.

“At the time, I was starting to get interested in other things like white boy blues, John Miles, Fleetwood Macs, Cream. of cours. Then you have the Hendrixes and blues rock, what do you have. I decided to try a bass guitar and found it was eventually easier to play. Finally more portable. I remember my dad when he bought a car, he had to buy one with a sunroof to fit his neck through.

The music of Cream and bassist Jack Bruce never left Hill’s ears. While he describes his taste in music as eclectic (“I listen to just about anything from classical to jazz to rock to heavy metal”), he always comes back to those classics.

“My favorite bassist is Jack Bruce,” Hill said. “I sat there and tried to follow his bass lines, especially on the live Cream stuff. Which was great.

The Judas Priest Tour began last fall, but was halted in September 2021 when guitarist Faulkner had to undergo emergency heart surgery. In a statement shared on the official Judas Priest website on Oct. 5, 2021, Faulkner explained that when the band was performing “Painkiller” at the Louder Than Life festival in Kentucky on Sept. 26, his aorta ruptured and began to twitch. leaking blood into his chest cavity. Faulkner’s doctor told him he had an aortic aneurysm and a complete, often fatal, aortic dissection.

Faulkner, who joined the band in 2011 when Downing left, has recovered and touring resumes March 4 in Illinois.

Now 50 years after being part of the band, Hill finds playing live and touring to be just as fun as ever.

“The workload isn’t as difficult these days,” Hill said. “We do about four a week, instead of five or six. The rest is pretty much the same as at the very beginning. You arrive at a place, play and move on.

The band will reunite soon in Tennessee to begin rehearsing.

“We’re going to work on what we think is the set so far,” Hill said. “Rob arrives a few days later. We’ll have the music sorted, and then we’ll start rehearsing in five pieces. Then we’ll be ready to go at the time of the first concert.

While fans will hear all the hits, Hill hopes to mix in a few old songs that may not be as familiar.

“It’s just great to have a bit of variety on stage,” Hill said. “You can put people in different moods and different feelings.

“(All of our songs) become our favorites. ‘One shot at Glory’ is a great song from (the album) Painkiller that we never played for some crazy reason, I don’t even know why. There’s a song in there that we haven’t played in a long time, which was our first single, ‘Rocka Rolla’. And “Invader”. which we have never played before.

“A lot of people don’t even know that our first songs exist. The American public, a lot of them joined us in the 80s and the 70s albums were obscure to them.

One thing is certain, however, Hill and Judas Priest aren’t ready to stop there.

“You know what they say, you find a job you love and you never have to work again. That was really it,” Hill said. “We love playing music.”

About Raymond Lang

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