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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Monday, 28 July 2014

AL ATKINS INTERVIEW - OK it's two years late, but who cares?

Al Atkins formed Judas Priest back in 1969. We talked about the early years of the band. He is still very active and has a brand new album out called Serpent's Kiss. 
"69' saw me form 'Judas Priest' , i was now 22 years old and  had always been more interested in the heavier side of music than the pop shit which was being churned out at this time in the UK"


It’s a great pleasure Al to talk about your music! Let’s start with you childhood. Where were you born and what were some of your influences?

I was born in a town called West Bromwich which is just a few miles outside the city of Birmingham and is part of  several other towns which make up what people call   'The Black Country' because of it's huge industrial past. It's actually become quite a famous small town now because of  it's links with the rock artists that were born here  ,i.e... Robert Plant (Led Zep) ,Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) and of course members of  Judas Priest.......

Tell me in what bands were you as a teenager? Any releases from then? 

One of my first bands in the 60's was called 'The Bitta Sweet' but unfortunately no recordings were made but we played on the same bill has some famous up and coming artists at this time like David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Cat Stevens and Elton John to name a few so it was a good learning start for me.....

Around 1969 you started your new band called Judas Priest. You played blues rock. That outfit lasted for about a year and then you joined with Freight, who were power trio at the times. How did this happened?

69' saw me form 'Judas Priest' , i was now 22 years old and  had always been more interested in the heavier side of music than the pop shit which was being churned out at this time in the UK.....our first guitarist 18 year old Johnny Perry committed suicide and so i set up an audition for his replacement....one kid that came along was K.K Downing but although he looked the part with his trademark blonde hair he didn't get the job....the guy that we gave the guitarist job to was from the City and name Ernie Chataway.We played a mixture of music at the time like covers by Steppenwolf, Quatermass, Quicksilver Messenger Service, prog rock , blues to heavy rock...John Partridge(drums) and Bruno Stapenhill (bass) made up the rest of this four piece band. We signed a three year contract with London based 'Immediate Records',but not long after they went bust and with one lot of bad luck after another we decided to called it a day.

1970 , Undeterred i decided to try again with a new line up and went along to some rehearsal rooms called 'Holy Joes' and this is where i met up with K.K again who i must admit had come on a lot with his guitar skills, Ian Hill was on bass guitar and John Ellis on drums. They were a power trio called 'Freight' and the name i didn't like so i asked them if they needed a vocalist and if their answer was yes  would they change their name to 'Judas Priest' ,   they all agreed and this would be a long road to the beginnings of the mighty Priest.....

Empire of Destruction
CD/DVD - £9.99

Valley of Shadows
CD - £9.99

The Serpents Kiss
CD - £9.99

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