Interview By Ville Krannila / December 2012
From Mannheim, Germany comes the mighty Judas Priester. Determined to deliver a first-class copy of the feeling, music and show of Judas Priest, this great tribute band has claimed a lot of fans across the Europe. Frontman Boris Proegler shares the Priester story with Steel Mill readers.
First off the obvious question, why did you start a Priest tribute band and what does the music of Judas Priest mean to you?
I got infected with the Priest virus back in the early 80`s. I`ve always sung all the songs with a tapeplayer. I liked this aggressive singing style and I liked that new hard type of sound. Many years later I began to take singing lessons and found out that my voice is very similar to Rob’s and I can easily reach the high notes. So I put a band together to get on stage. I had a lot of luck in finding cracking good musicians I have now.
How long have you guys been Priest fans, how did it all begin?
We’ve been Priest fans for decades now. We all got the first view on that new sort of music when the NWOBHM bands came up in the early 80`s. We had seen them live many times and now we try to bring back this certain feeling we had back in the 80`s.
Boris, singing the songs originally done by the Metal God himself isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Do you practice the metal screams or do any vocal training?
Yes it`s been a very hard and long training. I took professional singing lessons by a classic teacher. Now I can sing opera and Priest! Isn’t that a cool combination?
You sang with Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis in London? How was it like doing Hell Bent For Leather with the guys?
Amazing! A thrill! What else can I say! I`m very happy I`ve had the chance to do it.
How much practice in general it takes to make a successful tribute act?
Most of the tribute bands I know are more projects than real bands. Not so with us. We are practicing every week. You can hear the difference between a really good tribute act who are frequently practicing or bands who are taking their job seriously.
What “gear” are the players currently using?
We use very much of a standard Heavy Metal gear. Bass player uses Ampeg ”The fridge”, both guitarists use Marshall full stacks, drummer plays a Pearl double bass kit, I use a Shure beta 58. That makes it sound original!
What’s the hardest Priest song to play live? Which one took most work to get done?
Easy to say: PAINKILLER! EPIC! This one is getting the shit out of you, I tell ya! The drum beginning, the extremely high sung words, the guitar solo, everything.
If you could add any song to the Judas Priester set, which would it be?
“Exciter” We are working on that. But actually we have been working on that for years now. I want to have it done perfect. So we`ll practice on…
Have you recorded any Priest songs in studio? If not, do you have plans to maybe cut some demo versions of Priest classic?
We´ve done some songs in our practice room. The quality came out pretty well for a demo ”tape”. Fortunately we`ve never needed a demotape for getting gigs, so we just kept the tape for ourselves.
What is the most memorable gig that you’ve played and what made it great?
Actually we’ve had many very remarkable gigs. But one is still fresh on our mind: Our drummer had cancer few years ago. We had a big gig at a big place, he wasn’t able to play that one and of course he was very sad he couldn’t play that great gig. We asked Scott (Travis) if he could come and do it. It would have been great for us and also for Priest because of promotional reasons. But he was back in the States and couldn’t do it. So we took a local substitute drummer.
Two years later the manager of this concert remembered our drummer’s situation and that he couldn’t play that special gig. This guy booked us again only to give our drummer what he deserved after he won his fight against this bad disease. We rocked just for our drummer Thomas! Look at the picture as he stood in front of a thousand Metalheads! Amazing & unforgettable!
Are there any interesting “Judas Priester on the road” stories to tell?
Oh yeah! There would be a lot! But most of them a not to be told here where everybody reads them! OK just one: Every year we come for a short tour to England; we always take the ferry cause “it must hurt”. We always buy our whole beer at the tax free so that makes a good stack of canned beer. While we were waiting for going back to the van we build a massive tower right in front of the stair doors. And of course everybody was looking at us. We just said: That’s not a problem, that’s normal; you have to know we are Germans. Ahh! Alright then!
Have you ever seen other Priest tributes? What sets Judas Priester apart from other JP tribute bands?
Yes I`ve seen a lot of them. We all have a good relationship and help each other out sharing musicians if needed. I would say that we have more experiences than most of them because we play European wide and we are booked more often. We feel we are more a band than a project.
You are apparently looking for a second guitarist, how is the search going? Is it difficult to fit someone new into the band at this point?
We are lucky that our “former” guitarist is doing all of the following gigs with us together so that we have enough time to find the right man. At the moment I find it very hard to get the right person. He has got to be metal, skilled, and has to fit into the band. If nothing shows up, seriously… K.K. has to do it! MMMMAAAAOOOOOHHHH!
Any final words for the readers of Steel Mill?
Priest rules! If you are around and have the chance to see us live somewhere DO IT!
Thank You! Keep playing and keep bringing PRIEST fans an excellent tribute!
More info on Judas Priester: