Judas Priest ruined me. While I had been exposed to a myriad of musical genres over my young life, nothing has impacted me more than the infamous US Festival in 1983. Their “Heavy Metal Day” on Sunday, May 29th featured Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Triumph, Scorpions, Van Halen and the now-legendary Judas Priest.
That one day – and all of those bands – got their hooks into me (deep), and I was a metal kid from that day onward.
Last week, live in Montreal, Groove had the chance to sit down with Judas Priest’s bass player, Ian Hill, prior to their show with Deep Purple in support of their latest album, Firepower. Think on this for a moment: Judas Priest is not in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. The band has sold over fifty million albums. They are Grammy Award winners. They have been active for close to fifty years in the music business. And, many (including myself) consider them one of the “founding fathers” of the heavy metal genre.
Perhaps even more fascinating is how Ian has never done anything but Judas Priest for half a century. No other bands. No side-projects. No solo albums. No supergroups. Ian loves his role of laying down the groove and letting others in the band take the spotlight. But, make no mistake about it, Ian is a bass player through and through. He learned how to play the bass from his father – a bass player for local jazz acts in the UK. While Ian’s father died when he was only fifteen, Ian carries those memories and his own passion for the bass with him. In 1969, together with schoolmate K. K. Downing, Hill formed Judas Priest.
He has been playing bass with the band ever since and is the only remaining original member following K.K. Downing’s departure in 2011.
Enjoy the conversation…