In a brand new interview with Daily Herald, JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill was asked if he thinks that “rock is dead,” as KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons famously said last year.

“I don’t think it is,” Ian responded. “Not really. I mean, what are you going to replace it with? People come out with these things … What are you going to replace it with? It’s one of these things — metal in particular, but maybe even rock to a certain extent — it has never really been at the height of fashion, if you understand what I mean. That’s pop music — your Elvis Presley and what have you from years gone by up to the modern people. [Heavy metal music has] never really been in fashion, so it never really goes out. It’s still basically music-led more than image-led. Whereas, with the Top 40 stuff, it’s the other way around that the image means more than the music half the time. And I think that’s why it’s still here and I think that’s why it will always be in some way, shape or form. It’s always been just bubbling under the surface. Sometimes it comes up to the top — the way it did in the ’80s there — and sometimes it goes back down again. But it’s always there, you know?”

Asked if the members of JUDAS PRIEST were aware, more than forty years ago, that they were creating a form of music that was completely different, Hill said: “I don’t think we were, no. It’s something that evolved over the years. It wasn’t sort of something that happened overnight. JUDAS PRIEST evolved the same as everybody else. We started playing, in the 1960s, early ’70s, what people called ‘heavy rock’ or ‘progressive rock.’ I can remember us making a conscious effort to try and steer clear of the 12-bar element (although there are one or two songs in there over the years that have had that sort of three-chord battishness). But we stayed clear of that. We just went a bit harder, maybe, a bit heavier and a bit faster than others were doing at the time.”

He continued: “I think everything gelled into place probably around [the] ‘British Steel’ album [in 1980], which was, I think, an era-defining moment. From there on in we had that direction. We went album for album from ‘British Steel’ right up to ‘Defenders Of The Faith’. And that was really the end of that sort of line. After that, we sort of did the experimental ‘Turbo’ album using guitar synthesizers and what have you. Then we took on the harder edge with ‘Ram It Down’ and ‘Painkiller’ after that.”

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