The new band fronted
by original JUDAS PRIEST singer
AngelDevil: Hi Al, it's my pleasure to know you through this interview. Tostart off I was wondering if you could tell the readers a about "Dawn of the Metal
Gods: My Life in Judas Priest and Heavy Metal". Why did you decide to write a book about Judas Priest with Neil Daniels?
AL: It came about when I was doing an interview on a Liverpool radio station 4 years ago and was talking about Judas Priest and the early years and the DJ said you should write a book about these times because no one else has and I thought why not. Something I thought would take several months to finish turned into years has I wanted to try and tell the story as true as I could so I had to contact old friends ,old road crew and managers from that time and also find old photo's, memorabilia etc and also I was writing songs for my 5th solo album Demon Deceiver at the time and was touring the East coast of USA with ex Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton so in the end I asked author Neil Daniels come on board and help me finish it. The book started out about the history and the beginings Judas Priest but when Neil found out about my history before Priest and up to present day he said I should turn into an autobiography, Iron Pages my publishers in Germany agreed and there you have it.
AngelDevil: What has been the response to the book, both from fans, media and from those close to the band?
AL: The response I have had so far has been very positive from almost everyone but it is still early days yet so I will keep my fingers crossed it keeps that way.
AngelDevil: Talk a bit about your past with Judas Priest. Which things do you remember of that time and what did it give to you, personally and artistically.
AL: The original line up started in 1969 but started very tragically with our first guitarist John Perry commiting suicide at the young age of 18, we auditioned for another one to take his place and I remember a young 17 year old blonde haired good looking kid coming along to it but he lacked experience at the time so he didn't get the job ,that was KK Downing. The first Judas Priest line up lasted just one year before I started JP 2 in 1970 with a now bit more experienced KK , Ian Hill (bass) and John Ellis on drums. Personally this was just another band I was singing for but artistically I was writing more heavier songs than ever before ,songs which appeared on Priests first recordings like Winter, Never Satisfied, Caviar and Meths, Dreamer Deceiver and of course Victim of Changes. The band started to get bigger and played alongside Thin Lizzy, Slade, Status Quo ,Black Sabbath, Spirit and Budgie to name a few but we also got bigger overheads so we made little to no money. I quit in May 1973 and got myself a normal 9 to 5 job to support my family only I was the only member of the band who was married with a child to support. Rob Halford took my place and later they bought in Glenn Tipton as 2nd guitarist the rest you know.
AngelDevil: You are good friend with Rob Halford?
AL:I wouldn't say good friend but I’m not his enemy either.
AngelDevil: Talking about your band Holy Rage, can you tell me how you and the guys first meet? Would you want to tell me more about members of the band, like personal attitudes.
AL: The 'Holy Rage' formed a couple of years ago, we started out as The AL Atkins Band to promote my 5th solo album and went through a few personal changes until we got to where we are today. We were enjoying the buzz of playing live so much we decided to carry on but to give more cutting edge to the sound of my solo stuff and I came up with the name 'Holy Rage'. The band line up is Chris Johnson (guitar) who is my right hand man and best buddy, Scott Dallow (bass) the quiet one and Mick Hales on drums ,the noisy fucker. The personal attitude from all of us is to rock out ,have a good time and hope the audiences do to.
AngelDevil: I know you're working on a new album. So, I've just heard your songs in your Myspace. You have a really incredible vocal. "Cradle To The Grave" It's probably my favorite song.
AL: Actually 'Cradle to the Grave' is off my last solo album and it's a big fave of all my fans, Simon Lees (Budgie) plays guitar, Demon Deceiver has now been re.released by Angel Air Records for worldwide distribution, another well known guitarist that guests on the album is 'Am I Evil' Brian Tatler (Diamond Head). One of the new songs on our myspace by 'Holy Rage' that you can listen to is 'Give Them Hell'.
AngelDevil: What would you wanna do at this moment of your life to realize yourself?
AL: Nothing really, I’ve done almost everything I ever wanted to do, I started out in music because I enjoyed it so much and I’m still having a great time. I've toured the world , met some fantastic people and long may it continue.
AngelDevil: Let's talk about your upcoming tour. Are you planning to play in Italy in the future?
AL: The band are playing whatever gig comes in at the moment but we have two new promoters here and in Europe now and they will be putting tours together for 2010 and hopefully Italy will be on the list. Italy is the one place that I have never played in any band that I’ve been in so if any promoter is reading this BOOK US NOW!!!
AngelDevil: What are you listening to yourself these days?
AL: Slayer, Black Label Society, anything that's loud and rocks.
AngelDevil: What about your life everyday? Did you get some hobbies?
AL: No I’m afraid I don't have time for hobbies ,what with the band, 5 kids and two dogs I’m too busy.
AngelDevil: Of course with 5 kids and 2 dogs you are really busy!!! Thank you sooo much for your availability Al. Do you wanna say something more?
AL: Well just thanks for the interview and if I come to Italy with the band I hope we meet up and the drinks are on me and also everyone out there just keep the flag flying for Heavy Metal. See you all soon.