Name: Rick Perry
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Occupation: boring bullshit by day / metal-maniac and musician the rest of the time
Your history with Judas Priest goes way back to 1978. How did it start?
The first rock group I started listening to was KISS around 76, then I started branching out to other bands like Ted Nugent, Van Halen, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath. I think the third or fourth concert I saw was Foghat in 1978 in Fort Worth TX. The two opening bands for Foghat were Bachman Turner Overdrive and a band I’d never heard of called “Judas Priest.”
JP was on their “Stained Class” tour, and although it’s one of my favorite albums now, at the time I’d never heard a note of their music. They came across as shockingly heavy and fast compared to the other bands I’d seen thus far in concert. I remember being fascinated with this new band… a blond guitarist on the left, dark haired guitarist on the right both headbanging (what’s that?) the whole time… and in the center, a short haired lead singer whose vocals were punctuated by laser-like piercing screams! In my short time as a rock fan, I had always gravitated to the more menacing, darker sounding bands… and now I suddenly had a new favorite!
Your list of Priest concerts is impressive! Do you remember exactly how many times you’ve seen them?
I’ve seen the Priest 22 times so far. Here’s the breakdown:
|1978||TCCC, Fort Worth TX||Opening for Foghat|
|1979||Texas Hall, Arlington TX||Unleashed in the East|
|1980||Will Rogers, Fort Worth TX||British Steel|
|1981||SMU, Dallas TX||POE (Iron Maiden opening)|
|1982||Reunion Arena, Dallas TX||Krokus & The Rods opening|
|1983||US Festival, San Bernadino CA||With Van Halen, Ozzy, Scorpions, Triumph, Motley Crue, & Quiet Riot|
|1984||Reunion Arena, Dallas TX||Defenders|
|1986||Reunion Arena, Dallas TX||Filmed for Fuel for Life Video|
|1988||Starplex, Dallas TX||Ram it Down|
|1990||Foundations Forum, CA||Showcase performance|
|1991||Reunion Arena, Dallas TX||With Testament and Megadeth|
|1992||Starplex, Dallas TX||With Alice Cooper, Motorhead, and Metal Church|
|1998||Caravan of Dreams, Fort Worth||Ripper Owens on vox|
|2002||Deep Ellum Live||With Anthrax|
|2004||Starplex, Dallas TX||Ozzfest with Black Sabbath and Slayer|
|2005||Starplex, Dallas TX||Angel of Retribution|
|2008||Starplex, Dallas TX||Heaven & Hell, Motorhead, and Testament|
|2010||Nokia Theater, Grand Prairie TX||British Steel anniversary|
|2011||Allen Event Center, Allen TX||Epitaph Tour|
|2014||Allen Event Center, Allen TX||Redeemer of Souls tour|
|2015||Nokia Theater, Grand Prairie TX||Redeemer of Souls tour|
|2018||Bomb Factory, Dallas TX||Firepower tour (Saxon opening)|
Among those shows, could you pick a few memorable ones, and maybe say a few words about each?
There have been so many good ones, but the British Steel tour in 1980 was incredible. They were very loud and super heavy… they opened with the motorcycle and “Hell Bent”. I recall blistering versions of “Sinner”, ”Steeler”, “Tyrant” and “Genocide” (with Rob firing his machine gun at the audience)….we were worn out at the end of that one, I can tell you that.
Also memorable was “Screaming For Vengeance” tour, which was the first time Priest headlined a massive arena here in Dallas. They had a devoted cult following up to that point, but “Screaming” is when the floodgates opened and Priest truly attained the status of Metal Gods! At the Dallas show the crowd rushed the stage and the people in the balconies started bonfires in the aisles!
How about the big one, the US Festival in 1983?
The US Festival, my friend and I drove 24 hours from Texas to California and got there the day before the festival. We stayed in a motel and the next morning we headed out to the festival. The gig was in a giant open area of land out there in the San Bernandino valley. I recall parking in a gigantic field and walking thru a parking lot which must have gone on for miles. We got to the festival site and it was just a sea of people, and what seemed like at least 2 miles away was the stage.
We walked through the crowd and of course as you got closer to the stage it was more and more crowded until we got about 30 or 40 feet away from the stage. We didn’t want to lose our spot for Priest so we stayed there through Quiet Riot, Motley Crue and Ozzy. Priest came on around 4 in the afternoon. We had heard that Priest was supposed to be right before Van Halen, but Van Halen didn’t want that so they moved Priest to earlier in the day! (They were followed by Triumph, then Scorpions, then Van Halen). Anyway, it didn’t matter because Priest completely owned every other band that day, Scorps were the only ones who came close in my opinion. Priest were awesome as usual and it was well worth driving across the country to see this show.
Is there an era in Priest’s long history which, to you, is an absolute peaking point?
I love the 70’s era Priest the best, but they were really the biggest metal band in the planet around the time of “Screaming” and “Defenders”.
What is your favourite album and song?
Favorite album is Unleashed in the East. I know it’s a live album but it takes all the best tracks from their earlier albums and cranks up the intensity to eleven! To me, Unleashed is the definition of “heavy metal”. If live albums were disqualified, then it would be ”Stained Class” — pure metal perfection, with no weak spots!
Favorite song: Tyrant
You have plenty of Judas Priest memorabilia. Are there any items you would like to point out?
Most of the catalog on vinyl, (a few on CD) all proudly scratched up from countless spins on the turntable for decades. Best of JP Picture disc, Rock Forever EP, Breaking the Law gatefold 45, Evening Star on Clear Vinyl, a bootleg Sad Wings shirt I bought in 79, British Steel jersey from 1980, the first Priest biography Heavy Duty, Screaming tour book, some classic posters from back in the day including the gigantic “subway” poster…my copy of Unleashed was autographed by all band members when they did an in store appearance at a record store in Dallas in 1980.
You’re also a metal musician, and have played in various bands since the 80s. Tell us more about that?
Yes I formed the thrash metal band Gammacide in 1986… we released one LP Victims of Science which is a favorite among underground thrashers. I also was a founding member of Warbeast along with my fellow Gammacide guitarist Scott Shelby and Rigor Mortis vocalist Bruce Corbitt. We were signed to Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records and I co-wrote and played on the debut LP Krush The Enemy. My current project is Iron Jaw, classic old school metallic mayhem!
About Iron Jaw, musically you have obviously returned to square one. How is the project right now?
Iron Jaw is going back to basics for me, I’ve done thrash metal, industrial, and other kinds of metal but my first love is straight up HEAVY metal. I’ve got some like-minded musicians with me in Iron Jaw and we plan on recording and releasing some material this year. Anyone interested can check out either ironjaw.bandcamp.com or facebook.com/ironjawheavymetal …. and Kimmo thanks for giving me the opportunity to plug my music!
As a guitarist, which is is your favourite K.K. solo?
So many great ones, how do I choose? I love the lead in Savage how it starts out melodic and then towards the end he says fuck it and just goes crazy. His lead in “Between the Hammer and the Anvil” is a masterpiece. Of course the “Sinner” is always great too… but I would have to say my favorite KK solo is “Jawbreaker” — a nice long solo with different sections, abstract and wild, but still very much a “song within the song”.
What does the music of Judas Priest mean to you?
No lie, I listen to Priest every day. Sometimes, the music moves me to tears…not that it makes me sad, but it can make me very emotional. For me the combination of aggression and triumphant melodies in Priest’s music is my favorite sound on planet Earth.
Your message to K.K. and Millworkers?
The Steel Mill is an awesome website, and it is an honor to be featured on the Fan Profile! I love browsing through KK’s private scrapbooks and the scans of the old tour books. You should publish a hardcover version! The Fuel of The Furnace articles are always my favorite part… Ville’s in-depth analysis of key Priest songs is fascinating.
My message to KK would simply be: Thank you for the music you created with Glenn and Rob. It has become an integral part of my life, and is a never-ending source of positive energy and inspiration!
And now it’s your chance to ask K.K. a question…
Can I ask two? I always wondered about the track Dissident Aggressor… for that track to have been written in 1977 is amazing… it is crushingly heavy and ahead of its time. I always wondered where the inspiration for that track came from…was that written before Simon Phillips started helping on that album, or did his pounding rhythms inspire the music? Do you have any recollection of how that song was written, who came up with riffs, etc?
Not sure, Rick, being such a long time ago. I’m pretty sure that we had already written the track before we met Simon. I’m sure that Simon literally played his part in adding dynamics to the song as another drummer might well have done something a bit different and not as good.
Secondly, you toured with AC/DC (another one of my favorite bands) on the European leg of the Highway to Hell tour. After that you recorded British Steel. Was that album’s raw, direct approach influenced by AC/DC?
I can only say that when Les Binks left the band we held audition for a new drummer and Dave Holland was our choice because he really layed it down, he hit the drums hard and kept good time and he lived quite local, and also had good credentials coming from Trapeze, having said that if Les had stayed with the band we would have been just as happy. Enjoyed that tour a lot, great guys AC/DC!