JUDAS PRIEST's IAN HILL: 'When We Finally Knock It On The Head, There's Other Bands That Will Step Up And Take Our Place'

October 1, 2023

In a recent interview with The Press-Enterprise to promote JUDAS PRIEST's upcoming appearance at the Power Trip festival in Indio, California, PRIEST bassist Ian Hill dismissed the notion that heavy metal and rock are dead. He said: "When people say things like 'rock is dying', I just go, 'What are you going to replace it with?'

"There's always been mainstream popular music and then you have these quirky things that have bubbled up underneath and heavy metal is one of those things," he explained.

"When we finally knock it on the head, there's other bands that will step up and take our place, I'm sure. But at shows, we're seeing people bring their kids and grandkids in some instances and they get hooked so, you know, there's a good future for it."

Hill previously commented on the popular theory that "rock is dead" or that it will never be what it once was during a November 2018 interview with The Korea Times. At the time, he said: "I don't agree with the idea that rock is dead or anywhere near. In my experience, the festivals that we play at are better attended than ever and there are more young faces in the audience than old ones, so there is a great future for rock and heavy metal.

He also advised young musicians to "keep improving where you can and be patient. If you've got something good going, someone will notice sooner or later," he said.

A few years earlier, Hill's bandmate Rob Halford told Canadian journalist Mitch Lafon that he also disagreed with the notion that rock was dead. "I've heard that statement a number of times through the decades that I've been in metal," the singer said. "I don't think it is. I think it's absolutely in incredible shape right now. [It's] never been stronger."

He continued: "I think we're surrounded constantly by new talent and the enthusiasm that surges from new bands of all kinds keeps rock alive and strong, and I think it'll always be that way. So, for me, when I check out the metal sites that I do every day — I check out a dozen metal sites from different places around the world — I see the strength and the power there, and it's tremendously exciting. It's a different world now, for sure, in terms of the way the industry side of the business works. That is a whole new perspective compared to how it was even twenty years ago, with the advent of the Internet, which created an enormous amount of… a change of perspective. It affected everybody in a great way.

"So what I'm saying is rock isn't dead. It's alive, it's thriving, and it's exciting."

At the end of 1997, during a period when he was pursuing other projects after leaving PRIEST, Rob famously told then-Metal Edge magazine editor Gerri Miller that metal was "dead" and told others that he would never return to the band. "Metal is dead and I am done with it," he was quoted as saying.

Rob later recanted his quote about the state of heavy metal, telling Metal-Rules.com in a 2008 interview, "That was an absolutely fucking stupid thing for me to say. I was just so emotional that day. I can remember I was sitting on my tour bus outside of the Hollywood Palladium in L.A. and I think the TWO band was working with RAMMSTEIN that night and I was just in a bitch mood. [Laughs] I said something which I…. you know, everybody has the freedom to be stupid and I was completely stupid that day. I've made amends in recent years about making that ridiculous comment. I think I was probably just reflecting on my own situation, frustrations that come with what you do and I think it was probably a Monday night; I don't particularly like Monday that much. [Laughs] Had it been Friday or Saturday, I'd have been in a different frame of mind. But I was just being a bit of a petulant rock star bitch that afternoon, so there you go. It's all water under the bridge now."

The inaugural Power Trip event will feature top acts in the rock and heavy metal genres performing on a single stage at the Empire Polo Club. The three-day event will feature just two bands playing full sets each evening, with GUNS N' ROSES and IRON MAIDEN kicking things off on Friday, October 6; AC/DC and JUDAS PRIEST performing on Saturday, October 7; and METALLICA and TOOL closing out the show on Sunday, October 8.

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