From left: Anssi, Jari and Pete Z. Pic by Lasse Moisio


A moment with Jari Asell & Pete Z


Interview By Ville Krannila / January 2007

First off the obvious question, why did you start a Priest tribute band and what does the music of Judas Priest mean to you?

 J: Priest is the ultimate Metal band of all times. The most innovative metal band around, their catalogues variety is amazing. Metal Gods indeed.

I started to beat the skins at summer 2003 and with Anssi we did some Priest standards. It felt really good and we asked Sami and Pete to join us. Arnold came along just before first gig in 2005

Z: Judas Priest has always been my all time favourite band and when I was asked to join Priestone, I didn’t hesitate.

Where did the name Priestone came from, it can be interpreted in many ways..?

 J: Priest One = Priest is Number One band.

Pries Tone = We try to sound like Priest

Heh, I think it was after few spirits in the winter of 2005 when I picked the name


 PriestoneArnoldPeteZHow long have you guys been Priest fans, how did it all begin?

 J: All, except Pete, has been big Priest fans since very early 80`s .I was totally blown away after hearing “Unleashed In The East “ in 1982.

Z: I was 12 years old when I bought my first Priest. It was Painkiller in c-cassette format and I bought it because I thought it was some kind of synthetisator music (like Jarre etc.). I liked rap and pop music back then. You can imagine how it was a brutal shock to hear the intro of the title song and screaming vocals of Rob Halford. I gave it a few spin and then there was no return. I didn’t listen to Jarre anymore after that…

Pete Z, of course singing the songs originally done by the Metal God himself ain’t the easiest thing in the world. Do you practice the metal screams or do any vocal training?

 Z: I don’t even try to sing like TMG. I think it’s much better for me to do them my own way. When I was asked to join the band the guys knew my vocal range and sound. Of course I’ve done a lot of vocal training and try to develop my screaming technique all the time but I won’t try to be a Halford-clone.


 PriestonePeteZHow much practice in general it takes to make a successful tribute act?

J: We should rehearse much more, but since we are not a touring band,more like a project band ,we rehearse for the events sake. And distances make it even harder, living 300 km apart.

Z: It depends how “original” and professional you want it to be. I think in our case we just try to preach the word of Priest. We practise hard but the main road to success is to have fun while practising.

 What “gear” are the players currently using?

 Jukka Plays
Jackson RR Custom Shop
Jackson KE2
Jackson SL1
RAN Custom

ENGL E412VS higher
ENGL E412VG lower

TC Electronic G-System

Elixir strings
Dunlop plectras 😉

Anssi plays
PRS standard

Marshall JCM 2000

Arnold uses
Ibanez bass, Behringer 120w Ultrabass amp, Behringer 1200w cabinet, Boss bass compressor.

Jari plays
Tama Starclassic drums,Tama iron cobra hw,Paiste symbals,Vic sticks,Remo or Evans heads


 PriestoneAudienceWhat’s the hardest Priest song to play live? Which one took most work to get done?

J: Victim Of Changes, Painkiller there are so many…

Z: “You´ve Got Another Thing Coming” and the screams in “Green Manalishi” were a tough ones for me. They all take a lot of work but for example “Running Wild” was kinda easygoing song for me. I love the ending scream in it.

 If you could add any song to the Priestone set, which would it be?

J: Victim Of Changes, definitely.

Z: “Painkiller” would be nice. Though I don´t have a clue how it would sound. Of course songs Priest hasn´t played like “Rocka Rolla”, “Reckless” and maybe one of the bonus tracks from the remasters.

 Do you have plans to maybe cut some demo versions of Priest classics?

 J: Yes, when time permits. That would be a lot of fun and an adventurous project.

 What is the most memorable gig that you’ve played and what made it great?

 J: Sauna Open Air Metal Festival 2006, Tampere, Finland. We opened for the Whitesnake M3 at a 1500 seater club. Crowd was really, really good. We enjoyed a lot ,it was a night to remember because of the good support from the crowd, thanks a lot to our loyal supporters and friends! You are the best!

Z: They are all very memorable, but I must say the first one ever. It was in the middle of the woods in a yard of a cabin. We played in front of our best friends and it was such a blast. Drunken madness you could say…


 Are there any interesting “Priestone on the road” stories to tell?PRiestoneJari

 J: Arnold- a striking troubadour!

Z: This is not an road story, but when we played in Helsinki Ice-Hall I introduced Breaking the Law “next song has some law breaking in it…” And this little guy, maybe 9 years old, in the front row screamed “Breaking the law!”. It was so cool, I gave him the microphone and he shouted the title of the song in it. The audience gave a good applause to that little metal fella.
EDITOR´S NOTE: You can download that particular video from here. (WMV format, 2 MB)

 Have you ever seen other Priest tributes? What sets Priestone apart from other JP tribute bands?

 J: Not live, but on video yes.

Z: Maybe we are different ´cause we don’t try to look and sound just like Priest. I know it sounds weird but we just pay our tribute to the Priest, we play their music like we want but you’ll never see us dressed like the “originals”.

 What’s up next for Priestone?

J: We have had some line up changes, Jukka is our new axeman. We will rehearse some new songs, maybe stuff from Turbo as well.

Z: Well, I´m off the band as we speak. I have now two small children and I just don´t have the time to focus 100% to Priestone. I still sing in my first band “The Sailormen” however. I think Priestone will be big and I hope all the best for them in the future.

 Thank You! Keep playing and keep bringing PRIEST fans an excellent tribute!

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