Judas Priest--Giants Arise and Awake!

By Dark Starr

Judas Priest are almost synonymous with heavy metal.(Almost?!--they ARE heavy metal!--Dr. Mality) They were there from the beginnings of the genre, forming at about the same time and in the same town as Black Sabbath. Although it took The Priest a bit longer to get signed to a label, they were there when it was just heavy metal, before thrash, yo-metal, hair metal and nu-metal. Now reunited with singer Rob Halford after a 14 year separation, they are set to bring their metal magic to the hordes of Ozzfest fans. The band is finalizing a new studio recording, and about to bring the Priest back to the metal hungry minions.

As a long time Priest fan it was my extreme pleasure to speak with guitarist Glenn Tipton about the reunion, the new disc, Ozzfest and other topics. Evil gremlins invaded my recording though, so unfortunately the segments where he told me of plans to release a follow up to his solo disc "Baptizm of Fire" (and donate proceeds on behalf of his fellow musicians John Entwhistle and Cozy Powell ­ both of whom have passed away to charity) with material that didn’t fit onto the first release, were lost. However, there is still plenty of good material here for the Priest faithful. So, with no further ado, please hear from Mr. Glenn Tipton.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: I imagine the big question on everyone’s mind is, how did Rob Halford come to be back in the band, and how is it going?

GLENN TIPTON: Well, so far so good. We had a meeting to go over the Metalogy box set at Rob’s house. We had no intention of doing any reunion, but when we left Rob’s house we were Judas Priest again.

WC: Excellent! So, it’s going well, then?

GT: It’s going absolutely great! We’ve been in Europe for about five weeks doing a lot of festivals over there. Now on Ozzfest we’ve done two shows.

WC: Are you doing any of the material you recorded with Ripper?

GT: No, we’re not. At the moment, because we’ve only just reformed, and this is a summer tour we just believe that everybody wants classic Priest. And, obviously with Rob in the band it makes sense to do everything we’ve ever done with Rob. We just feel that that’s what everybody wants.

WC: Are you going to do a new album at some point?

GT: We’ve already recorded 80 percent of it. We’ve recorded all the songs; we just have to finish it.

WC: Is it more like the more modern Ripper era sound?

GT: No, it’s classic Priest. I mean, the writing trio’s back together again. We haven’t; tried to do anything clever or evolve too quickly. We expect the people want classic Priest, and that’s what we write naturally. We’ve been very prolific.

WC: Do you know when the album will be done?

GT: We really want it to come out in January. We were trying to get it out in November, but with all the dates and performances we couldn’t.

WC: How long of a set are you doing on Ozzfest?

GT: On the Ozzfest tour we’re doing an hour and fifteen minutes. We’re allocated an hour and fifteen minutes. Everybody’s got limited time on Ozzfest because the thing is a lot of value for the money. They’ve got a lot of acts on. We’re fine with that.

WC: I heard that you guys had been pulling out some not too often played tracks for the European tour. Can we expect any surprises on this one?

GT: On this tour, as I say, we’re doing what everyone expects ­ “Beyond The Realms of Death”, “Breaking the Law”, “Living After Midnight”, “Victim of Changes”, “Green Manalishi”, “Hellbent For Leather”, “Hellion/Electric Eye” ­ everything I think everyone expects from us. There’s no real surprises on this tour. I don’t think anybody wants it. It’s a summer tour. We’ve been away for fourteen years, and I think the people deserve classic Priest. When we come back on our own after the album is out we’ll be a lot more adventurous.

WC: Do you stay in touch with Ripper?

GT: I haven’t spoken to him for a while. Since we parted company I’ve spoken to him twice. His wife had a baby, and I talked to him then. As a matter of fact, he is in New York this weekend, so there’s a possibility we’ll all get together.

WC: In the early days you and KK had a sound that was somewhat off-kilter, but very cool. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone duplicate it. Was that your influences, equipment, a combination or what?

GT: It’s a combination of the Marshall amps and the styles that blend together. I think it’s all in the fingers, really because there’s plenty of people out there who use the same equipment, but you’ve got to use the same equipment and the same styles. We’re fortunate that our styles blend together in a unique way and give the band a lot of character.

WC: What was the last CD you bought?

GT: Avril Lavigne, she has a great voice, and that’s something you don’t hear too often these days. (Oh, Glenn, Glenn....Dr. Mality, hanging head)

WC: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

GT: You’d have to say joining Judas Priest, really. You know, we take our music very seriously, but we’re always tongue-in-cheek. All through our career we’ve had Spinal Tap instances. So, when I joined Judas Priest.

WC: Do you have any final words for the Priest fans out there?

GT: Thank you for staying with us through the years. We’re loving it out there on stage. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed playing so much, you know. We’re loving every minute of it.

Judas Priest's Official Website