JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing checks in with the following year-end update:
“Season’s greetings to all! ‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’… as the song goes. And we have certainly got plenty of it in the UK. However, I can’t complain, because it is very rare that we have a white Christmas these days. I remember as a kid praying for tons of the stuff, especially as it could possibly mean that we would not have to go to school.
Moving on, I can’t remember ever having to cancel a gig because of bad weather, which is a complete miracle as we have had to battle through some horrendous conditions. Many times I can remember winter tours, especially in Europe. Painkiller comes to mind as we toured in Helsinki early February, it could not have been colder and they must have had as much snow as the North Pole. Especially as about a week before playing in sunny and hot Rock in Rio.
Speaking of Painkiller, please check out the Painkiller interview in this month’s updates. Also, try giving the HOSTILE Player (here; right-hand-side) a spin as it contains part of the song ‘Addiction’ that I composed especially for the band. Hostile are a young, hard-hitting metal band from my home town, lead singer Jay is just 18 years old. They have just played in Birmingham supporting HATEBREED and are currently performing showcase gigs for prospective record companies with the hope of getting a release date for their debut album Eve Of Destruction. That was also produced by me.
O.K. I am going to keep this blog nice and short as I am sure you all have lots of presents and stuff to wrap. Again, have a great holiday season, my special thanks as always to the dedicated Millworkers and their families and here’s to a rocking metal 2011!”
As mentioned, Downing is interviewed by the Steel Mill’s Jari Asell about the 20th Anniversary of Judas Priest’s legendary Painkiller opus. Here are a few excerpts from the chat:
Steel Mill: Your album Painkiller just passed the 20 years mark. Let’s go back in time when you finished the Ram It Down-Mercenaries Of Metal -Tour. You had a triumphant decade, did you have any thoughts about how to begin the 1990s?
Downing: “No, I don’t think so, I think as musicians/songwriters it’s always a case of not being sure of what will happen until you get your teeth into the songwriting and seeing what comes out, then depending on what does, the precedent is set for everything else.
Steel Mill: When writing songs, was your goal to produce Priest’s heaviest album (that far)?
Downing: “Not initially, but as the album started to grow we enjoyed the energy that we were creating. Now that we had Scott, we were sure going to see what he had in the tank.
Steel Mill: You had a wonderful time (1979-1988) with “Colonel” Tom Allom. How did you come to choose your old buddy (Sad Wings Of Destiby/1976) Chris Tsangarides to produce Painkiller?
Downing: “I am not totally sure, but Tom may have been involved with other things and it seemed a nice idea to meet up and work with Chris again.”
Steel Mill: The Painkiller stage set was phenomenal, a real statement in conjuction of the album theme. The support bands were among the hardest as well: MEGADETH and TESTAMENT, and later PANTERA and ANNIHILATOR. Any anecdotes you would like to share here?
Downing: “Yes! A very enjoyable tour and memories, I speak of it quite often, in fact I was just telling some friends yesterday how we went sightseeing in Rome with Pantera to the Coliseum and places like that. We had many laughs together on that tour, I can never forget that Dime R.I.P used to go busking in the streets, I saw a piece of film once with him doing that, it was so funny, in fact I will check if I can find it on YouTube, it’s a must to see. There was so much talent in Pantera and Annihilator and they were so humble, it must have been very tough for them and all of their crews to share one bus. They used to crack us up so much when they would form a queue outside our dressing rooms in the hope that we would spot them some beers, which of course we always did. Happy days!”
JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford recently spoke with Sign On San Diego about the band’s recently announced decision to spilt up following one final tour, due to take place next year. An excerpt from the interview is available below.
Halford: “If you get in the ring too often, the whole thing can become really sad to look at and listen to. You have to ensure that doesn’t happen. We’re getting to a point where we’re trying to do things we did 30 years ago, and it isn’t so easy. You have to face mortality. Some bands keep going, some bands ease off a bit and some bands stop altogether. It happens to all bands eventually, and now this is something we’re facing in Judas Priest. We want to leave on respectable terms, musically.
My intention, no matter where I go or what I do, is to keep making metal. We do have a few more things we want to say – but what we’d rather do for the time being is let the information settle. It’s very big news for a lot of fans and we want to let the firestorm settle down. So for all intents and purposes, it’s the farewell tour, and it’ll probably last into 2012.”
A press release on Judas Priest’s final tour reads as follows:
After storming the world for nearly 40 years and taking their very special brand of heavy metal to all four corners of the planet, Judas Priest – one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time, have announced this will be their final world tour!!
However, the mighty Priest will certainly be going out strong as they rock the planet starting in 2011 on the massive Epitaph tour – hitting all the major cities throughout the world they will be playing the songs that helped make the name Judas Priest synonymous with heavy metal!
With all guns blazing and amps cranked to eleven, the band will be giving all their fans one last chance to witness the ultimate metal experience that is Judas Priest!
Judas Priest Epitaph tour dates:
9 – Sweden Rock – Solvesborg, Sweden
11 – Sauna Festival – Tampere, Finland
17 – Copenhell Festival – Copenhagen, Denmark
19 – Hellfest – Nantes, France
22 – Gods of Metal Festival – Milan, Italy
25 – Graspop Festival – Dessel, Belgium
28 – O2 Arena – Prague, Czech Republic
29 – Stadthalle – Vienna, Austria
After yesterday’s announcement of our first headliner SLIPKNOT, we are proud to add three more giants to the lineup of GMM2011.
Four years after his first GMM show as a solo artist, the legendary OZZY OSBOURNE is returning to the GMM festival arena with his 2nd European tour since the release of his new CD “Scream.” Ozzy himself obviously needs no introduction with worldwide album sales of 100 million (as a solo artist as well as a member of the Black Sabbath), his own Ozzfest festival and not to forget the popular reality TV show ‘The Osbournes’. On stage and backed by a brand new band, Prince of Darkness still delivers the goods. Ozzy live is synonymous with an amazing show seasoned with countless hits. Ozzy Osbourne is headlining on Saturday 25 June.
More than 40 years after they burst upon the rock scene, German legends SCORPIONS are on the final leg of their farewell tour. This year, the ‘Get your Sting and Blackout World Tour’ conquered American and Asian stages and now the Scorpions are returning to Europe, where the saga began all those years ago. The Scorpions’ popularity peaked in the seventies and eighties when ballads such as ‘Wind of Change’ and ‘Still Loving You’ stormed the charts. Still, song writers Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker never abandoned their roots, spoiling metal fans worldwide with fifteen-odd heavy albums including numerous classic rock anthems such as ‘Rock You like a Hurricane’. Unfortunately their first GMM appearance on Friday 24 June will also be their last, so don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
Joining Ozzy on Saturday will be JUDAS PRIEST. No band is more deserving of the epithet ‘Metal Gods’ than the Birmingham quintet. Back in the day, Priest pioneered heavy metal along with Black Sabbath; today, their illustrious career spans over four decades and they are still spearheading the genre they themselves helped create with their no-holds-barred attitude. In 2011, the Priest is embarking on a new world tour of prestigious arenas and major festivals, which obviously includes Graspop Metal Meeting.
Graspop Metal Meeting 2011 will be held in Dessel festival park over the weekend of Friday 24 June to Sunday 26 June. With leading bands from just about every metal and rock subgenre and a lineup that spans several generations of heavy music, there’s loads of fun to be had for metalheads both young and not so young. Graspop Metal Meeting is synonymous for three days of music and fun, 70+ bands, four stages and lots of fringe events to boot, including signing sessions, an outdoor festival fair, an indoor metal market, etc.Moreover, the campsite is second to none with its Festival Express Shop, excellent sanitary facilities and much more.
Judas Priest, one of the most important hard-rock bands in history, have decided to end their career. After having defined the term heavy metal for over 30 years, the Brits will say farewell with one final grandiose world tour, “The Epitaph Tour”, in 2011. When the tour reaches Sweden Rock Festival in June, it will be the last time ever that Judas Priest plays on Swedish soil.
In the mid-70’s, Judas Priest pioneered hard rock music by cutting the strings to the genre’s blues roots and increasing the velocity while proudly calling their music heavy metal – a term most other bands despised at the time. By doing so, Priest laid the foundation for most of the metal sub genres that would evolve during the 80’s and 90’s. Judas Priest also invented the studs and leather fashion that has become the uniform of choice for metal fans all over the world. From the late 70’s and throughout the following decades, Judas Priest have remained one of the biggest, most loved and most influential bands on the hard rock/metal scene. Among their many legendary albums are “British Steel”, “Painkiller”, “Screaming for Vengeance” and “Defenders of the Faith”, and the band will always be remembered for classic songs like “Breaking the Law”, “Living After Midnight”, “You?ve Got Another Thing Coming”, “Electric Eye” and “Freewheel Burning”, to name a few.
Once again, and then nevermore, the classic line-up of singer Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis will bombard us with all the classics that have made the name Judas Priest synonymous with heavy metal. On June 8-11, Swedish fans get one final chance to see the band live.
Confirmed bands so far out of a total of around 70:
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Rhapsody of Fire
Jason & the Scorchers
Dan Reed Band
After storming the world for nearly 40 years and taking their very special brand of heavy metal to all four corners of the planet, JUDAS PRIEST -one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time, have announced this will be their final world tour!!
However, the mighty PRIEST will certainly be going out strong as they rock the planet starting in 2011 on the massive EPITAPH tour – hitting all the major cities throughout the world they will be playing the songs that helped make the name JUDAS PRIEST synonymous with heavy metal!
With all guns blazing and amps cranked to eleven, the band will be giving all their fans one last chance to witness the ultimate metal experience that is JUDAS PRIEST!
JUDAS PRIEST will be starting their world tour in Europe – we have just confirmed the following festivals for 2011:
9th June Sweden Rock Festival, Sweden
11th June Sauna Festival, Finland
17th June Copenhell Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark
19th June Hellfest, Nantes, France
22nd June Gods of Metal Festival, Milan, Italy
25th June Graspop Festival, Belgium
23rd July HIgh Voltage Festival, London, UK
5th August Wacken Festival, Germany
Stay tuned as we announce more dates – information will be forthcoming soon – so start getting prepared to rock one final time with the incomparable JUDAS PRIEST!!
According to Aaron Coleman from Thesuburbanite.com, the opening of the Ripper Owens Tap House on Waterloo Road in Akron, Ohio has been two years in the making for singer Tim “Ripper” Owens (HAIL!, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ex-ICED EARTH) and local restauranteur Randy Arehart who wanted to build a “Rockin Sports Eatery” that everyone could enjoy.
To build a Rockin Sports Eatery, you must have two things, great service, and great food to go along with that atmosphere, and the Tap House has both.
“We take great pride in our menu said Arehart, It’s more than typical bar food, You can get anything from a burger, to a steak, and our waiters, waitresses, and bartenders will be sure it gets to you in a timely manner, with a smile, and cooked the way you want it.”
“The Judas Priest memorabila and the various items Tim’s collected over the years add to the decor of the place and it was totally a team effort,” Arehart said.
“Our policy here is to treat everyone like a rock star, and that means great service from our staff here, and make sure your experience is a quality one that will have you coming back,” Ripper said.
JUDAS PRIEST singer ROB HALFORD spoke with Steve Newton from Straight.com recently about his upcoming dates opening for BLACK SABBATH singer OZZY OSBOURNE. When asked what his fave Black Sabbath album was, the Metal God chose the band’s scary self-titled debut from 1970.
“It took 24 hours to make,” he says, “believe it or not, but the sound is absolutely mindblowing. If you just listen to the sound, how they were able to do that work in such a short space of time is extraordinary.
“I think a lot of musicians agree that generally your first record is very, very important,” he adds, “because you’re really coming from a very pure, new, uncluttered source. You’ve got nothing to prove because you’ve proved nothing yet; you haven’t really got a massive fanbase, so you’re searching to build that. Your record company’s not interfering with your music as they tend to do when you become successful—same with managers, agents, promoters. You’re really coming into your existence at a different level.
“If you look back at the history of your favourite band, generally the first couple are the ones that really kind of grab you. So that’s why I feel that first Sabbath album for me—much like Sad Wings of Destiny for Judas Priest—is a very important release.”
Halford has performed as the vocalist for Black Sabbath at three shows. He replaced Ronnie James Dio for two nights in November 1992, when Dio elected not to open a show for Ozzy Osbourne. Halford also replaced Osbourne in Black Sabbath on August 25, 2004 (his 53rd birthday) at an Ozzfest show in Camden, New Jersey, since Osbourne could not perform due to bronchitis.
Powerhouse American vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) joined German power metallers PRIMAL FEAR on stage on September 18, 2010 at Progresja in Warsaw, Poland to perform the JUDAS PRIEST classic “Metal Gods”.
Fan-filmed video footage of the performance can be viewed below.
Owens is being backed by the following musicians during his current European tour:
* Andy Boss (PAUL DI’ANNO, ABSOLUTE STEEL) – Guitar
* Jon Vegard (PAUL DI’ANNO) – Guitar
* Are Gogstad (PAUL DI’ANNO, QUEENSTREET, ABSOLUTE STEEL) – Bass
* Rick Hagan (PAUL DI’ANNO, QUEENSTREET, ABSOLUTE STEEL, 21ST CENTURY ROX) – Drums
“Play My Game”, the first solo album from Owens, landed at position No. 66 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200. The CD was released via SPV/Steamhammer. The offering consists of around a dozen brand-new tracks that Owens composed himself or together with renowned friends, such as Bob Kulick, Chris Caffery (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA), Mike Callahan (ex-EARSHOT) and John Comprix (BEYOND FEAR, RINGWORM).
PRIMAL FEAR recently released a new live DVD, “16.6 – All Over The World” (recorded in various locations between September and November 2009), and a live CD, aptly titled “Live In The USA”. Frontiers Records issued the two products separately and as a limited-edition combo on June 22 in the USA. The DVD is filled with an abundance of extra materials, such as an entire bootleg section with funny moments on the road, bootleg footage from various festival appearances and other concerts, all of PRIMAL FEAR’s most recent promotional videos, plus the making-of footage for “16.6” and a brand new interview section about the past, present and future of PRIMAL FEAR.
NEW BOOK – DAWN OF THE METAL GODS: MY LIFE IN JUDAS PRIEST & HEAVY METAL
DAWN OF THE METAL GODS: MY LIFE IN JUDAS PRIEST & HEAVY METAL By AL ATKINS & NEIL DANIELS
“This was a philosophy that Allan, as well as K.K., John Ellis and myself emphatically believed in when we first got together, and is carried forward by Allan and Judas Priest to the present” Ian Hill – from his foreword
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF (JUDAS PRIEST STYLE) HEAVY 1969-2009
NOW AVAILABLE TO BUY
AL ATKINS PRESS RELEASE
NEW BOOK – DAWN OF THE METAL GODS: MY LIFE IN JUDAS PRIEST & HEAVY METAL by AL ATKINS (and NEIL DANIELS) FOREWORD BY IAN HILL
Al Atkins is the former lead singer and founder of the multi-million selling British
heavy metal band Judas Priest. Atkins will forever be associated with the self-
proclaimed Metal Gods. But how did it all happen?
During the 1960s when the popular Brum Beat era produced band after band
(such as The Move and The Band Of Joy,) Atkins played in various local outfits some
of which laid the blue print for the heavier progressive sounds of early Judas Priest.
And so it was in 1969 that a disillusioned Atkins decided to have a go at forming yet
another band with his childhood friend Bruno Stapenhill. The band in question was
Judas Priest quickly built up a reputation in the Midlands as a powerful live act and
even secured a record deal with Immediate, which was owned by ex-Rolling Stones
manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Unfortunately Immediate folded and so did Priest.
Undeterred, Atkins formed yet another line-up of Priest in 1970 with guitarist K.K.
Downing and bassist Ian Hill. At Atkins’ behest Downing and Hill ditched the name
Freight and resurrected the mighty Judas Priest. Through the early seventies Priest
supported many bands including Slade, Status Quo, Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath.
Line-up changes continued until May, 1973 when Atkins finally decided to call it a
Atkins is the co-writer of several Priest songs which are included on the band’s first two albums Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings Of Destiny both of which eventually went Gold. Atkins co-penned the heavy metal classic ‘Victim Of Changes’ which was a combination of Rob Halford’s song ‘Red Light Lady’ and Atkins’ own ‘Whisky Woman.’ He also co-wrote the fan classics ‘Winter,’ ‘Never Satisfied,’ ‘Dreamer Deceiver’ and ‘Caviar And Meths.’ His autobiography contains very rare archive photos and memorabilia from Judas Priest’s past circa 1969-1973.
Also included are interviews with various members of Priest’s history and Atkins’
solo career. Dawn Of The Metal Gods includes a foreword by Judas Priest bassist IAN HILL as well as contributions from:
Bruno Stapenhill (Judas Priest Mark I)
Ernie Chataway (Judas Priest Mark I)
John Ellis (Judas Priest Mark II)
Trevor Lunn (ex-Judas Priest roadie)
David Howells (Gull Records)
Dave Corke (ex-Judas Priest manager 1970-‘76)
Norman Hood (IMA Agency)
Atkins’ debut solo album Judgement Day was released to great acclaim in 1989. But
it was Heavy Thoughts and Victim Of Changes (the latter being his collaborative
album with ex-Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland) that brought him strong sales and
critical acclaim around the world. Recently, Atkins has released his fifth solo opus
Demon Deceiver and formed the Midlands heavy metal band The Holy Rage. They’ve
shared the bill with ex-Rainbow singer Graham Bonnet, the NYC band Warrior Soul
and legendary rockers Skid Row.
In Dawn Of The Metal Gods Atkins share’s his entertaining life story with the
reader. This is not just a book for Priest fans but a bible for anybody wishing to form
a band in the tumultuous world of heavy metal.
Written in a style that represents Al’s working class Birmingham roots, Dawn
Of The Metal Gods will set the story straight on the roots of the world’s most revered
and dedicated heavy metal band. Celebrating 40 years of (Judas Priest style) heavy
LoudTrax.com spot to the Metal God, Rob Halford, yesterday about performing at this year’s HEAVY MTL festival in Montreal. Here is what Rob had to say regarding what fans can expect:
“Well they can expect the Halford band to be roaring that’s for sure. It will be a wonderful time for the Halford band to return to Montreal. Montreal is great, hot bed of heavy metal madness! The fans have this great reputation for being so intense and hard core, and having such passion and love for their metal.
So the Halford band’s gonna come back to Montreal and tear it up and have a great time. We’ll play a lot of different songs from our back catalog and some other places as well. We’ll be playing about an hour, and run through as many songs as we can and give everybody a great time. Some cool artists are appearing so it will be fun for us as well. My friend Alice Cooper, the guys from Korn, Dave from Megadeth, they’re all good friends of mine. Slayer, my god it’s going to be a great event! All of these different kinds of music will be pouring out and I’m sure everyone’s going to have a brilliant time.”
Heavy MTL is North-America’s premier destination heavy music festival and takes place in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
The first edition of the festival took place in June 2008 and saw the likes of Iron Maiden, Mötley Crüe, Disturbed, Three Days Grace, Dethklok, Anthrax, Type O Negative, Mastodon, and many others shred their way through an intense two-day celebration of heavy music.
After taking a break in 2009, Heavy MTL organizers are committed to making Heavy MTL 2010 the place to be for heavy music fans in 2010.
Heavy MTL 2010 will be held on July 24th and 25th in the breathtaking site that is Parc Jean-Drapeau at Île Saint-Hélène, Montréal.
July 24th: MEGADETH, SLAYER, ALICE COOPER, HALFORD, MASTODON, TESTAMENT, FEAR FACTORY, ANVIL, KATAKLYSM, MELISSA AUF DER MAUR, HIGH ON FIRE, SKELETONWITCH, BAPTIZED IN BLOOD, 36 CRAZY FISTS.
July 25th: KORN, ROB ZOMBIE, LAMB OF GOD, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, HATEBREED, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ALEXISONFIRE, SHADOWS FALL, WINDS OF PLAGUE, CHIMAIRA, ATREYU, IN THIS MOMENT, NORMA JEAN, DESPISED ICON, LES EKORCHES, AIRBOURNE, BENEATH THE MASSACRE, HAIL THE VILLAIN, and DEADLY APPLES.
Three legendary heavy metal guitarists KK Downing (Judas Priest), Kimmo Kuusniemi (Sarcofagus) and Varg Vikernes (Burzum) were interviewed for an extensive US rock webzine Peacedogman “Guitargument” article.
This in depth interview makes comparisons between three generations of influential metal guitarist – KK Downing from the 60’s, Kuusniemi from the 70’s and Vikernes from the 80’s… and asks – amongst other things – about their music making methods, guitar preferences and the essence of metal. The article has some brilliant and interesting revelations!
Guitargument: The Three Guitarists interview by Devamitra Volksfaust:
“Thousands of years have seen generations of bards and minstrels shape wood, caress strings with their fingers and pick ever more complex and varied tunes for the entertainment of kings and peasants, for joy and for grief. It’s been roughly 80 years since the magnetic pick-up was invented and soon was to be connected to electric amplifiers, to make guitar the unique conducting rod between the musical forces of the past and the future. Everything from pacts with the devil to manifests against social oppression have been channeled through the thundering vibrations of the “axe”. There would be no rock music as we know without it, much less heavy metal or punk. Whichever your preferred strain may be, it’s fair to assume that a reader of this site is more or less particular, if not religious, about commanding guitar riffs and intense guitar solos.
So it was high time to arrange some serious discussion about this guitar business. Heavy metal heroes come and go and each new issue of the bigger guitar magazines demonstrates a hyped-up melo-death geek or self-possessed power metal “how many notes per second” twat bragging about expensive equipment and superficial guitar tech trivia. But as can be expected, they rarely get down to the essence of things, which is how to cut the crap and make the magic happen. The surge of infernal energy right through your brain when the guitar-driven band pulls out all the stops and reaches for the night skies: the metal moments.
K.K. Downing formed his first heavy rock band with his pal Ian Hill in 1969, at 18 years old. As a member of JUDAS PRIEST he has toured Europe, America and Asia countless times, performed on 17 albums, profoundly influenced heavy metal and speed metal in sound and presence while blowing our brains out with instantly memorable riffs and some of the most famous and widely imitated solo work in heavy metal.
Kimmo Kuusniemi, a son of little northern country called Finland where no-one had heard the words “heavy metal” before, formed his egyptomaniacal entity SARCOFAGUS in 1977, shooting both figurative and literal fire from his guitar in magisterial stage shows far ahead of the times. He released three classics of Finnish occult and progressive metal filled with his unique amplified guitar histrionics before moving on to other media , while he has continued to preach the sermon of true metal to unbelievers and act as the benevolent godfather of the Finnish metal scene.
Varg Vikernes seems more like a myth than a real person, the antagonistic metal magician of Norway, the progenitor of BURZUM, who first picked up the guitar in 1987 and barely five years later, unleashed a multidimensional wave of darkness upon the world – one that we would come to know as black metal. Hypnotic, ethereal and frightening, the runic spells of Varg’s possession never stayed the same, formulating seven albums full of the mysteries of the forest and the past, weakly imitated countless times since not only in metal, but in post rock, industrial and indie drone as well.”
The much heralded return of British metal legends Judas Priest with the band’s "US 2009 Summer Tour" was met with remarkable success at the massive AT&T Center on Saturday July 25th in San Antonio, Texas. The weeks leading up to the concert saw local radio station KLBJ FM ask their listener’s "Some pretty big shows are coming up. Who are you most excited to see?" in the form of a poll on the popular classic rock formatted radio station’s website. Judas Priest claimed victory peaking with ninety five percent of the vote beating out the likes of Metallica, AC/DC, Paul McCartney, Journey and the Black Crowes. It was more than clear that Texans were ready for some Priest!