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Saturday, September 22, 2012
Judas Priest: "Screaming For Vengeance"; Track-By-Track By Rob Halford
For Vengeance" track-by-track
commentary from Judas Priest singer Rob
"We'd never done that type of opening before. And obviously it
came from Glenn [Tipton,
guitarist] and Ken [K.K.
Downing, then-guitarist] at the time. I can't really remember how it
came together in the studio, was it one person? Was it collective? I
don't know. But we were always experimenting, always trying to do
something that we hadn't done previously. We were inspired by
what Brian May was
doing with a lot of the Queen stuff.
We've always been big fans of Queen. But Brianwas doing
those same types of multi-guitar track things. As you get a bit more
experienced in a band, you understand the value of setting the scene - we quickly thought, 'We can use this as an intro tape.' And we
did. In terms of setup, in terms of getting an audience's attention,
it just works magically, even now, when we did it at our last show at
Hammersmith (in May 2012) - once you start it, the audience just
grabs onto it right away." "Electric
Eye": "I love the rhythmic set up on that song. Emotionally
again, it starts roaring right from the opening bars. We're a metal
band and if you're that sort of band it's important that you make
sure you have that type of attitude and approach within your first
two or three tracks. It reinforces who you are and what you're trying
to do. The way that 'Electric Eye' kicks
off is very much a statement, an assertive statement… It's a really
good song and I think it's just got the attitude and the in-your-face
drama that Priest has
always tried to put forward."
On The Wind": "I love the way 'Electric
Eye' and 'Riding
On The Wind' bash
into each other. 'Riding' starts
with that drum passage, that clattering, and then it just really
roars off. It's probably a stronger statement in terms of metal
than 'Electric Eye' is
musically. It just has a wonderful sense of being determined and
having that type of strong and forceful attitude to it. It's about
shooting for the stars. It pertains a bit to being on a bike, riding
on the wind, that sort of thing. Lyrically I was trying to take the
atmosphere of a lightning storm, or a hurricane, and riding on it and
grabbing hold of it. It's a glorious statement in terms of
"I know I keep saying this, but I love the way that song starts.
It's got a really cool riff that Glenn came
up with. Each of the tracks on the record start off with either an
individual riff or something of a musical melodic passage that kind
of sets the scene before the rest of the song kicks in. It's got a
great breakdown, this kind of rhythm where - I don't know whether
[then-drummer] Dave Holland came
up with it - it's got that 'k-chonk k-chonk k-chonk' thing between
the vocal phrases after the second line. Then he kind of snaps with
the rhythmic 'k-chonk' and it's a very unusual arrangement. It's a
little bit paranoid, because it talks about waking up in the night
and being afraid of the game going on around you — I have no idea
what that really means looking back!"
These) Chains" :"This was written by Bob
Halligan, Jr., a songwriter discovered by Columbia in
America. We ended up doing a few of his songs over the years. The
label knew we'd recorded other people's songs before, and I think
they must've had discussions saying, 'Well, at least the guys can
understand the importance and value of what a song that could work on
rock radio could do for them.' They just sent the demo over and we
immediately warmed to it. Again, I think whatever we've done in terms
of a cover, we've had to fully understand that it can be given
the Priest signature
musically. It's a wonderful song in terms of composure and the
riffage in it. For the first time, maybe after what we were doing
with [1981 album] 'Point Of Entry', we were feeling a bit more
comfortable with talking about songs that dealt with relationships - it's not really seen as a metal thing is it? But even metalheads have
boyfriends and girlfriends."
And Pleasure": "I think we were drunk the night we wrote
this. Really fucked up. I was out of my fucking tree! When you get
drunk, some people get violent, some people get giggly and some
people get horny - and I just generally got very horny. That's just
how I was in those days. Suddenly it's a complete change of tempo and
emotion. It's a very simple song rhythmically, but you're kind of
delving into a little bit of S&M with the 'You give me pain but
you bring me pleasure…' line. That was the reason why we were
attracted to the message in that song, we were fully ensconced in
that leather image by that point. I love the slide guitar on that
record, that's very much in the blues world, there's a portion of the
blues that has that type of thing going for it."
For Vengeance": "It's very unusual. It starts
instrumentally in a very unusual tempo and the riffs and everything…
it's not quite thrash, but it's got that attitude about it. It's
really full-on and I get to use a voice that I don't really use on
the other tracks. Everything goes into top gear and I think it's a
wonderful complement to the way 'Pain And Pleasure' has
been slugging along like an 18-wheeler. Then suddenly the thing lifts
off again - it's easily the fastest song on the record."
Got Another Thing Comin'": "That song has had a second
lease of life because it's on one of the 'Guitar Hero' games.
I met a guy recently whose 14-year-old son's favorite song
is 'Another Thing Comin'', and he got to it via 'Guitar
Hero'. It's is a song that's transcended from place to place. It goes
from a record onto radio, onto a cassette player, then onto a CD, and
then to an MP3 and then to a video game. That's a blessing for
musicians, really, that your songs reach people through ways that
ordinarily you wouldn't imagine."
"I love the floaty, ethereal opening sequence. It's got a
wonderful tone to it. It's got all these big multi-vocal tracks and
this very dreamy landscape musically to it. I know that at the time
we wrote it, Glenn andKen were
always being offered these new types of pedal board switches that
would change the sound of the guitar. Some of the gear that was sent
over at the time made the guitars sound like I'd never heard them
before. It's, again, a lonesome, plaintive song. You get the image of
this kind of… if you have an argument with somebody, sometimes you
just like to slam out the house and just take a walk at night and I
think that's what that song is. It's a contemplation song. It's got
this type of emotional relationship setup in it. It's like lost love.
It's a plaintive call to fix something that's broken."
Child": "Again, it's a strong statement and I think
whereas 'Fever'is a bit plaintive - maybe a little bit full
of, not self-pity, but that kind of emotion - this is just the
opposite. This is the real stuff, when you meet someone and your head
blows off. It's a very secure, aggressive statement about meeting
somebody that has a twisted side. It's got that wonderful rolling
guitar riff on the chorus, that nice, flowing, almost picking groove
to it. It's a great way to end the album."