Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
The Ripper By Judas Priest, Album: Album: Sad Wings Of Destiny (1976)
This is a brief recounting of the crimes of Jack the Ripper, from the perspective of the killer by Judas Priest.
Jack the Ripper terrorized London in 1888, killing at least five women and mutilating their bodies in an unusual manner, indicating that the killer had a substantial knowledge of human anatomy. The culprit was never captured—or even identified—and Jack the Ripper remains one of England’s, and the world’s, most infamous criminals.
All five killings attributed to Jack the Ripper took place within a mile of each other, in or near the Whitechapel district of London’s East End, from August 7 to September 10, 1888. Several other murders occurring around that time period have also been investigated as the work of “Leather Apron” (another nickname given to the murderer).
A number of letters were allegedly sent by the killer to the London Metropolitan Police Service (often known as Scotland Yard), taunting officers about his gruesome activities and speculating on murders to come. The moniker “Jack the Ripper” originates from a letter—which may have been a hoax—published at the time of the attacks.
Despite countless investigations claiming definitive evidence of the brutal killer’s identity, his or her name and motive are still unknown.
UDAS PRIEST is continuing to work on material for the band’s follow-up to “Firepower” album. Released in March 2018, “Firepower” was the second LP to feature Richie Faulkner, who was selected to fill the void left by founding guitarist K.K. Downing following his exit in 2011.
Bassist Ian Hill is the sole remaining original member of JUDAS PRIEST. Singer Rob Halford joined JUDAS PRIEST in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then returned to PRIEST in 2003.
Prior to being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, JUDAS PRIEST‘s spring/summer 2020 European tour was scheduled to kick off on May 30 in Helsinki, Finland and conclude on July 28 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The band was also slated to headline the U.K’s Bloodstock Open Air festival on August 9 at Catton Park, Derbyshire.
The U.S. leg of the “50 Heavy Metal Years” tour was due to launch September 9 in Oxon Hill, Maryland and wrap up on October 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
JUDAS PRIEST has uploaded a new video touting the band’s nomination for the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. The 95-second clip contains some of PRIEST‘s best-known songs and includes facts about the group’s 50-year career, such as crediting the British heavy metal legends with “revolutionaliz[ing] heavy metal fashion and cultural dress by introducing the leather-and-studs look” and “pioneer[ing] modern metal and continu[ing] to reshape heavy metal today.”
Having been eligible for induction since 1999, JUDAS PRIEST was on the ballot for last year’s class of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, but ultimately didn’t clinch the nomination.
This past October, it was announced that JUDAS PRIESTis among the nominees for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame‘s class of 2020. The top vote-getters will be announced in January and inducted May 2, 2020 at a ceremony at Cleveland’s Public Hall.
A voter pool of more than 1,000 artists, historians, journalists and members of the music industry will select the new class. Fans will also have a chance to take part in the process by voting at RockHall.com or an interactive kiosk at the museum in Cleveland.
Rob Halford, Les Binks, K.K. Downing, Ian Hill, Dave Holland, Glenn Tipton and Scott Travis are on the ballot for JUDAS PRIEST.
Speaking to Ultimate Classic Rock, Halford said about the prospect of PRIEST finally getting the nod: “It would be wonderful [to be inducted]. I think it’s one of the greatest accolades you can be given, because you’re in the company of musical giants.
“When we were first nominated, I kind of went crazy and I was texting my friends and [sending] e-mails and going, ‘You’ve got to vote! You’ve got to vote!” he recalled. “And then we didn’t get in. I was disappointed. But it is what it is. This time, I haven’t really been checking the voting that much, but apparently, we’re in the Top 5 right now, for the fan votes. Which speaks volumes about our wonderful fans around the world that are voting every day.”
Downing, who left the band acrimoniously eight years ago, told BlastEcho in a 2016 interview that he “would be fine” with performing with his former bandmates at the Rock Hall induction ceremony if they were to ever receive the honor. Halford was also open to the idea of reuniting with Downing on the night, telling Billboard in 2017: “Everything’s on the table for anyone that’s been associated with PRIEST in and out of the band.”
To be eligible for this year’s ballot, each nominee’s first single or album had to be released in 1994 or earlier.
Painkiller (1990) was a hugely influential album in European metal.
Judas Priest added the sensational Scott Travis as their new drummer for this one and his impact is felt immediately, as his fusillade of double kick drum frenzy kicks off the record’s title track in a glorious explosion of percussive fury.
The twin switchblade guitar attack of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing drive the manic riffs and incinerating lead work under the unmistakable banshee wail of the metal god himself, Mr. Rob Halford, appearing for the last time as a member of Priest until his return in 2005.
Countless European metal bands across multiple sub-genres were influenced by the fury and fire of Painkiller (both the song and the entire album).
Other standouts included A Touch Of Evil, Between The Hammer And The Anvil, Hell Patrol, Metal Meltdown, and One Shot At Glory.
12 albums into their illustrious career, Judas Priest were still game changers and undisputed kings in their chosen field.
I was lucky to see them on this tour with support from Megadeth and Testament.
Both those upstart bands were crushing everything in their
path, but they had nothing on the mighty Priest that night.
Lets start with the cover: love the art, which, given the title of this album ( which I also love lol ), Ive always interpreted as Lucifer. Look close and youll see the Priest symbol around his neck. Great stuff.
Moving on…the opening track is Victim of Changes. Victim of fricking Changes! Who opens an album with that?? There are many great bands whod give anything to have written a song that amazing…and Priest opens with this future, hall-of-fame classic.
Dreamer Deciever is most assuredly NOT a metal song, but who fuckin cares. It has some of the best vocals Rob has ever done. And Deceiver could be the grandfather of speed metal.
The Ripper and Genocide became live favs, fleshing out this stacked album; Priest’s second. One of the best sophomore efforts ever.
Yeah, I could’ve taken the easy route with British Steel, or Screaming For Vengence, but Sad Wings, with its beautiful dry, honest, 70s production and diverse collection of songs, is pound for pound my favorite Priest record.
A rarity in the live album sweepstakes, Unleashed In The East by the mighty Judas Priest, is NOT a double album, but still manages to pack in an amazing amount of monumental heavy metal in its 9 killer cuts. Unleashed was unleashed on the public in 1979 and featured Judas Priest decimating a Tokyo crowd much like Godzilla used to do in the movies. Comprised of smoking Priest classics like Sinner, Exciter, Victim Of Changes, and Genocide, plus crushing covers of Fleetwood Mac’s The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) and Joan Baez’s Diamonds And Rust. Throughout, Rob Halford’s banshee wail and the murderous onslaught of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing’s lead guitar army just creates metal magic. Get it, crank it, live it…Priest RuleZ!
On this date in history, 12/1/1990, Judas Priest, Megadeth and Testament descended on Market Square Arena in Indianapolis and delivered a historical ass-kicking display of Metal at its best! At the time of this show, I believe this was probably the heaviest concert I had seen to date. Testament came out first and set the tone early. Chuck Billy roared his vocals like a man possessed and Alex Skolnick blazed on the guitar like Steve Vai at his most pissed off. Speaking of pissed off, the ever volatile Dave Mustaine led his Megadeth mates through a punishingly precise set that featured a crushing version of Holy Wars and some astounding guitar wizardry from Marty Friedman. I remember wondering if the headliner would be able to top these 2 thrash juggernauts when it was their time to take the stage. Judas Priest was not to be outdone, though. They were touring in support of Painkiller, possibly the thrash-iest album they ever made. Scott Travis’s drumming on that song was like a locomotive running you down at full double kick overdrive! The twin lead guitar insanity of Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing was a joy to behold, and Rob Halford proved over and over why he possesses one of the greatest voices in the history of heavy music. Looking back, it was a fantastic blend of classic metal and the pulverizing onslaught of thrash at its finest. The sheer level of musicianship at this concert was jaw dropping, and the competitive energy coalesced into a seminar on how to do metal the right way.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic
As frontman with Judas Priest and one of the first openly gay metal stars, Rob Halford is a true pioneer. The Metal God looks back on his life and times
Not for nothing do they call Rob Halford the Metal God. The Judas Priest frontman helped define metal’s sound and look in the 70s and 80s, from the operatic screaming to the leather uniform to the tongue-in-cheek humour. In the late 90s, he became the first openly gay metal singer when he confirmed his homosexuality in a landmark interview (“I’ve become the stately homo of heavy metal,” he subsequently quipped). An 11-year hiatus from Priest ended in 2003 – since then, the band have released a trio of albums that helped cement their reputation as one of the biggest influences on modern metal, even if they’ve never been fully embraced by the guardians of mainstream music culture. But we start by going right back to the beginning…
Where and when were you born?
I was born on 25th August 1951. I was born in my aunt’s house in Sutton Coldfield – that’s the place where I popped out without any warning! And then of course my mum and dad moved to Walsall where I still have a house.
What’s your earliest childhood memory?
I think it’s probably when I was about four or five, being out and about on the streets of the council estate where I was raised. I think that’s the most significant memory for me, but I can also remember me and my sister having our photo taken before that. My mum’s still got this picture, and we were both holding these little puppet marionette things. Obviously there were photos taken before then, but that’s my first official photo shoot that I remember anyway!
How did you get along with your siblings?
Really, really well. My sister is a year younger than me and we’ve never acted like brother and sister – we’re just best mates. We were always looking out for each other and supporting each other. When our younger brother came along we were both in our early teens and we had this outsider arrive – not that I want to call our Nigel that! But when you’re in your teens, you’re off exploring the world, and then another family member comes along and you become very home orientated again and you feel very protective of your family. On the whole, we’ve always been like a typical family though. There’s always been a bit of friction between us – which there should be. I think that’s when characters develop and that’s how you help each other through life’s hurdles.
What was it like being the oldest of three kids growing up in such a deprived area?
Everybody knows that there are some parts of the West Midlands that are incredibly poor, but they’re honest, hard working people. When I was born in the early 50s, the Second World War had only been over for a few years and there was still rationing going on.
But people were very proud and very determined to come back and come back strong. Life was really tough. My dad worked in the steel industry and my mom worked from home and also in the factories and stuff, but it was a good childhood.
Like most council estate communities everybody looked out for everybody else. Everybody also knew everyone else’s business in a way too. I’ve got a lot of good memories from that time. It was a good place to start life and it taught me the value of hard work and I think that ethic is still ingrained in Judas Priest today. We’re still hard working musicians. We never take anything for granted and we’ve all still got that connection to why we wanted to be in a band in the first place.
Carrying on from that – at that particular time, how difficult was it for you to come out?
I think that kind of experience, in terms of the pressure involved, is something that every gay guy goes through – feeling isolated and feeling that you’re the only person in the world who has those kind of feelings. In those days, you didn’t talk about those kind of things. It wasn’t talked about in the media, in soaps or on TV. And, I mean, for me it wasn’t until my late 20s that I felt I was actually part of something bigger y’know?
I supposed I used my music to work out all that pent-up aggression and depression I was feeling, as we all use music to blow off steam. I know it’s still tough today, even with the broad base of popular culture in the UK, there’s still a very bigoted attitude towards homosexuality. I know it’s a little bit easier now, but it’s still tough, especially in the world of heavy metal. Although, that said, I like to think I’ve exploded that particular myth.
How do you feel about being tagged as a gay icon?
I think when you get recognised for that, it’s something you don’t expect. The bottom line is that I’m a heavy metal singer in a band. Just because my sexuality isn’t considered to be the norm, for some reason it seems to always carries a bit of extra media interest. I think it’s kind of amusing that I have absolutely no relationship with the gay media whatsoever – not that I’m looking for it either. I’ve never been approached by any of those kind of publications because I think heavy metal is still viewed by the wider media as still being this very macho, male environment and the gay media still treats it with some detachment.
Don’t you find it ironic that Judas Priest’s imagery and clothing mirrors certain aspects of gay culture even when heavy metal still considers itself as a vehemently heterosexual movement?
It was never a consideration to be honest with you! When we bought that imagery into our music it was purely for emphasising the connection between how we sound and how we look – we sound this way so we have to look this way. I’ve always found it ironic that a certain aspect of gay culture has also chosen to dress this way. I’m not into that kind of thing though. I guess it’s whatever floats your boat y’know? I’m what you’d call a very vanilla kind of gay guy.
In the 80s when it was all pretty boys with lipstick fronting bands and going hell bent for leather to get chicks, how did you fare in the groupie stakes?
I never got any! [laughs] And that’s the sad thing. I’ve been celibate practically all of my musical career. I know it’s supposed to be sex, drugs, rock’n’roll… Well, I used to do the drugs and I still do the rock’n’roll but the closest I came to sex was going back to my hotel room for a wank! [laughs] I don’t want to shatter anyone’s idea about the lifestyle, but basically you play a show, get cleaned up, have some food and go back to your hotel room… alone!
Getting back on track, what was your relationship like with your parents growing up?
For the most part it was very, very good. I don’t recall any real moments of trouble per se. Both of my folks were very kind of open about making sure their kids were happy.
What was your parent’s reaction like when you told them you wanted to be in a band? And was it worse than when you told them you were gay?
I think they sensed it was coming – the band I mean. I really didn’t become totally serious about being a professional musician until I was in my late teens. And by the time I was 20-21, I was already a part of that world. But my mum’s philosophy for everything was, ‘Are you happy? Well, if you’re happy I’m happy.’ Which is a very simple kind of mantra isn’t it? My parents always encouraged me and supported me with whatever I did. I sang in the school choir and I was always singing in school productions and I think they sensed I felt a great deal of joy in singing.
As for coming out, it’s either a case of confront the issue head-on at an earlier stage or, as it was with my lot, it’s something you don’t really discuss. Y’know, ‘If he is… so what? As long as he’s happy.’ But again that comes back to their open-mindedness and their hope that everyone in the family would find contentment wherever they were or whatever they were doing. I think it would be terrible to be like that little lad in that movie, Billy Elliot, where his dad can’t accept that he wants to dance and decides to either kick him out, to never speak to him again or to tell him he’s going to hell.
Did religion play a part in your upbringing?
We never really talked about religion and spirituality when I was growing up, as much as any family doesn’t. You go to church to baptise a child. The next time you go it’s a wedding and the next time after that it’s a funeral y’know? So religion wasn’t really a part of life for me then. Like most things you discover on your journey through life, once you’re an adult and you’re trying to make sense of the world. ‘Why are we here?’ and stuff like that – you tend to become a bit more philosophical about things.
Do you have faith?
Oh yes, I have a tremendous amount of faith. For me, I found faith in 1986 when I quit drinking and doing drugs. And once I’d found faith and started the healing process I felt a lot more peaceful inside. I began to appreciate what’s important in life and what’s not important. I used to drink so much that I’d black out and wake up the next morning and not know how I got home. I realised I didn’t need these things to help me write music and I certainly didn’t need these things to help me live my life – I think I had a guardian angel looking over me.