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Interview: Ian Hill, the acclaimed bassist of Judas Priest, opens up

Ian Hill, acclaimed bassist of the heavy metal band Judas Priest, chatted about their tour and upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Judas Priest
Judas Priest. Photo Credit: Chipster PR
Judas Priest. Photo Credit: Chipster PR

Ian Hill, acclaimed bassist of the heavy metal band Judas Priest, chatted about their tour and upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.

One of heavy metal’s all-time greats, Judas Priest, will get the opportunity to celebrate its 50th anniversary again this year with the launch of a new North American fall tour.

The “50 Heavy Metal Years” Tour will also feature Queensryche as openers and is being fueled by the highest charting album of Priest’s career, “Firepower,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 charts. “I am excited,” he said. “We are coming to the end of it, this will be the last run I think. We are starting again in October and that it will take us up to about Christmas.”

“The setlist is completely different apart from encores. It will be a surprise to everybody,” he added.

On October 18, Judas Priest will be bringing their “50 Heavy Metal Years” Tour to Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York. “We have been playing Nassau Coliseum for a long time, it’s a great venue,” he said.

Hill also complimented The Paramount in Huntington on Long Island, a more intimate venue, where they previously played two back-to-back shows in 2019. “It’s great when you can play smaller venues,” he said. “It was really good to play there.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

They are headed for induction into the coveted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where they will be recognized with the “Musical Excellence Award.” “We feel very honored to be let in there,” Hill said. “It is nice to be recognized by your peers. It should be good and hopefully, it will run smoothly. We are looking forward to it.”

The Judas Priest band members that are eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame include Les Binks, K. K. Downing, Rob Halford, Ian Hill, Dave Holland, Glenn Tipton, and Scott Travis.

Judas Priest has helped shape and mold the heavy metal landscape for the last five decades. Judas Priest’s strong sound emanated from a twin-guitar attack, coupled with driving riffs, soaring vocals, and pounding drums.

The heavy metal kings have transformed the musical landscape and have helped mold it into what it is today.

On the key to longevity in the music business, Hill said, “Our sense of humor, I think.” “You need to be friends really, if there is any animosity between two or three members, you are not going to last very long. We have been chums for a long time and you just grow with people,” he explained.

Regarding his music and songwriting inspirations, he said, “We’ve always done what comes naturally to us. In the early days, we had our own idols and influences but that was a long time ago. Then, we hope that people love it as much as we do. We’ve been very lucky over the years.”

Hill listed “Dissident Aggressor” as his personal favorite song in the Judas Priest catalog. “It is basically two guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. It is raw and powerful,” he said.

'Judas Priest: Screaming For Vengeance'
‘Judas Priest: Screaming For Vengeance’ graphic novel. Photo Credit: Z2 Comics

‘Screaming for Vengeance’ graphic novel

As Digital Journal previously reported, Judas Priest announced their highly-anticipated “Screaming for Vengeance” graphic novel. “That was great,” he admitted. “I used to read graphic novels, like most people did, when I was a kid, growing up in the 60s.”

Z2 Comics teamed with the acclaimed band for an original graphic novel whose release coincided with the anniversary of their highest-selling album of all time, their seminal “Screaming for Vengeance.”

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Hill responded, “Twilight.”

For young and aspiring bands and artists, he said, “Stick with it. Just have self-belief if you have something to offer. You need to have patience. Sooner or later people are going to start noticing you. It took us a long time, probably three or four years before we got our first record deal.”

If he were to have any superpower, it would be to “cure the sick.”

Success

Hill defined the word success simply as “achieving your ambitions.” “It can be anything… Finishing a jigsaw puzzle or a crossword puzzle or becoming president of the USA. It depends how high your mind is set,” he said.

“Success means different things to different people. For me, it means being happy, basically. If you are happy, you are successful,” he added.

Lead singer Rob Halford chatted about their North American tour, and their album, Firepower, which is available on Apple Music and on Spotify.

To learn more about Judas Priest, check out their official website, and follow them on Facebook.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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