Judas Priest, Ian Hill Interview – 50 Years of Metal Legacy


Judas Priest

Judas Priest – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Judas Priest bass player Ian Hill joins Anne Erickson to discuss the band’s 50-year legacy and more in this video interview

It’s a major accomplishment for a band to be together 10 years, let alone 50. But, Judas Priest are not most bands.

The longstanding English heavy metal outfit are currently touring North America on their 50th anniversary tour. They aren’t just touring, either, as Judas Priest have consistently released new albums throughout the years. Their latest record, 2018’s “Firepower,” has been called one of the band’s strongest yet.

Most recently, the members of Judas Priest were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Speaking with founding member and bass player Ian Hill about the Rock Hall experience, Hill says it was nothing short of “surreal.”

“It was surreal. I had absolutely no idea of the scale of it,” Hill said in a new video interview with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio. “I thought it was going to be a little room somewhere. Next thing you know, your in the auditorium. There’s paying public there, there are all these VIPs and stars at the tables down in the front. It was magnificent. It was great to be part of it- it really was.”

So, does Hill think the Rock Hall is starting to try to recognize heavy metal and hard rock acts more than in the past? He seems cautiously optimistic.

“I think it is,” he replied. “Maybe we’ve got our foot in the door now. There’s Black Sabbath and Metallica and ourselves there. Maybe there’s room for others, you know? There’s a whole list of metal bands out there who are worthy of being members of the Hall of Fame. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Hill describes the full Rock Hall event as, “Full on, all the time. The day before, it was rehearsals, and that was so many people walking around, doing so many different things. It looked like they didn’t know what they were doing or not doing much at all, but they did. But, they did. Everybody had their own job, and they were just watching stuff going on. And, it all comes together at the end. When somebody says, “Okay, go,” and there you are, and everything works, and it’s great, and the same applied, really, on the day of the show… it was full on for a couple of days there. And, I was amazed that everything ran on schedule, and there were no mistakes, nobody messed up. And it was just great to be apart of it all.”

Even though being inducted into the Rock Hall is a big honor, Hill admits the band wasn’t completely sold on the idea at the get-go.

“We were all skeptical. I won’t lie to you,” he said. “We were skeptical about it, whether to accept it or not, to start with. But, like I said, in my speech really…off the top of my head, I realize that when you start, you rebel against the establishment. You want to act differently. And then after all these years, you realize that you are the establishment (laughs). And then to be admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is the ultimate establishment, it’s a great honor, and we were thrilled to be a part of it all.”

So, what’s the status of a new Judas Priest record? Hill says it’s almost in the can.

“We’re finishing the USA leg of this tour in about two weeks time, and then we’re heading to South America and Mexico for another two or three weeks, and then back home for Christmas,” he explains. “But, we’ve been working on an album over the past couple of years, although with Covid, it’s been difficult. People have been stranded everywhere. Half of us are in America, and half of us are in Britain… We’ve got together everything now, pretty much, except the vocals. Just the vocals to go down. Always the last thing to go on, obviously. We’ve got all the music out of the way. Maybe a bit of production pieces, but fairy dust on the top. And, then it’s ready to go.”

He added, “When it will be released, we don’t know yet. We’ve got some work options coming up- live work options coming up next year, one of which is a tour with Ozzy in Europe. There’s one or two other things that might be happening, which we obviously have to get out of the way first before we can then release the album and get into something new, because whatever we do next year will the be tail end of what we’re doing now. So, it will probably be towards the end of next year, maybe even 2024 before it’s actually on the shelves. But, it’s really done- really finished. It’s exciting.”

As for the musical direction of the new album, he says, “Again, it’s a step forward from ‘Firepower.’ Maybe a bit more complicated than ‘Firepower.’ but that’s the direction we’re gong in at the moment, anyway. I’m not going to tell you any more. I’d have to kill you.” (We think he was joking, but you never know, right?)

The last time Hill was a guest on Audio Ink Radio, he expressed a desire for Judas Priest to tour with Iron Maiden. When asked if he still likes the idea, he says he does.

“It’s a great concept,” he said. “I mean, the trouble with Iron Maiden and ourselves is we’re always busy, always doing something, and trying to get in a gap there when we’re both nothing so we can do something together is more difficult than you think. But, yes, it would be a great tour or great bill, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and maybe one or even two others. It would be a great bill. And, you know, you live in hope that it might happen one of these days. You never know. The stars might line up again.”

Watch the full Audio Ink Radio interview with Judas Priest bass player Ian Hill via the YouTube player above. You can also listen to the interview on the Audio Ink Radio podcast on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Metal, Music

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