© Project Priest
Interview By Ville Krannila / May 2014
Welcome to Project Priest, a hard-as-iron Priest Tribute from Germany! Steel Mill hooked up with the band to check out what they are all about and spread some good metal godly message to the fans new and old!
First off the obvious question, why did you start a Priest tribute band and what does the music of Judas Priest mean to you?
Playing in several local bands of the North German Metal Scene since the early eighties we all had the strong desire to play our Metal heroes´ songs ourselves, but never found the right bandmates. It took us only 30 years to get this beating lineup together. To put it in a nutshell: Judas Priest to us is the true meaning of HEAVY METAL.
How long have you guys been Priest fans, how did it all begin?
We’ve all been Priest fans since the very beginning of Heavy Metal in Germany. Our love to Priest started with the following albums:
Malte & Peer: Stained Class
Frank, Peter & Mick: Unleashed in the East
After many years passed, Frank (guitars) and I (vocals) met after a Dio-Tribute in Bremen / North Germany and sat down to make plans. It was just the right year 2010 to start something new and from that day on we met once a week to learn and work out Judas Priest songs from the bottom-line. Peer (guitars) joined one year later and in 2012 Project Priest was completed by Malte (drums) and Mick (bass) joining the Band.
Of course 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?
To be honest: in the beginning of Project Priest I thought ”Oh my God, I can never do that!” Anyway: step by step we climbed the ladder from the easier stuff (from British Steel for example) to more demanding songs (such as Victim Of Changes, Exciter etc.) and all of us got more and more familiar with every note of the songs and the feel of Priest. Some people say that I have a voice colouration very similar to Rob Halfords. This is for sure very helpful, but it does not replace intense voice training. I practise every day in my car while driving, this helps (me) a lot. For me there´s only one way to get a good vocal performance into these Priest songs I love: to reiterate again and again and again and again…
© Project Priest
How much practice in general it takes to make a successful tribute act?
We think it strongly depends on how focussed people are. We are no professional musicians, but it took us only one year from completing the band to our first gig. There´s no rule how long it can take to make a successful tribute act, it depends on how deep the bandmates can dive into the feel and attitude of their heroes.
What “gear” are the players currently using?
Malte: Mapex Set with Zildjian & Paiste cymbals
Peer: Marshall JMP Superlead MK II (mod.)
Frank: Marshall JMP Superlead MK I (mod.)
Mick: Marshall Bass Amp
Peter: Shure SM 58 wireless, Alesis Quadraverb
© Project Priest
What’s up next as far as touring plans go for you guys, Unleashed Project Priest coming in the summer of 2014?
There are several gigs all over Germany in the pipeline, some midsize festivals in summer. For details please have a look at www.project-priest.de or follow us on Facebook. For sure we´re open to play abroad places such as Birmingham for example. Maybe you guys can arrange something… J
“People stand by for…”
What’s the hardest Priest song to play live? Which one took most work to get done?
Believe it or not: for me it´s ”Freewheel Burning” as it fully takes my breath! The most work we spent on ”Sinner” so far as we started doing in the beginning of January 2014 and played the first time (more or less J) complete last night, April 7th 2014! Our own level of acceptance is set very high. It will take some more time before we say: ”Yes, now we can show it out on stage!”
Most of you cite “Unleashed In The East” as your favorite record, why do you think that album has made such a huge impact on the world of metal?
That´s easy to say: outstanding cover artwork, manifestation of the leather image, groundbreaking live sound…Apart from that Judas Priest was in best shape and the hardest band of that time.
If you could add any song to the Project Priest set, which would it be?
Ha, ha, ha, depends on who you ask:
Peer = Solar Angels
Peter = Blood Red Skies
Frank = The Sentinel
Mick = Jawbreaker
Malte = Never Satisfied
© Project Priest
Have you recorded any Priest songs in studio? If not, do you have plans to maybe cut some demo versions of Priest classics?
Not yet done, but we plan to do some throughout 2014 to be placed on Youtube for example. This will be because of the fun of it and to promote our liveplay.
I mean, this is really special about our band: every Monday evening we get together with a smile, do long and exhausting sessions and leave our rehearsal room with an even bigger smile in our faces in the middle of the night! We simply love it to do Priest!!
What is the most memorable gig that you’ve played and what made it great?
Our very first gig on 20th of July 2013 in ”Blues Club Meisenfrei” in Bremen was very memorable as we all suffered from extremes of heat: out on the streets it was about 37 °C, inside under the stage lights a bit more. The Club was totally overcrowded and we had a perfect audience. Sweat was running down the walls. It was a brilliant night to remember and it ignited the forceful Metal engine in Project Priest. We felt the Metallian crawling in, if you know what I mean!
© Project Priest
Are there any interesting “Project Priest on the road” stories to tell?
A lot of funny things happen, too many to tell them all. BUT, our bass player Mick is always at war with tech things: cables too short, mysterious absence of batteries, broken cable jacks, transmitter getting lost…
Have you ever seen other Priest tributes? What sets Project Priest apart from other JP tribute bands?
We saw Sabbath-Judas-Sabbath live on stage and many other Priest tributes on Youtube, there´s a lot of talent around.
Project Priest for sure sets standards from the heart and feel of Judas Priest Metal. Listen to our intonation of “Metal Gods” and you´ll hear them marching in the streets. Our “Beyond The Realms Of Death” drives you insane and “Delivering The Goods” from us beats you to submission. Come and find out yourself, on Monday here in our rehearsal room or on any stage we will rock.
Any final words for the readers of Steel Mill?
Never forget who we are and where we go to. This unbelievable music should never being forgotten. We all have to keep on feeding the flames. Yours in true Metal forever!
Thank You! Keep playing and keep bringing PRIEST fans an excellent tribute!