Our ambition is to promote Metal and fly the flag for Metal, and when we had the chance to play in front of 30 million people, we obviously said ‘That’s great, let’s do it. Let’s show people what Metal’s all about’.”
Glenn Tipton: Hi Nando.
Wikimetal (Nando Machado): Hi Glenn.
GT: It’s Glenn.
W (NM): Hi, Mr. Glenn Tipton, it’s a real honor to have you on our show, thank you so much for your time.
GT: It’s an honor to be on your show.
W (NM): Oh, thank you so much. First of all, let me introduce myself. I’m one of the co-hosts of Wikimetal, the number one heavy metal podcast in Brazil. We have loved your music for the past 30 years, so let me thank you for everything you’ve done for heavy metal.
GT: Thank you very much, I appreciate that.
W (NM): Just to start with, can you talk about your musical influences?
GT: Well, my influences started back, you know, years and years ago. Blues, a lot of blues… I think probably my brother was responsible for me picking up the guitar. And then the first guitar player that sort of really blew me away was Rory Gallagher. I used to go to a little club in Birmingham called “Lovers”, and watch this guy play. And the energy that he put out really inspired me to take up the guitar properly. And then the only other real guitar player that just changed my world, I think, was Hendrix. I just saw a guy, you know, take the blues and progress with, and this work progression always interested me and intrigued me, you know, to take the music to another dimension. And he just let so many great songs be written in that era, so those were my main inspirations.
W (NM): Do you agree that you and K.K. created the twin guitar solo style that influenced so many bands?
GT: Yeah, we worked very hard, you know, at the application of two guitars in the band. You’ve got a great, great, powerful stereo rhythm sound, or when one’s taking the lead break you’ve still got the strings of the rhythm guitar underneath it, or you can do a fast trade off leads breaks, or fast harmonies, or slow harmonies, or melodic bits… It just gives you so much more versatility, and we worked very hard at the application of the guitar style through the years.
W (NM): How does it feel to be a metal god?
GT: I’ve never felt like a metal god, but, you know, it’s nice for people to refer to members of Judas Priest as metal gods. You know, we’re very proud of what we’ve done for metal, and hopefully, along the way we’ve inspired a lot of young students to take up the guitar and play metal themselves. We’ve always fought for heavy metal, as you know.
W (NM): Since you’ve mentioned that, could you leave a message to all those kids that are just picking up the guitar and starting a band? What would you say to them?
GT: I would say, you know, work hard, practice hard, but above all be yourself, you know, it’s very important that you have a recognizable style and a very strong character in your guitar playing. And it’s also very important that the band has the same character and uniqueness, when you’ve got that character and strength of character, always nurture it and work and expand on that. Be yourself and work on being yourself, because that’s the most important thing for success, I believe.
W (NM): How important are videogames for you to promote your music through the younger generations?
GT: I think it’s a good thing. You know, I’m not a videogame guy myself, I always believed that you should find more things to do with your life than sit in front of the video all day, but it’s what kids enjoy, and I think the main thing is that it’s great to have a videogame based around music, the main videogames are based around violence, you know, so I think it’s a good thing. And it’s a great way for kids to get introduced to Judas Priest music.
I’ve never felt like a Metal God, but, you know, it’s nice for people to refer to members of Judas Priest as Metal Gods.”
W (NM): There’s a classic question on our show, one that we ask everyone, every single person we interview: let’s suppose you’re at home listening to your ipod on shuffle mode, or the radio, and a song comes up that you just can’t refrain yourself from head banging, wherever you might be. Which song would that be so we can listen to that one right now?
GT: Oh, I can’t think of a particular song… Do you mean a heavy metal song?
W (NM): Yes.
GT: I think one of my favorites of all times is “Paranoid”, by Black Sabbath. That makes me head bang still, after all these years.
W (NM): All right. Any specific version?
GT: No. Do the original version, which I think it’s great.
W (NM): All right, we’ll be listening to that one right now, OK? Thank you. So do you already have plans for your solo career after the tour?
GT: At the moment, as you can imagine, I’m quite totally focused on Priest, Priest is my main love in life, musically. I did two solos, as you know, and Priest reenacted before, I had the tour so… You know, doing tours and doing nothing more. Writing… You know, I’m a fairly politic sort of guy when it comes to writing… It was an interesting thing for me to do at the time, when Judas Priest wasn’t working. To work with such great artists, John Entwistle and a lot of the pals… A lot of the young guns from all over the States, it was a great experience, and I think we do solo albums just to get musical things off your chest, things you couldn’t do, for instance, in Judas Priest, lyrics that would be, probably, not quite appropriate, or a certain song that wouldn’t be quite appropriate with the band. So it’s a good thing to do, and I really enjoyed it, I was very proud to work with such great musicians. But my only interest, at the moment, is obviously Judas Priest, and it’s just wonderful to be out on the road now, playing Priest music, and everybody is having a great time.
W (NM): Since you mentioned it, you’re great, I really like your solo albums. How was it for you to play with… You played with four of the greatest bass players in the world in the same album: Billy Sheehan, Robert Trujillo, Neil Murray and John Entwistle, not mentioning the great late Cozy Powell. So how was it for you to play with these great musicians?
GT: The two greatest bass players for me are John Entwistle and Ian Hill. It was wonderful to play with John, I was with Cozy, and we were going to make the band a three piece, and so we were looking for a bass player and John’s name was suggested, and we had the same manager, so I sent some tracks down and John listened to them and he came back and said “Hey, I’d love to be a part of it”. But he was an incredible musician and a really, really great character, and it was wonderful to work with him.
W (NM): Could you choose one song from Judas Priest that you’re really proud of having written, so we can listen to it on our show right now?
GT: I think a great song from Priest would be “The Hellion/Electric Eye”.
W (NM): Oh, I agree with you, Mr. Tipton. We’ll be listening to that great song right now. Is this really a farewell tour, or maybe do you think you can reunite in a few years’ time?
The other guitar player that just changed my world, I think, was Hendrix.”
GT: It’s definitely our last tour of the planet, you know, we’re off at the right age, and it’s for a good cause, we would consider doing some more of this, but we’re not going to do a major planet tour anymore. It takes a year to 18 months for us to tour the planet, and we’ve been doing it for 40 years now. So we’re just going to fall back a little bit and ease off on the touring side of things, but it’s not the end of the band, by any means.
W (NM): And can the fans expect new albums as well?
GT: We’ve done some writing so far, and our problem at the moment is just having enough time to get back in the studio and finish off the writing and finish off the recording. So it all depends really on the tour schedule, which is pretty heavy at the moment, sort of. But as soon as we get the chance we’ll get back in the studio.
W (NM): If you think back, what was the highlight of your career? I was there in Rock in Rio II. Was it Rock in Rio II or the US Festival, or maybe another one? Which one was the highlight of your career?
GT: I think the three main ones would be Rock in Rio, I think that the US Festival was a magical occasion, and I also think that Live Aid was, you know, for a very special reason, it meant so much to us all, everybody that took part on that event. So those three events, I think, were very important for Judas Priest.
W (NM): So I got two of them right, right?
GT: Yeah, good. Well done!
W (NM): Thanks. So there’s a question, I’m sure that you’ve answered it many times, but all the fans would like to know. Since this is a farewell tour, why isn’t K.K. playing until the end of the tour?
GT: It was K.K’s decision to leave the band, and he informed us last December. So, you know, we did nothing for two or three months in case he changed his mind, but he was quite decided. And the choice for us was very difficult, we had to finish or we had to find a replacement guitar player to go out and play the Judas Priest tour one last time, Judas Priest music to everybody out there. And we felt that that’s what everybody wanted, and we started to look around. But I think if we hadn’t found Richie, I don’t think we’d be out on tour at the moment, we were very lucky to come across Richie, he’s a great guitar player. He blended in the band very well, so we were very lucky, really.
W (NM): OK. We saw him playing here in Brazil a couple of years ago, with the daughter of Steve Harris’s band, Lauren Harris, so I got to meet him, he’s a very nice guy. For heavy metal, it’s really hard to be mainstream, it’s always been. But for Judas Priest it was always different, Judas Priest was always mainstream, it was always big in the US market, which was, you know, always a challenge for bands. What do you think was the reason for Judas Priest to be accepted in the mainstream media? Especially, like, if you think about the American Idol performance, which was great. What do you think was the reason for Judas Priest to be accepted by mainstream media?
GT: I just think that, I mean, I wouldn’t say that Judas Priest is exactly mainstream. You know, we’ve never had all that really compared to, sort of, rock bands, all rock bands. But that’s never bothered us, because we believe in what we do, and we’ve always been proud to be heavy metal. But I think it’s all down to the songs, I think, you know, some of our songs are more acceptable than other bands’, so we’ve become more of hit in parts of the world. And that’s one thing that we’ve always believed is that you should do what you want to, and that’s exactly what we are, we’re a band that does what it wants to do, and we break the rules a little bit, and that’s never bothered us. And I think that’s what makes us a little bit more acceptable in certain parts of the world. And yeah, American Idol was grand, and that did take metal to mainstream, and that always been… You know, our ambition is to promote metal and fly the flag for metal, and when we had the chance to play in front of 30 million people, we obviously said “That’s great, let’s do it. Let’s show people what metal’s all about.”
W (NM): First of all, let me thank you so much for your time, I know you’re a very busy man. We look forward to the shows in Brazil, we’re here to support you whenever you need, like, if you have any sort of project after this farewell tour, we’re always here to promote it. We’ll have a special on Judas Priest, where we’ll air the interview. So let me just ask you to… If you could leave a message inviting all your fans, all the metal heads, all the head bangers, all the Wikimates to your shows in Brazil.
GT: Oh, it’s just fantastic to be coming back to Brazil, you know, I’m not just saying that, Brazil’s one of our favorite countries to play, everybody’s true metal fans there, they’ve supported Judas Priest through the years, they loved every time we’ve played there. And we can’t wait to get back and play Judas Priest and heavy metal, and just have a great time with everybody, so we’re looking forward to some tremendous shows over there.
W (NM): OK, we’ll help promote these shows, we really believe that this is the number one heavy metal event in the year, so Wikimetal will be there, we look forward to your shows in Brazil. Thank you so much, Mr. Tipton.
GT: Thank you very much, man. Pleasure.
W (NM): Cheers, mate!
GT: Yeah, cheers, mate!
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