Original JUDAS PRIEST Singer AL ATKINS ‘Bears No Grudge Against’ His Former Bandmates
Greece’s Rockoverdose.gr recently conducted an interview with original JUDAS PRIEST vocalist Al Atkins. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Rockoverdose.gr: So second album released recently with guitarist Paul May [as ATKINS MAY PROJECT]. Looks like the project is running well?
Atkins: Yes, it has been received really well by the worldwide press so far. When it was released in November, it was voted “album of the month” in a metal magazine in Denmark so it was off to a good start.
Rockoverdose.gr: What are your feelings on this album?
Atkins: It has to be one of the very best recordings I have ever been involved with. Our first offering, “Serpents Kiss”, took us by surprise how well it was received and they were just a bunch of really good random songs that Paul had written but this time Paul wrote all the material with me and my vocal style in mind so I was more comfortable singing “Valley of Shadows”. From the heavy opener, “Welcome To The Nightmare”, the album weaves its way through classic British metal, heavy blues rock and even progressive metal songs, so there’s something for everyone on this album.
Rockoverdose.gr: Is there an option for the ATKINS MAY PROJECT to go live?
Atkins: We would really like to put a band on the road and would have a great set list with songs from ATKINS MAY and old songs that I have written from JUDAS PRIEST and from my solo catalogue too. We will be looking at finding a good promoter to put this thing together soon and we have already been asked to play far-off places like the West Coast of USA and even India, so who knows? We would like to come over to Greece too, so if you know of a promoter out there point him in our direction??
Rockoverdose.gr: What was your reaction when K.K. Downing left JUDAS PRIEST?
Atkins: I was shocked like everyone else, but he is 60 years old and if he feels it’s time for him to retire, that’s up to him. I thought he may return to record another album and play the odd festival in a six-piece lineup like IRON MAIDEN did, but that’s not to be, so I have been told.
Rockoverdose.gr: Having known that you wouldn’t last at your day job after you quit JUDAS PRIEST, do you regret that decision?
Atkins: At the time, no. I had formed a great rock band called LION with Bruno Stapenhill on bass from the first PRIEST lineup and Pete Boot from BUDGIE, and we were having a great time back on the road, which lasted about four years. All this time, I could see JUDAS PRIEST climbing that ladder and it was great to see something I had been involved with making it to the top and they desereved it.
Rockoverdose.gr: Do you find the appropriate credit was given to you, having written songs on the first two albums, but also having offered that legendary band name nowadays?
Atkins: “Yes and no” would be my answer… I think credit was given to me, but I wished that they would have put my name as a past member on their official web site.. It wouldn’t have done them any harm, but I bear no grudge against them. After all, it could be their management who stops a lot of things happening. I’m still in touch with some of the band and went to Ian‘s [Hill, bass] house for a New Year party last week.
Rockoverdose.gr: Are you considering moving on with HOLY RAGE, or a new solo album? What are your plans for 2013?
Atkins: HOLY RAGE has been put on the back burner for now, and yes, I will be recording another solo album this year, but it will be re-recordings of all my old favorite songs I have written since my time with JUDAS PRIEST up until now. “Never Satisfied” and “Winter” will be the only two JUDAS PRIEST songs, but I have a surprise guest on one of those tracks and other guests will also be performing too. There will also be a never-seen-before classic photograph of JUDAS PRIEST and me from ’73 in the inlay, so looking forward to that. I have also been asked to work with Stevie Young, Angus‘s nephew, on some new material, so we will see where that goes. In the meantime, I must concentrate on ATKINS MAY PROJECT videos that we will be filming in the coming months ahead…
Read the entire interview at Rockoverdose.gr.
“Welcome To The Nightmare” video:
“Valley Of Shadows” audio samples: