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Benjy says...

Happy New Year to all Rock of Ages listeners,fans and subscribers. The good news is that I will be back live-on-air next Thursday, 11th January with loads of new and classic rock to play you .... the special will be none other than one of the most acclaimed, often copied but never equalled Judas Priest......

The Rock of Ages Special - Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Judas Priest are a heavy metal band formed in 1970 in the northwest midlands of England, near Birmingham. Originally formed by K.K. Downing and Ian Hill, Judas Priest's classic line-up consists of vocalist Rob Halford, guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, and bassist Ian Hill. They have been cited as an influence on many heavy metal musicians and bands. Their popularity and status as one of the definitive heavy metal bands has earned them the nickname "Metal Gods." Judas Priest were one of the first bands to modernize the twin-lead-guitar sound, with the duo of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. They combined this sound with Rob Halford's high-pitched, melancholic and angry screaming lead vocals to create their own unique style of heavy-rock. They are cited often for their influence on heavy metal and the root sound of the guitar work in speed metal and thrash metal.Another noted feature of the band is the dual "rhythm guitar", which plays an essential role in hard rock genres and especially in heavy metal.

Judas Priest

K.K. (Kenneth) Downing and Ian Hill knew each other almost since birth, as they lived nearby, attended the same nursery and school in West Bromwich, UK. Their friendship drew closer in their early teens as they shared similar musical interests (Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Yardbirds) and both started to learn to play an instrument. In 1968 a fairly well known local ensemble named Judas Priest (after Bob Dylan's song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" from the John Wesley Harding album) broke up and the band's singer, Alan Atkins, approached Downing and Hill who accepted him as their singer and adopted his former band's name. With Downing in control, the band moved swiftly from their original bluesy tunes towards heavy rock and then what later would be defined as heavy metal. This trio, with various drummers, continued extensive touring of Birmingham and the surrounding areas, sometimes supporting Budgie, Thin Lizzy and Trapeze, until 1974. Financial difficulties and problems with their management, Tony Iommi's company, IMA, lead to Alan Atkins' and drummer Alan Moore's departures. At the time, Ian Hill was dating a girl from nearby town Walsall who suggested her brother, Robert Halford, as singer. Halford (who previously worked as a stage manager at a local cinema) was admitted to the band, and brought with him drummer John Hinch from his previous band, Hiroshima. This line-up toured heavily in the UK, often supporting Budgie, and even headlining some shows in Norway and Germany. Before the band entered the studio to record their first album, the record company suggested another musician should join them. Reluctant to add an organ or trumpet player, Downing settled on another guitarist called Glenn Tipton, from the Stafford-based Flying Hat Band. According to Judas Priest band members, there were some technical problems during recording, but the record company refused to address them, and their debut album Rocka Rolla suffered "horrible" sound quality. Management problems also prevailed; according to the band, producer Rodger Bain, (who was an established professional, having produced numerous albums for famous groups such as Black Sabbath had too big a say in the production of the album. He left out stage classics "Tyrant", "Genocide", and "The Ripper", and cut another, "Caviar And Meths", from a 10-minute song to a 2-minute instrumental.

Judas Priest

With their next album, the band gained some more experience and confidence, fully participating in the production, as well as choosing the producers. The result was Sad Wings of Destiny (1976). This album featured mostly old material, including the aforementioned stage favorites and an epic "Victim Of Changes" - a song combining "Whiskey Woman", a stage classic since the era of the first Judas Priest (Al Atkins' band) and "Red Light Lady" brought by Halford from his previous group, Hiroshima.Three subsequent albums, Sin After Sin (1977), Stained Class, and Killing Machine (both 1978) further explored the possibilities of the heavy metal genre, employing such talented drummers as session player extraordinaire Simon Phillips and Les (James Leslie) Binks. Killing Machine marked a new turn in the creative direction Judas Priest was taking: the songs were shorter and had commercial appeal, yet were performed with a lot of metal punch. This emphasis on simple, albeit relentless and powerful beats that needed to be performed live with equal power led to Les Binks (he wrote the music for "Beyond The Realms Of Death"), a jazzy type of drummer, leaving, and Dave Holland (ex-Trapeze) becoming their new drummer.With this line-up, Judas Priest recorded twelve studio and two concert albums to different degrees of critical and financial success. Overall, the band has sold in excess of 35 million albums globally.The following release, British Steel , (April 14, 1980), took an even sharper turn in the same direction and was perhaps the first heavy metal album to record radio-friendly songs with pop hooks, in a concise format.

Judas Priest

The band's next effort, Point of Entry (1981), is harder to define — the sound was very "raw" (i.e. minimal sound manipulation) and the songs were somewhat moody, and paced at a slower than usual tempo. As guitarist Glenn Tipton later admitted, Point of Entry had the tough task of living up to the standards set by its predecessor, and failed to do so. Subsequent albums Screaming for Vengeance (1982) — which contained the popular radio hit "You've Got Another Thing Coming" — and Defenders of the Faith (1984) once again set high standards in intensity and production, and continued to influence the sonic shape of heavy metal. Turbo (1986) found the group introducing a "synth-guitar" sound to their metal template. Turbo remains as Judas Priest's best-selling record.Ram It Down (1988), which was originally to be part of a two album set with the Turbo album, garnered little commercial attention. The style was heavier than the material found on Turbo but still contained the synth elements of the previous release.For Painkiller (1990) Judas Priest returned to a more straightforward heavy metal style with more technical and double-bass drumming from new member Scott Travis. This album represents one of the heaviest and most intense in the band's discography, with Halford's trademark high-pitched wail rising to an ear-splitting shriek on certain tracks, bordering on a atonal death-metal-like scream. Indeed, there is a "death metal version" of the title track available on the internet, by the Florida death metal band Death.

Judas Priest

In summer 1990, the band was involved in a civil action that alleged they were responsible for the suicide attempts in 1985 of 20-year old James Vance and 19-year old Ray Belknap in Reno, Nevada, USA.On December 23, 1985 Vance and Belknap got intoxicated then went to a playground at a Lutheran church in Reno. Belknap shot a 12 gauge shotgun under his chin dying instantly, and Vance followed, but survived with a severely disfigured face. He died approximately three years later due to the effect of his painkillers.The boys' parents and their legal team alleged that a subliminal message of "do it" had been included in the song "Better By You, Better Than Me" (from the Stained Class album), and that the command triggered the suicide attempt.The suit was eventually dismissed on its merits, as the band had pointed out that if you were to play any song backwards and tell someone there was a message, it'll sound as though there actually is. One of the defense witnesses, Dr Timothy E. Moore, wrote an article for Skeptical Inquirer chronciling the trial.The trial was covered in the 1991 documentary Dream Deceivers: The Story Behind James Vance Vs. Judas Priest. In the documentary Halford commented that if they wanted to insert subliminal commands in their music, killing their fans would be counterproductive, and they would prefer to insert the command "Buy more of our records". Regarding the prosecution's assertations Halford pointed out that "do it" had no direct message, commenting " what? Mow the lawn? Have a cup of tea?" After the end of their highly acclaimed and successful Painkiller tour in 1991, Halford left Judas Priest due to several years of internal tensions in the band. Rumors started to circulate as early as September of 1991, although Halford collaborated with the band in the release of a compilation album entitled Metal Works: '73-'93 to commemorate their 20th anniversary. He also appeared in a video by the same title, documenting their history. His departure from the band was officially announced later that year.Tim "Ripper" Owens, who had previously sung in a Judas Priest tribute band British Steel, was hired in 1996 as Judas Priest's new singer. This line up released two albums, Jugulator and Demolition as well as two double-live albums - Live Meltdown and Live in London, the latter of which had a live DVD counterpart.Owens' story of turning from fan to frontman was the inspiration for the film Rock Star, although Owens did not actually participate in the production of the movie. Because the film's content bore only a tangential resemblance to Owens's actual history with the band, Judas Priest later moved to disassociate themselves from the film. The film (starring Mark Wahlberg) was a critical and commercial flop, though the fictional band portrayed in the film - Steel Dragon - achieved a sort of cult status among Heavy Metal and Judas Priest fans. As of December 2006, Steel Dragon is one of the Top 20 most-looked-up band sites on the popular online Rock Music database: Rock Detector.The Best of Judas Priest: Living After Midnight (1997) is a greatest hits album including hits such as "Electric Eye", "Turbo Lover", "Living After Midnight", "The Green Manalishi" and many other hits. It contains the hits from 1979 through 1990..

Judas Priest

After almost twelve years apart, Judas Priest and original lead vocalist Rob Halford announced their reunion in July 2003. They immediately embarked on a live concert tour in 2004, and co-headlined the 2004 Ozzfest, being named as the "premier act" by almost all U.S. media coverage of the event. Both tours were extremely successful. A new studio album, Angel of Retribution, was released in 2005 to critical and commercial success. It contains songs in the band's classic style, such as "Judas Rising" and "Hellrider", as well as mid-tempo songs with clear and prominent drums and less prominent guitars ("Worth Fighting For", "Wheels Of Fire"), a ballad, and an over 12 minute epic —something the band had not done since its concerts in the early 1970s.Judas Priest and "Ripper" Owens parted amicably. Owens joined as lead singer of American heavy metal band Iced Earth to record the album The Glorious Burden, which was released in 2004 by SPV Records.Judas Priest, KISS, Queen, and Def Leppard were the inaugural inductees into the "VH1 Rock Honors." The ceremony took place May 25, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and first aired on May 31, 2006. Their presentation was preceded by the band Godsmack performing a medley of "Electric Eye"/"Victim Of Changes"/"Hell Bent For Leather", and Priest themselves played "Breaking The Law," "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)" and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," before which Halford rode a Harley onstage. On April 6, 2006, the Associated Press announced the event by saying "the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame looks to be getting some competition."

Judas Priest

In a June 2006 interview with, frontman Rob Halford said about the group's upcoming concept album about the legendary 16th-century French prophet Nostradamus, "Nostradamus is all about metal, isn't he? He was an alchemist as well as a seer — a person of extraordinary talent. He had an amazing life that was full of trial and tribulation and joy and sorrow. He's a very human character and a world-famous individual. You can take his name and translate it into any language and everybody knows about him, and that's important because we're dealing with a worldwide audience." In addition to digging new lyrical ground for the band, the album will contain musical elements that might surprise their fans. "It's going to have a lot of depth," the singer explained. "There'll be a lot of symphonic elements. We might orchestrate it, without it being overblown. There may be a massive choir at parts and keyboards will be featured more prominently, whereas they've always been in the background before."

Judas Priest

  • Rocka Rolla (1974)
  • Sad wings of destiny (1976)
  • Sin after sin (1977)
  • Stained glass (1978)
  • Hell bent for leather (1979)
  • Unleashed in the East (1979)
  • British Steel (1980)
  • Point of entry (1981)
  • Screaming for vengeance (1982)
  • Defenders of the faith (1984)
  • Turbo (1986)
  • Priest Live (1987)
  • Ram it down (1988)
  • Painkiller (1990)
  • Jugulator (1997)
  • 98 Live Meltdown (1998)
  • Demolition (2001)
  • Live in London (2003)
  • Angel of retribution (2005)
Information and pics courtesy of and

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Gilby Clarke is to have a self-titled retrospective album released by Spitfire at the end of January. It includes tracks from all of the former GNR guitarist's solo albums. Clarke is now with Rock Star Supernova, also featuring Tommy Lee and Jason Newsted.

Short Cuts ... Guitar hero Uli Jon Roth releases a double CD called 'The Best Of' through SPV on January 29 ... What's the latest info on the a release for the much-delayed Guns N' Roses album, 'Chinese Democracy'? It's the first week in March. Who says so? Axl Rose. We shall see ... Ozzy is expected to go back out on tour in April. And he'll be releasing his new, as yet untitled solo album in February.

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I can highly recommend the About Classic Rock website run by Dave White. Not only does Dave host one of the most knowledgeable classic rock blogs on the Net but the site itself is very entertaining and informative. There are always great indepth stories on the artists and the rock quizzes are addictive. If you are like me, a classic rock fan, then the weekly About Classic Rock newletter is a must. Sign up at

More rock on R2K. .....
Suffering from Rock withdrawal symptoms on a Tuesday night? Well then tune the dial el pronto to Barney Simon's show between 8 and midnight every Tuesday on Radio 2000 (or R2K as Barney calls it) for the best in South African rock plus gig guide,albums reviews, demos, new releases, news from around the country and much more. ..... Unmissable!. ... Also don't forget to catch Michelle Constant between 1pm and 3pm Monday-Friday for news, music, interviews and loads of cool stuff. ... and of course. ... Mo G on the morning drive, weekdays 8-10am. .. Exclusively on Radio 2000.
Live Gigs
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You say it's your birthday...
January 4
Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) - 1950

January 5
Chris Stein (Blondie) - 1950

January 6
Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) - 1946
Malcolm Young (AC/DC) - 1953
Wilbert Harrison (Canned Heat) - 1929
Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention) - 1947

January 7
Kenny Loggins (Loggins & Messina) - 1948

January 8
David Bowie - 1947
Robby Krieger (Doors) - 1946
Terry Sylvester (Hollies) - 1947
Elvis Presley - 1935-1977

January 9
Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) - 1944
David Johansen (New York Dolls) - 1953

January 10
Pat Benatar - 1953
Donald Fagen (Steely Dan) - 1948
Rod Stewart - 1945
Michael Schenker (UFO) - 1955
Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash) - 1945
Aynsley Dunbar (Journey, Whitesnake) - 1946
Neal Smith (Alice Cooper Band) - 1946

January 11
Clarence Clemons (E Street Band) - 1942
Tony Kaye (Yes) - 1943

Courtesy of
About ClassicRock

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Benjy Mudie
Benjy Mudie with Void in the late 70's - click for bigger picture Benjy Mudie 2006 - click for bigger picture
Then Now

Benjy Mudie is a self confessed 'rockaholic' with little chance of recovery. .. a music obsessive whose entire life has been spent in search of the lost chord. .. from discovering Jimi's "Are you experienced" at 13, he has constantly devoured music through lp's, singles, tapes, cds, dvds, books, magazines, film, concerts, radio, tv and the internet. His entire working life has also been music related: from running a record store and later joining WEA Records in the mid 70's through to his 21 year A&R/Marketing stint at Tusk Music where he signed some of the biggest names in South African rock and pop. The last 8 years have been spent nurturing new talent at his indie label Fresh Music and reissuing classic albums as part of it's ongoing Retro series. ... To say that 'music is his first love' (to paraphrase John Miles's classic song) is somewhat understated.


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