May The Rock Be With You recently conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
May The Rock Be With You: It's been six years since "Nostradamus", so in that time what inspired the songs for ["Redeeemer Of Souls"]?
Hill: Well, a lot of it came from Richie [Faulkner, guitar], you know, and his enthusiasm. [laughs] We had written a few songs before Richie got involved in it, you know, and we just got to contemplating whether we do an album or not. Will it be needed, or if, indeed, we would still be rocking after forty years? Yeah, the guys started to write and Richie got together with Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and Richie would sit in the dressing room and strum a few riffs and a few chord sequences, you know, and walk around saying, "Oh, that sounds good…" and then Glenn started, and at the end of the tour, they had quite a few ideas between them and we took a bit of time off after the last tour, and then got together to write and record and it turned out great, if I do say so myself. [laughs]
May The Rock Be With You: The album also marks Richie's recording debut with the band. What was it like having a new player in there after so long with KK [Downing]?
Hill: Well, I'll tell you what: to do a tour with Richie was beneficial, because not only did we all find out how good a musician he was — because he is, he's a phenomenal player — we also got to know his character as well. Working with somebody that you get along with is very, very important. You can be the finest musicians in the world, but if you've got an arsehole in there, you won't get on very well. [laughs] He's a great bloke, a really genuinely nice man, and, of course, by the end of the tour, we weren't just colleagues, we were great friends as well. So [this enabled us] to seamlessly slide into writing mode and recording mode. We have a way of doing things and he'd done recordings in the past and may have done things differently, but he sort of fitted straight in with our recording methods, and he's just a joy to work with, really.
May The Rock Be With You: After sixteen albums, this being your seventeenth, how do you manage to keep things fresh?
Hill: Good question. [laughs] We've always tried to improve and push and get better over our forty years. We've obviously matured and improved as individuals and as a band as well, and I think trying to do things differently, but we've never been afraid to try anything, you know. If there's a new recording technique, or a recording pedal, or a tech gadget, we'll give it a go, and if it sounds good, we'll use it. If not, we'll throw it away and move on. I think it's the risk to improve and get better and push the envelope a little bit; it sort of keeps everything fresh. As I said, it's evolved over the years. If you listen to "Rocka Rolla" now, even to "Screaming For Vengeance", the difference is immense — the quality and the playing, and, of course, compared to now, there's a similar jump in keeping up with the times, and like I say, pushing a little and getting a little bit better and trying little things here and there.
May The Rock Be With You: What do you still enjoy about being part of JUDAS PRIEST?
Hill: You know what? I enjoy all of it. [laughs] I really do, I'm a sucker for punishment… I look back on my career and think how fucking lucky have I been to be able to do something you love and be able to make a living out of it, and that's the key. We all still love it, and the thought of not doing it terrifies every one of us, I think. [laughs] I still love it after all these years — I love the people I meet, and love the places I visit, and, obviously, enjoy playing music.
Read the entire interview at May The Rock Be With You.