JUDAS PRIEST’s IAN HILL: ‘The Time To Think About Retiring Is When Your Performances Start To Dip’

In a new interview with Spain’s Rock FM, JUDAS PRIEST‘s Ian Hill was asked if he and his bandmates have thought about a possible retirement yet. The 72-year-old bassist responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “No, we have no plan to retire yet. We’re still able to perform. The time to think about retiring is when your performances start to dip and you’re not doing too well. You have to think about it then. We’re not stupid; we know that we’re not getting any younger and that there will be a time when we have to retire, but there’s no plans to do so just yet.”

As for whether he has ever wanted to pursue a side project away from JUDAS PRIEST, either a solo band or something else, Hill said: “Not really, no. I mean, Glenn [Tipton, PRIEST guitarist] and Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] have both gone off and done their own thing at one time or another. And it takes a lot. Basically, you’re starting all over again. And as a pragmatist, you start to think, do you really want that? I mean, to start right from the very beginning. But whatever I want to portray musically, I get that from JUDAS PRIEST anyway. It’s always been my first love, the band, and it’ll continue to be that. When we finally do retire, maybe, I don’t know, I’ll start an old blues band up with some of my old buddies locally and maybe go play in the old pubs. But, other than that, no, I’ve never considered doing anything on my own.”

Earlier in the month, Halford was asked by Germany’s Rock Antenne if there is an end to JUDAS PRIEST. The 72-year-old singer responded: “No, no. It’s a good question. And no. I think once you start thinking about the end, you start to kind of deflate and decompress and the light starts to get a bit dim. I think all of us in this band, we’re just so grateful to be where we are with this 19th studio album, ‘Invincible Shield’. I think if you say, ‘One more tour and then we’re gonna call it quits,’ or, ‘One more album. Then we’ll call it quits.’ … Hey, listen, life is life. We all have the emotions, ‘Oh, god. I’ve gotta work today. I just wanna stay in bed and watch the TV.’ It’s perfectly normal. But you have to balance that up against all these great things that JUDAS PRIEST has been blessed to achieve. And this thing about responsibility as well — I’ve gotta tell you, you owe your fans everything. So we’ve gotta come back to Germany, gotta come back to Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Japan, New Zealand, Australia. All of our beautiful fans are waiting and waiting and waiting to see this band again and celebrate this music that we make with JUDAS PRIEST.”

Last month, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner was asked by Mexico’s Summa Inferno how much longer he thinks the band can keep touring and recording. He responded: “Well, it’s not for me to say, really. Those guys were the originators of PRIEST metal and they’re still doing it and it’s up to them, really. If they ever feel like they don’t wanna do it or they can’t do it anymore, that’s for them to decide.

“When I joined the band, it was only for one tour, and that was gonna be the farewell tour. So, obviously, I’ve had to think about what I’m gonna do after PRIEST from that time. For all I know, that was gonna be the only tour, [and] then I’d have to do something after that. So it’s always been a part of my mindset. But as long as PRIEST are here and we all wanna do it together and they wanna do it and push on, then I’m here for it. I’m here to fly the flag for them however long they wanna do it.”

Back in 2019, Hill told Canada’s “Thorn Of Rock” radio show that there were no plans for the band to retire anytime soon. “We’ve done it for 50 years, and it would just seem strange if we stopped,” he said. “Having said that, we thoroughly enjoy what we’re doing, which is a main motivation these days. And there’s no reason to stop. As long as can put on quality performances and put out quality music, we’ll keep on doing so. And as long as the fine people who are the PRIEST fans are happy with that, there’s no reason for us to stop.”

Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then came back to PRIEST in 2003. Original guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Faulkner.

Halford was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020 after experiencing symptoms for at least a couple of years. In July of that year, Rob underwent prostatectomy, an operation where the entire prostate gland is removed plus some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles. After more cancer was found in 2021, he went through radiation treatments and eventually got then all-clear. He also had an appendectomy after a tumor was discovered on his appendix.

Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection during the band’s performance at the Louder Than Life festival in September 2021. Faulkner was rushed to the UofL Health – Jewish Hospital where the cardiothoracic surgery team needed approximately 10 hours to complete a life-saving surgery.

Halford‘s cancer battle and Faulkner‘s acute cardiac aortic dissection are not the only health scares the members of PRIEST have had to deal with in recent years. Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than 15 years ago but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of PRIEST‘s “Firepower” album. He was replaced by “Firepower” producer Andy Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.

JUDAS PRIEST‘s latest studio album, “Invincible Shield”, arrived on March 8 via Sony Music.


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