Judas Priest Is ‘Way Less Stupid’ Now, Says Ian Hill
Judas Priest bassist Ian Hill discussed their longevity, crediting the band's ability to mature and embrace commercial music as reasons why the veteran group is still around.
In a new interview with the Detroit Metro Times, Hill argued that some of Judas Priest's radio-friendly songs helped heavy music develop and thrive over the decades.
“We’re way less stupid than we used to be,” Hill said when asked what had changed about their approach to touring. “We’re a bit milder these days. Age does that to you. You tend to mature. You do your damnedest not to, but you do all the same. We do have to look after ourselves a little bit more than we used to. It’s not, you know, partying every night after the show. … That has been known to happen, but not anymore.”
Asked about Priest’s ability to write “hard-hitting” songs alongside some that were “more accessible and catchy,” Hill noted that "the more commercial things, they played a very important role. And you can sort of blame the record companies to a certain extent because they always wanted the radio-friendly track. … It got heavy metal across to all of these people that wouldn’t necessarily have been turned on to it at all."
He cited the example of the 1982 song “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.” "We were doing all right at that point," he explained. "We were playing sort of 5,000-seater town halls and the Fox Theatres and things. And AM radio … picked up on that song and played the hell out of it!" The result was “a huge boost” for “the whole heavy metal movement,” he added. “Those commercial radio-friendly tracks are not to be ridiculed at all. They’re popular for a reason.
“It’s a very versatile genre because of that. If you look at what happened towards the end of the ’80s, early ’90s, you’ve got bands like ourselves, and Maiden, and Def Leppard. … All of us have played songs that will make you weep all the way to songs that’ll make you scared and everything in between. And then it got more specific, so you became a grunge band, you became a speed band, you became a goth band or a death band, and it’s all part of the same thing. All those different little avenues that became available all had its roots in ‘Breaking the Law,’ you know, or whatever.”