Judas Priest is set to release their eighteenth album called ‘Firepower’ on March 9th. This new album is loaded with layers of metal from start to finish. This album can easily rank up there with such epic releases as ‘British Steel’ or ‘Screaming For Vengeance’. Metal Wani recently had an opportunity to talk with Ian Hill (bass) about his thoughts regarding the approach that the band took when writing this album. Ian mentioned that “the approach was the same as it always is. Glenn and Richie will have their ideas from the riffs and chord sequences. They will get together and prune their ideas”…”then Rob will get involved with lyrics. He is a very prolific writer, he is always writing stuff”…”Once the skeleton is there, that is when Scott and myself will get a copy of that. Scott will put his drum patterns and I’ll get to know my bass lines.”…”then when we all pretty much know what we are doing, we’ll go hit the studio”.
We also wanted to get Ian’s input on what he felt are the key differences between the new album and the band’s prior works. Ian indicated that “Yeah, for a couple of reasons. One we have a couple of producers on this album, Tom Allom and Andy Sneap. Something that we haven’t used in a long time really”. Ian went on to call them a “dream team” and “got on like a bonfire” together.
Given that Judas Priest has been writing music for over 40 years, we asked Ian if the band felt a need to write music that appeals to the fans or if they felt free to go with whatever direction best suites your own individual desires as musicians. Ian felt that they have always been able to do what they have wanted. He mentioned “things aren’t going to change drastically. We are all the same people. Everything is going to be along a certain line. We’ve never stopped to think “Oh, the fans are going to want one of these”.
Obviously the music community was deeply saddened by the news that Glenn Tipton will not be able to join the band on the upcoming tour due to his illness. We wanted to know if Judas Priest ever considered canceling the tour or reducing the span of the tour to allow Glenn to participate. Ian relayed “Cancel the tour…for a nanosecond we thought about it.” Adding “the tour has been put on sale already and it would have been a nightmare to try to cancel it at that point”. Ian continued that the band had gone through this before on the last tour, however Glenn’s condition improved as they practiced and he was able to perform as he wanted. However this time Ian said “But sadly, we were into the second week this time and he wasn’t getting any better. His body wasn’t going to let him do it.”…”Immediately after that, he (Glenn) said you guys have got to carry on. You’ve got to go on tour”.
Ian goes on to say that Glenn thought they should give Andy Sneap a try given that he knows the music and is a fan of the band. Once Andy picked his jaw off the ground, he was willing to give it a go. Ian mentioned that he has been going up to Andy’s studio in Derbyshire to go through the music with a drummer friend of Andy’s to get “the feeling of playing it live as opposed to sitting in front of a computer and doing it.” Ian adds that they are “in great shape. I think Glenn will be proud of him.”
KK Downing has recently made a statement in which he expressed his interest in filling in on the tour for Glenn. We queried Ian on whether there was any consideration by the band to invite KK to return. Ian said “Well, I’m not sure where Ken is coming from to be honest. He retired. He retired 7 years ago and he made it clear at the time that he didn’t want to come back.”…”so I’m surprised at him being surprised that he wasn’t asked.”
The mighty Judas Priest will be starting their upcoming tour with Saxon and Black Star Riders in Detroit at the end of the March. We asked if there would be any special meet and greets with fans along the way. Ian indicated that the schedule was tight and didn’t allow for much beyond the shows.
Finally, we asked Ian if the band had been upset that they didn’t make the induction list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. He said not really adding “I don’t think they like metal music. I mean Black Sabbath it took 8 nominations! So I don’t think we have 8 nominations left in us unfortunately” with a laugh at the end.
The upcoming Judas priest album is sure to be one of the highlights of 2018 and priest unleashes ‘Firepower’. We look forward to witnessing this spectacular band in action and banging our heads to this brilliant new album.