Former JUDAS PRIEST singer Al Atkins is putting the finishing touches on his autobiography, "Dawn of the Metal Gods", scheduled for publication before the end of the year through Firefly Publishing. The book will recount the origins of the band from 1969 onward and includes exclusive photographs donated by friends, including Robert Plant, among others.
Prior to creating JUDAS PRIEST, Atkins had journeyed through many West Bromwich blues-rock acts, including THE REACTION, BITTERSWEET, HALFBREED, THE CHAPTERS OF LIFE, THE JUG BLUES BAND and SUGERSTACK. In 1969 he united with bassist Bruno Stapenhill, guitarist John Perry and drummer John Partridge in the first incarnation of JUDAS PRIEST. Tragic circumstances intervened as within days of formation, Perry was killed in a suicide-related car crash. A youthful K.K. Downing was auditioned but passed over in favor of the band's second guitarist, Ernie Chataway. With this lineup the band scored a three-album deal with Immediate Records, the imprint of ROLLING STONES manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Unfortunately, as the group set about recording their intended debut the label went bust. Subsequently, Atkins reformed the band by pulling in Downing, bass player Ian Hill and drummer John Ellis.
Although Atkins stepped out of JUDAS PRIEST in 1973, he did co-write many of the early classics, including "Victim Of Changes" — a song that has never left the band's set list in thirty years. After JUDAS PRIEST, Atkins united with ex-JUDAS PRIEST bassist Bruno Stapenhill and former BUDGIE drummer Pete Boot to form LION, an act that gigged solidly until its demise in 1978. Since then, Al has released four solo albums, "Judgement Day" in 1989, "Dreams Of Avalon" in 1991, "Heavy Thoughts" in 1995 and "Victim of Changes" in 1998.
In more recent news, Al has united with DIAMOND HEAD guitarist Brian Tatler, laying down a new studio track "Blood, Demons & Whiskey" this week. Earlier this year, the singer had been involved in a band unit dubbed THE DENIAL with erstwhile IRON MAIDEN guitarist Dennis Stratton, South African guitarist Mike de Jager, longstanding bassist Pete Emms and drummer Adrian Badland.
An Al Atkins biography and discography can be found here. A full account of JUDAS PRIEST's early history and connected bands can be found here.