Name: Jim ‘Nostradamus’ Bartek
Occupation: Truck Shop Parts room.
Your history as a Priest fan?
I first got turned on to Judas Priest in 1977 with the ‘Sin after Sin’ album. I have been a huge fan ever since!
Recently you’ve gained a lot of publicity by listening to Nostradamus at least once a day since it was released. How many days in a row were there exactly?
524 days before it ended with a party at a local bar, with friends, family and fellow Priest fans! It was a blast!
How did you get the idea, and when did the media get intrested in your listening sessions?
I never really planned any of this. A local dj friend of mine that hosts a metal show on Friday nights was taking a poll a couple months after the release as to how many people liked Nostradamus. I called in and said I loved it, and that I had been playing it every day since its release more as to learn as much as I could about Nostradamus and his life through Priest’s eyes. I had done some research about the man himself, but I loved the way Priest presented his life through the music and the lyrics. My friend had passed it to a few websites that he knew, and they ran stories about it and I had just kept listening because of the love for the record. The next thing you know it was all over the internet, the local papers here in Cleveland, Rolling Stone magazine, it just took off… funny thing is, there was no intention of it getting such press, I just loved the record and the rest, as they say, is history.
You must be quite familiar with the contents of Priest’s latest studio release, how did Nostradamus evolve during such a long and intense listening?
The story, I felt, was very easy to follow actually, you have an educated man that went through many trials and tribulations in his life, but the hardest felt is the loss of his family to the plague. Another point that stuck out to me was in the albums final track ‘Future of Mankind’, he basically will never die and the legacy will live on, and actually it has in that throughout the centuries people have gone back to his writings when something catastrophic has happened in the world!
Right now, what are your personal highlights in Nostradamus?
‘Prophecy’, ‘Pestilence and Plague’, ‘Visions’, the title track and ‘Future of Mankind’ are all standout tracks! But the story would be lost without the complete album! It was done so well with a lot of thought and research on the part of Judas Priest!
How many times have you seen Priest live, and of those, what was the best experience?
I have seen Priest at least a dozen times (possibly a couple more, as I have lost count), and without a doubt, the latest tour with the full performance of British Steel would have to be the highlight, the band was tight, Rob’s vocals were superb, and I had the opportunity to meet the guys and actually talk to each for an extended period of time. I will never forget july 14, 2009 as long as I live!
So the band, at that point, were already aware of your long listening? How did they comment on that?
Yes, the band was aware of this a couple of months before, I believe. Not sure exactly how long, but they were well aware, as was their management. Rob in particular took an intrest and was amazed at the dedication I showed to the record and the time of me being a fan. Rob, as well as the rest of the guys, thanked me for being such a loyal fan of the record, and said I ‘understood’ the concept of Nostradamus. Ian joked, and said ‘you’ve listened everyday and survived!’. But he was very appreciative of my loving the album so much.
Are there any other special Priest related moments that you remember?
Nothing really special, but the reunion tour with Rob was an exciting one for me because the Metal God was back where he belongs, with the mighty Judas Priest!
What does the music of Judas Priest mean to you?
Priest’s music has always been pure and hard-hitting! I spent 20 years in the U.S. military and Priest’s music got me through some stressful times. I could put on a Priest record and be ready for the next challenge that came up… Priest’s music somehow always put a smile on my face.
I understood Priest’s music has always been highly appreciated among the US soldiers, especially during the days of Gulf War in the 90s?
I was actually in the service during the Gulf War, and I can honestly say, Priest’s music kept me going, and gave me a postive attitude to do what was necessary to get back home to see the ‘Metal Gods’ again! I truly thank Priest for giving me the strength to persevere and get though those times!
What is your favorite album and song?
The favorite album is a no brainer, Nostradamus! But I love all Priest’s recordings. My favorite song of all time is ‘The Sinner’! K.K.’s solo, especially live, in that song is absolutely amazing!!! I find myself air guitaring to that song all the time!
No surprise… after Nostradamus, which album is the second most played Priest release in your house?
Sin After Sin probably gets the second most plays, as every track on that record is sheer Priest power. I love all Priest albums and all are played at no particular time. I always have a Priest album with me when I go to work, so I always get a ‘dose of the band on a daily basis!
Your message to K.K. and the Millworkers?
K.K., thank you and Priest for the wonderful music you have released over the years, you truly are the greatest heavy metal band of all time! I hope you guys continue to make music for years to come! You truly are my favorite band of all time, and I will support you guys and your music for years to come!
To all the Millworkers, thank you for allowing me to comment on K.K. and Priest! K.K. is a very gifted and special guitarist, and keep the faith, cuz you guys rock! I feel fortunate to be a part of all of this! Thank you all!!