Judas Priest bassist Ian Hill thinks it’s about time his band and fellow British metal legends Iron Maiden hit the road together after a rivalry hampered relations in the early ’80s. In a new interview with Audio Ink Radio, Hill said his band should “get together with Iron Maiden” before “some of us die,” in regards to who Hill would like Judas Priest to tour or collaborate with in the future.
“There’s always the big question of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. That would be really interesting if we could get that together before some of us die. It’d be great!” Hill said. “You run into these people over the years. We’ve played with quite a few of them, but we’ve got to get together with Iron Maiden.”
The tension between the two bands stemmed from their tours together in early ’80s when Paul Di’Anno still fronted Iron Maiden. During the British Steel era, Iron Maiden was tabbed as the supporting act for Judas Priest, which led to animosity and disses in the music press, and Di’Anno would admit to that in his autobiography (via Blabbermouth).
In an interview with Eddie Trunk’s Trunk Nation on SiriusXM last year, former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing reflected on the contention.
“I read in a music paper that [Iron Maiden] said something like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna blow the bollocks off Priest,’ or something like that. And I went, ‘What the hell is this shit?’ We were still in the recording studio, tidying up the last mixes or something. And I said, ‘Well, who are these guys?’ Why should we have [them] on tour if they’re gonna create this type of vibe before we’ve even met them, let alone done a show together?’ … But they came on the tour [anyway], and they created upsets, is what they did, for different reasons and it led to a confrontation and it got a bit ugly. I don’t know how it all happened, but I did meet Paul Di’Anno so many years later, in about 1995, and he said, ‘Hey, K.K., we’re sorry about that quote in the paper.’ And that’s all you need.”
Downing continued: “It’s all water under the bridge. Those guys were young, coming up through the ranks, a bit delinquent, but at least they had balls, they got on with it, they knew what they wanted to do.”
Perhaps enough time has passed for the bands to put aside their old rivalry and join forces for another tour in the future — a bucket-list pairing for metalheads. Per Hill’s statement, it appears the Priest camp is ready. The band is currently on their “Firepower Tour” and still going strong on stage. Meanwhile, Iron Maiden embark on their “Legacy of the Beast Tour” in July.
As for other metal acts like Slayer and Ozzy Osbourne calling it quits with farewell tours, Hill tells Audio Ink Radio, “It will come — eventually there will come a time when maybe you aren’t able to perform to your optimum or high standards anyway, and you have to admit to yourself that you’ve got to do other things. There will come a time, but for us, it’s not yet. I can see the reasons why they’re doing it, but we’re enjoying it too much at the moment to consider quitting!”
Read the full interview with Audio Ink Radio here, or listen below.