Judas Priest ex Atkins: Call me former member
Name game: Al Atkins
Founding Judas Priest frontman Al Atkins wishes the band would acknowledge his contribution as a former member by naming him on their website.
He brought the outfit’s name from a previous act of his own when he started Priest with KK Downing and Ian Hill in 1970.
By the time they recorded their first album in 1973, he’d had been replaced by Rob Halford. But several of his songs appear on Rocka Rolla and its follow-up, Sad Wings Of Destiny.
Asked if he feels he got all the recognition he deserves from Judas Priest, Atkins tells Rock Overdose: “I think credit was given to me, but I wished they would have put my name as a past member of their official website.
“It wouldn’t have done them any harm – but I bear no grudge against them. After all, it could be their management who stops a lot of things happening.”
The vocalist, who worked with guitarist Paul May on recent Atkins May Project album Valley Of Shadows, says he’s still in touch with some of Priest, and attend a new year party at bassist Hill’s home.
He describes himself as “shocked like everyone else” over guitarist Downing’s sudden departure in 2011, and reports there’s little chance of even a guest-spot return alongside his replacement Richie Faulkner.
Atkins reflects: “He’s 60 years old, and if he feels it’s time for him to retire, that’s up to him. I thought he may return to record another album and play the odd festival in a six-piece lineup like Iron Maiden – but that’s not to be, so I’ve been told.”
He remains proud of his contribution to the iconic British band, and aims to can head out on tour to support his latest record. “We would have a great setlist with songs from Atkins May, old songs I have written from Judas Priest, and my solo catalogue,” he says. “We will be looking at finding a promote to put this thing together soon.”