We had chatted with Alan “Al” Atkins some time ago, and the co-founder and original singer of Judas Priest – who also wrote classics like “Victim Of Changes” or “Never Satisfied” - has not been idle in the meantime. He began a cooperation with the prolific guitarist, writer and producer Paul May, and the latest result has only recently hit the market. The new ATKINS MAY PROJECT album “Empire Of Destruction” was released on the Gonzo label.
What was the experience like going back in the studio again for the 2014 release “Empire Of Destruction”, Alan?
It was great to be recording our 3rd Atkins/May/Project album on the back of high sales for the first two. We wanted to stay in the same progressive/rock/metal groove of the first two albums and I believe “Empire of Destruction” is even better. I have worked on and off with guitarist Paul over the last 25 years now and it has been Paul playing on my solo written stuff, but now the roles have changed and I let Paul take the reins with all the writing and by god, he is good.....(if it works, don´t mess with it, that´s what I always say)...
What were the reviews like for the album?
The reviews are still coming in and are all terrific, just like the last two......we couldn´t ask for more !!
How do you work out songs with Paul - does he come to the studio, and yourself with ideas?
We started out recording what we thought would be a one off album of Paul´s songs and ended up doing three. Initially Paul writes all the works and I just come up with ideas to make them better, if I can... it works well for both of us. We decided to not just go down the heavy route but record short rock songs to long progressive songs too, and with Paul´s style of layering down his guitars we hope to have come up with something a little different from what we have done in the past....
Do you ever look back at the songs that you had written while with Judas Priest, maybe for inspiration, or just to listen to them?
No, but I have been listening to the old Priest songs recently; only my next solo album will be an album of all my favourite songs that I have written over the last 4 decades from my time in Judas Priest to my last band before AMP “Holy Rage”. I am going to re-record all of them and it will be called “PRIEST to the RAGE” and will feature some special guest players, including Ian Hill ....
Had you been friendly with Ian Hill (Judas Priest co-founder and bass player, the ed.) over the years, Alan?
Yes , we meet up every New Year Party at his house and have a glass or two. He is a person who is still down to earth and has really never changed over these long years.
Al Atkins, Ian Hill
What are you doing when not recording or playing music?
I have a big family ...5 kids, 2 grandkids, 2 dogs and chickens... say no more !!!
Will you be out promoting the new album or have you been?
Not yet, John...we have been so busy, not just recording our own albums but other side projects too. I have been recording my vocals on various other albums , like “Lyraka 2” which is the brainchild of Andy Degiselmina from Vermont , USA, and features a host of vocalists from around the world, like Mark Boals, Liz Vandall and Graham Bonnet, to name a few. It is a metal opera and my part is an evil character named Semmonet..... Paul and myself hope to start to promote live shows some time in 2015.
Video sample: ATKINS MAY PROJECT “Are You Ready” (Thin Lizzy Cover)
Band website: www.atkinsmayproject.com