On the latest episode of Talking Metal, host Mark Strigl interviews drummer Scott Travis of JUDAS PRIEST. You can now listen to the chat using the Spreaker widget below. The chat starts 11:40 into the podcast and topics include the new album Firepower, Scott’s musical history, Fight, Racer X, Les Binks, KK Downing, Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner, and much more.
JUDAS PRIEST could easily rest on their laurels at this stage of their highly successful and influential career. However, the legendary metal band – singer Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis – refuse to do so as evidenced by the arrival of their eighteenth studio album overall, Firepower, which can be pre-ordered here.
Set for release on Friday, March 9th via Epic Records, the album is comprised of fourteen tracks of pure and highly inspired metal. And to mark the occasion Priest has reunited with producer Tom Allom (the man behind the board for all of the band’s releases from 1979-1988, including such stellar classics as Unleashed In The East, British Steel, Screaming For Vengeance and Defenders Of The Faith) and with Grammy Award-winning producer Andy Sneap also helping to raise the sonic bar even higher.
“Tom Allom has got this classic metal thing,” explains Halford. “And Andy is a bit more of a ‘modern metal producer’ but his thinking is a little bit different to Tom’s. And I think to get this balance between that classic old school metal to what Andy’s world is was just a remarkable coalescence.” “Tom Allom has been with us since 1979, so his knowledge of ourselves and our music in general is immense,” adds Hill.
And according to Travis Priest returned back to a recording method that worked incredibly well on the band’s earlier classics. “We went back to the organic way of recording where it’s all of us in a room and we got to play together.” When asked about his favorite song on “Firepower” Travis said:
“It’s interesting you should ask that, ’cause Rob and I were doing an interview earlier today and I made the point that I’ve moved around a bit on my favorites on this record. Meaning that when I first heard some of the early demos, you have favorites and you like certain hooks or verses or choruses or whatever, and then, as a drummer, I’m in the studio playing the songs, and then again, there may be some different songs. Like, ‘Wow! I really love this groove,’ or, ‘I love playing this, slamming through this with Richie and playing the double-bass part.’ And then, full circle, you hear quote-unquote the finished product, after more layers of guitars and vocals have been put on, it’s been mixed and produced a little bit, and then, obviously, me, I’m listening to the finished product and then I have new favorites at that point. So, to answer your question, after that long-winded intro, I really like ‘Rising From Ruins’. If you put a gun to my head and said, ‘What’s your favorite?’ that would be on there. ‘Lone Wolf’… ‘Evil Never Dies’ is just a cool, simple straight-ahead rock PRIEST tune. ‘Never The Heroes’, I think, is a great, meaningful song in the sense just lyrically, even though I had nothing to do with the lyrics, but it’s a great song [with] a great hook. The record does have a lot of ebbs and flows and, hopefully, it has some movement to it where the first song doesn’t like the fifth song sounds like the eighth song. Hopefully there’s some different sounds and just vibes that people are gonna get when they listen to it.”
On whether he would agree that the production on “Firepower” is bigger and warmer than that on 2014’s “Redeemer Of Souls”:
“Well, obviously, we have two different producers on this record that we didn’t have on ‘Redeemer’, so anytime you change producers, you’re automatically gonna get a different sound. And that’s usually what bands are looking for — that’s why you hire different producers. We did record in a much more organic way than I’d certainly done since ‘Painkiller’; I have to say that. So, again, hopefully that translates and comes through on the recording that you and the fans will be able to hear and appreciate and hopefully like. And, like I said, Andy is great and he knows how to get great modern sounds — drums, guitars and yada yada. He’s a guitar player himself, so that’s why the guitars are so goddamn loud, but that’s just me. [Laughs] I’m kidding. But anyways… So, yeah, the proof is in the pudding. You have new producers, you’re gonna have a new sound.”
“Firepower” will be released on March 9 via Epic. The cover artwork for the disc was created by the Chilean/Italian digital artist and photographer Claudio Bergamin. The album final tracklist is as follows:
02. Lightning Strike
03. Evil Never Dies
04. Never The Heroes
06. Children of the Sun
08. Rising From Ruins
09. Flame Thrower
11. Traitors Gate
12. No Surrender
13. Lone Wolf
14. Sea Of Red
The North American leg of the “Firepower” tour will kick off on March 13 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and will wrap on May 1 in San Antonio, Texas. Support on the trek will come from SAXON and BLACK STAR RIDERS.