Classic Rock Revisited's Ryan Sparks recently conducted an interview with original JUDAS PRIEST frontman Al Atkins. Atkins discusses his autobiography, titled "Dawn of the Metal Gods: My Life in Judas Priest and Heavy Metal", and speaks candidly about the formative years of JUDAS PRIEST as they struggled to secure a record deal and break out of their industrial town of Birmingham, England in the early '70s.
The chat can be streamed using the audio player below.
In a recent interview with Express & Star, Atkins stated about his 1973 split with JUDAS PRIEST, "I was the only one in the group married and with a child, but money was a struggle. We had signed a recording contract and were playing with groups such as BLACK SABBATH, STATUS QUO, SUPERTRAMP and THIN LIZZY. We were getting bigger, but so were our overheads and we were not making any money — some of the band members were not eating much as they couldn't afford the food. In 1972 JUDAS PRIEST did 150 gigs around the country, but we didn’t take any money home. Also travelling all over the country meant I hardly got to see my family and any spare time we did have was taken up with doing photos and rehearsing. I was replaced on vocals by Rob Halford, who is now called the Metal God, and I got a job at Sutton Coldfield Cost Office garage. At that time JUDAS PRIEST were working really hard, going into Europe and it was fantastic to see that something I had started was doing so well. They had become one of these bands that we had dreamed of being. Then their album 'British Steel' came out and they were on 'Top of the Pops' and before I knew it they were a household name."
JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill has penned the foreword to "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) — is available via Iron Pages.