JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill has penned the foreword to original PRIEST singer Al Atkins's autobiography, titled "Dawn of the Metal Gods: My Life in Judas Priest and Heavy Metal". The book, which was was written with Neil Daniels — a freelance rock writer and heavy metal fan who befriended Atkins during the writing of Neil's book "The Story of Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith" (Omnibus Press) — will be released this spring via Iron Pages.
Commented Atkins: "The book is gonna look fantastic! There'll be some really cool photos and shots of vintage PRIEST memorabilia that I'm confident is very rare, like a picture of the first-ever JUDAS PRIEST recording.
"The book will feature contributions from:
* Bruno Stapenhill (JUDAS PRIEST Mark I)
* Ernie Chataway (JUDAS PRIEST Mark I)
* John Ellis (JUDAS PRIEST Mark II)
* Trevor Lunn (ex-JUDAS PRIEST roadie)
* David Howells (Gull Records)
* Dave Corke (ex-JUDAS PRIEST manager 1970-'76)
* Norman Hood (IMA Agency)
Atkins added: "Obviously it's not all about PRIEST: I'll tell you about my old band LION, my travels around Europe and my solo career right up to my latest band THE HOLY RAGE. And that's not all because some of my good friends and people I admire have also contributed like Dennis Stratton, Paul Di'Anno, Jess Cox, Brian Tatler, Johnny Lokke, Graham Bonnet, Taz Taylor and Simon Lees."
In a previous posting on his web site, Atkins revealed his reasons for writing an autobiography: "For some time now, I have wanted to write my own book about my amazing life in heavy metal. Finally that dream has come true; after befriending Neil Daniels, we have come up with some great ideas together. Of course there will be some great stories from my few years in PRIEST but also, loads of info on the Sixties music scene in Birmingham and the West Midlands. I knew bands like SLADE, TRAPEZE and THE BAND OF JOY. I saw CREAM live, befriended BUDGIE and supported ROD STEWART. Also, I was in a band called LION in the late '70s and we supported the SEX PISTOLS and THE STRANGLERS. I also have a solo career and have released five albums so far; my new CD is called 'Demon Deceiver'. It should make for an exciting read. There'll also be loads of photos from the early years of JUDAS PRIEST and pictures of ticket stubs, posters, memorabilia, etc."
The book's description reads as follows: "Al Atkins is the former lead singer and founder of the multi-million selling British metal band JUDAS PRIEST. But where and when did it all begin?
"During the Sixties, when the highly lauded Brum Beat era produced bands such as THE MOVE and THE BAND OF JOY, Atkins played in various local outfits some of which laid the blue print for the heavier progressive sounds of early JUDAS PRIEST. And so it was in 1969 that a disillusioned Atkins decided to have a go at forming yet another band with his childhood friend Bruno Stapenhill. The band in question was JUDAS PRIEST.
"JUDAS PRIEST quickly built up a reputation in the Midlands as a powerful live act and even secured a record deal with Immediate, which was owned by ex-ROLLING STONES manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Unfortunately Immediate folded and so did PRIEST. Undeterred, Atkins formed yet another lineup of PRIEST in 1970 with guitarist K.K. Downing and bassist Ian Hill. At Atkins' behest Downing and Hill ditched the name FREIGHT and resurrected JUDAS PRIEST. Through the early Seventies, PRIEST supported many bands, including SLADE, STATUS QUO and BLACK SABBATH. Lineup changes continued until May 1973 when Atkins finally decided to call it a day."
Atkins is the co-writer of several PRIEST songs which are included on the band’s first two albums "Rocka Rolla' and "Sad Wings of Destiny", both of which eventually went gold. Atkins co-penned the heavy metal classic "Victim of Changes" which was a combination of Rob Halford's song "Red Light Lady" and Atkins' own "Whiskey Woman". He also co-wrote "Winter", "Never Satisfied", "Dreamer Deceiver" and "Caviar and Meths".
In 1989 Atkins released his debut solo album "Judgement Day" to great acclaim. But it was "Heavy Thoughts" and "Victim of Changes" (the latter being his collaborative album with ex-JUDAS PRIEST drummer Dave Holland) that brought him strong sales and critical acclaim around the world. Recently Atkins has formed THE HOLY RAGE and has shared the bill with ex-RAINBOW singer Graham Bonnet in California.
In "Dawn of the Metal Gods", Atkins shares his entertaining life story with the reader. This is not just a book for JUDAS PRIEST fans but a bible for all those wishing to form a band in the tumultuous world of heavy metal.
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