The Girls from NH

Name: Diane “Dee” Vlatas, Janet Wyman
Age:Dee 45, Janet 46
Location: Dee: Brookline, NH, Janet: Boscawen, NH
Occupation: Dee: Administrative Assistant and Optometric Assistant, Janet: Production planner for a British owned US Defense Company

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Tell us something about your history as a Judas Priest fan?

Dee: My introduction to Judas Priest was in the late 70’s through my Brother, Robert “Bert” Plante (yes, that’s not a typo). He and our neighbor Ken started a band and their influence was Judas Priest. Their original name was “Genocide”. Ken had the Sad Wings of Destiny album and I absolutely loved the art work so decided to take a listen. Needless to say, have been hooked ever since. Around this time is when I met Janet. She was friends with a girl, Pauline, who was dating my brother at the time. She had also just recently discovered Priest and we immediately clicked and became best friends. I got married in 1987 and had 2 wonderful sons in the 90’s. I admit during this time I got away from Priest and heavy metal in general and also lost touch with Janet for a while but always felt something was missing and didn’t quite feel myself. In the summer of 2003 while shopping at a local mall with my husband and youngest son, I bumped into Janet while ordering food for my son. She was shopping for a wedding dress with her daughter and her fiancé. Just prior to this Rob Halford and Priest announced they were reuniting. We’ve always believed that these two events happening around the same time was fate! Our families sat down together and had lunch and caught up with our lives. We were invited to their wedding and have remained best friends ever since. For Janet and I, it was like we were never apart. My passion for Priest came flooding back and I haven’t looked back since. My children claim I became a totally different person but I explained that this was the real me, it was just suppressed for a few years. My sons think I’m pretty cool and my older son who is now 21 has attended several Priest shows and even had the opportunity to meet KK and Scott.

Janet: The year is 1980, hanging with friends hearing Judas Priest for the first time. I fell in love with “Before the Dawn”. The very next day I tossed my Billy Joel albums and took my brothers copy of Hell Bent! Within a year my room was wall to wall Priest posters, pictures and flags. I got all their albums, knew every song and was getting ready for my first Priest experience.

Janet’s room 1980s:

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In 1980 MTV came out and we use to run home from the bus hoping to catch a Judas Priest video. Our 1st concert was July 28, 1981 at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston MA. We had seats way up in the balcony but we didn’t care, we were just happy to be seeing our favorite band live. That show and Judas Priest music defined who we were and who we are today. Janet and I have attended about 18 shows since 2004. We’ve traveled throughout the USA and went to London to attend the Tommy Vance tribute show at the Royal Albert Hall. We were so honored to have attended such an historical event. Prior to the London trip we had started messaging with other girls from the Judas Priest message board, in particular the sinfully delicious thread started by our fiend, Brenda Talbott (aka; judaspriestess). We have made some wonderful friends because of this, especially
Mara Zile from Chicago, Becky Roberts (aka; halfordsdoll) from San Antonio Texas, and Jeanine Campbell from Milwaukee Wisconsin, Nico from California, and most recently Echo from Vegas. We met Mara first. When she heard Janet and I were going to London she decided to go and we made arrangements to meet and attend the show together. Our next big trip was to Las Vegas during the Nostradamus tour. This was a really special trip because it was really the first time we met with multiple Priest fans from the Judas Priest web site. It was so great to meet other people that shared our passion. Even now we are still meeting fans and making great friends. Since then, we’ve traveled to Wisconsin, Chicago, New York, Maine, New Jersey, and Connecticut. All the trips and adventures we’ve had, the friends we’ve made have been because of Priest and that is something we will always have and remember.

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How many times have you seen Priest live, and of those, what was the best experience?

Dee: 21
Janet: 23

For both of us, one of the best experiences has to be Summerfest in Milwaukee 2009 for the British Steel tour. We stayed at our friend, Jeanine’s, house with another friend, Laurie from North Carolina. We waited 12 hours so we could have front row. The show was awesome but it was after that was so special. We had to take our friends, Mara and Becky, back to their hotel which turned out to be the same hotel that the band was staying at. We were trying to get on the computers when Ian walked in. Ian talked to us for a bit but he had other people with him so couldn’t stay. Scott came in next and even though it was already past 1am he stopped and talked with us. Shortly afterwards KK came in and came right over. Both he and Scott took pictures and chatted but KK really took his time to find out where we all came from, how we all met, and if we were going to any other shows. KK was such a gentleman and so kind. Even though it was so late he stayed with us for about 2 hours and we will never forget that.

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Are there any other special Priest-related moments that you remember?

Hard Rock Cafe for Eddie Trunks 25th anniversary show. We had been trying to win entrance to the show for weeks. A few days before the show we were pretty discouraged but decided we would go to NY anyways and try to get standby entrance. The Friday night before the show, Eddie Trunk’s guest on his show was Heaven & Hell and they were taking calls. Janet was able to get through and spoke with Dio. He was excited to hear she was from NH since he was born in Portsmouth, NH. Janet mentioned to Eddie that we had been trying to win entrance to the show and that we were still going to NY to see the red carpet show and maybe still have a chance of getting in. Dio said to Eddie “you’re going to get them in right?” Eddie said it wasn’t up to him and that we needed to talk to Johnny Hard Rock. Monday we headed to the Hard Rock and saw them setting up. We grabbed some lunch and on our way out we decided to take our chances and asked one of the workers if Johnny Hard Rock was in. He told us to wait and actually showed up with Johnny. We explained how Janet had called in to Eddie’s show and talked to Dio and that he wanted us to attend the show and Eddie said we needed to talk to him. He took our names which we told him Dee and Janet from NH. He told us to come back at 6pm and that we would be all set. We got there at 5:30 and nervously waited. At 6pm they started checking people in and when we got up to the table, there we were, written in pen at the top of the sheet “Dee and Janet from NH”. This is how we have become known as “The Girls From NH”. We got right up front and the show was awesome! No stage props or leather outfits. It was so cool to see Priest perform in regular clothes. We also got to see Dio, who was thrilled we were able to get in. He actually got all the members of Heaven & Hell to sign our new Sabbatth Dio Years box set. We still can’t believe we were able to get in. It definitely was a once in a lifetime moment.

Gilford NH, 2009 was another memorable show for us. Our friends Mara and Jeanine came to NH and stayed with Dee on her boat. Not only was this in our home state but it would be the last show KK would perform with Judas Priest. Janet and I, along with my niece’s husband, had t-shirts designed and created to give to the members of Priest that said “New Hampshire Rocks”. Sorry KK about the size, they didn’t come in small L. These obviously now have a lot more sentiment to them. We were lucky to have been able to spend some time with KK after the show and also believe we may have been some of the last fans to have been able to share a beer with him. Dee offered KK a boat ride the next day but he was leaving early and took a rain check. Very memorable indeed.

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Janet: All of them are special in one way or another. My first Priest concert on July 28, 1981 was a dream come true. Even though we were in the last rows of the Orpheum Theatre in Boston it was still one of the greatest thrills of my life. My proudest moment ever was at a Priest event in 2007 at a show in NH. I was in the front row with my 7 year old daughter. The band realized Jami was signing the words to “You Got Another Thing coming” and Rob dropped the mike down to her to sing into it. That night she ended up with a pick and a drum stick.
Dee and I actually got a job tearing down their stage at a Portland Maine show. Hard work! I wouldn’t do it for a living but we did make $53 and got a Judas Priest Road Crew t-shirt.

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Another great moment was attending the Concert for Tommy Vance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. That was cool. We bumped into the Scorpions on the bridge over the River Thames. We made it on their website and on German TV! AND TO BOOT, THAT SHOW WAS ON MY BIRTHDAY! Being a HUGE PRIEST fan meant meeting a lot of other Priest fans from all corners of the United States and have become very close to a few of them. Now we take trips all over the country to join them at Judas Priest concerts. I would say my most memorable and greatest experience was Dee and I making our way into the Eddie Trunks 25th Anniversary show at the Hard Rock, NYC. We truly believe that we have Ronnie James Dio to thank for that! Thank you Mr. DIO!

Dee: One of my proudest moments was Priest’s 1st show since reuniting with Rob Halford. It was 2004 Ozzfest in Mansfield MA. My family was on vacation in upstate NY and my oldest son, George, and I drove six hours home to attend this show. It was my son’s very first concert, and like me, it was a Judas Priest show! He had just turned 14 and had a blast!
What does the music of Judas Priest mean to you?

Dee: Means everything to me! It has definitely defined the person I am today. I couldn’t imagine my life without Priest being a part of it.

Janet: Basically Judas Priest has consumed 2/3 of my life. From a teenager until well, when Halford left the band I would eat, drink, and sleep Judas Priest. My life revolved around them. Obsessed? I guess a little. Now 31 years later things are better than ever! I love them even more than in the 80’s. The difference now is that I am older, wiser, and can afford traveling all over to see them. Being in the front row for 15 or more of the shows has indeed spoiled me, but every penny spent is well worth it!!
(the price on that ticket stub for the show back in 1981 was $8.75)
copy of Dee’s ticket stub:

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What is your favorite album and song?

Dee: Wow, this is a tough one. I love all of them and really don’t have a favorite, but I guess if I had to choose one I would have to say Sin After Sin. Totally underrated album in my opinion. My favorite song is “Here Come the Tears”. Halfords voice is so powerful but yet haunting. There is such a buildup and intensity with an explosive ending. Would love to see and hear this song live. Seems like so much could be done theatrically with this song.

Janet: Impossible to answer. Every song and every album holds a special place in my heart. But I must say, “Before The Dawn” started it all for me.

Your message to K.K. and the Millworkers?

Dee: To KK: I have always loved your craziness and intensity on stage. When we met in Milwaukee, I was blown away by your kindness and generosity and as much as I miss you and still wish you were part of Priest I completely understand and still support you fully. I feel honored that I was at your last concert with Priest, which by the way was in NH, and was able to share a beer with you afterwards. I sincerely hope that won’t be the last time I get to see you. I’m keeping up with my golf and hope to someday play at your beautiful estate and golf course. Take care. Love you always!

To the Millworkers: Keep up the great work and thank you so much for considering us for the Fan Profile. I always look forward to the updates, pictures, and profiles of up & coming bands. KK is lucky to have a great team behind him. You guys are the best!

Janet: Millworkers: Keep up the great job you are doing with the site! KK: I miss you as being in Judas Priest today but you will always be a part of Judas Priest and someday you will sign my quilt.

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Love Always, “The Girls From NH”

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