In a recent interview with the Bradenton Classic Rock Music Examiner, original JUDAS PRIEST singer Al Atkins was asked if he ever regretted leaving the band, which he fronted from its inception in 1969 until 1973. “I was the only one in the band that was married with a kid to feed and without a record deal and the backing we needed I just couldn’t survive anymore, so I decided to get a haircut and a 9-to-5 job,” he replied. “Yes, I did regret it, but was happy for them to eventually get that deal and climb the ladder to succeed and they much deserved it.”
Regarding what would have been different with JUDAS PRIEST had he stayed in the band, Atkins said, “Well, when Rob [Halford] came in, he took them to another level with his style of high-range vocals and then stepped in Glenn [Tipton, guitar] to add that harmony impact on guitars. Both were writers, too, so they made their own mark and a great job, too… If I would have stayed with them, we may have taken a different road. Maybe more like AC/DC, but that’s not a bad thing, is it?”
Atkins and Christian guitarist Paul May recently joined forces to create a powerful new CD called “Serpent’s Kiss”, now available on Gonzo Multimedia. The 10-track album is the product of two of the Midlands’ finest architects of rock and metal coming together to create something that is unique and totally exhilarating.
Atkins is the co-writer of several PRIEST songs which are included on the band’s first two albums, “Rocka Rolla” and “Sad Wings of Destiny”, both of which eventually went gold. Atkins co-penned the heavy metal classic “Victim of Changes”, which was a combination of Rob Halford‘s song “Red Light Lady” and Atkins‘ own “Whiskey Woman”. He also co-wrote “Winter”, “Never Satisfied”, “Dreamer Deceiver” and “Caviar and Meths”.
In 1989 Atkins released his debut solo album, “Judgement Day”, to great acclaim. But it was “Heavy Thoughts” and “Victim of Changes” (the latter being his collaborative album with ex-JUDAS PRIEST drummer Dave Holland) that brought him strong sales and critical acclaim around the world.
JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill penned the foreword to Al Atkins‘s autobiography, titled “Dawn of the Metal Gods: My Life in Judas Priest and Heavy Metal”. The book, which was written with Neil Daniels — a freelance rock writer and heavy metal fan who befriended Atkins during the writing of Neil‘s book “The Story Of Judas Priest: Defenders Of The Faith” (Omnibus Press) — was released in 2009 via Iron Pages.
ATKINS/MAY PROJECT‘s “Fight” video: