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Band Members Album Singles Artwork Promo Videos Publications Lyrics/Leads

June 1983 July 1983 September 1983 January 1984

1983 • 1984

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DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH

     "We've always maintained that albums are important from year to year, but especially after topping the platinum mark in the States, we knew that we had to come up with a follow-up which was going to carry on from there and take us to even greater heights."
- Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "I know that this is standard procedure, but I really do think that this new album is the best work we've ever turned in. It's very much a natural progression from Screaming For Vengeance, but I think the songs here are far better. There are potential singles everywhere, yet the album still retains a total rock feel."
- Dave Holland, Kerrang, 1983

     "I think DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH is the most committed album that Priest has ever made to really defining heavy metal as we feel it should be, in the '80s especially."
- Rob Halford, 1983

     "If I had to pick my favorite Priest album, I would say DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH, because it’s the album that defines Judas Priest. I don’t want to slander the other albums, but this one combines all the elements of the band. It’s got a variety of songs: brutal, melodic, slow, fast. This variety is absent nowadays. Most of the bands come up with one-dimension, monolithic albums. Heavy metal is not only speed metal or death metal and it never was. Heavy metal also has a most mild side, even though it combines elements from various genres, but in recent years, variety is absent. I believe that this is one of the reasons heavy metal doesn’t have the reflection it had before. Variety is missing, something we’ve got to bring back with our next album."
- Ian Hill, Rock On, December 2003

BAND MEMBERS:


Judas Priest L-R:
Dave Holland: Drums
Glenn Tipton: Guitars
Rob Halford: Vocals
K.K. Downing: Guitars
Ian Hill: Bass Guitar

Management: Bill Curbishley, Trinifold Management

ALBUM:

Freewheel Burning Jawbreaker Rock Hard, Ride Free The Sentinel
Love Bites Eat Me Alive Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
Night Comes Down Heavy Duty Defenders Of The Faith

RE-MASTERS Series Bonus tracks:
Turn On Your Light Heavy Duty/Defenders Of The Faith (Live)

  • Released January 1984 by CBS Records Inc. (UK Cat. # 25713), Columbia Records (US Cat. # 39219) and
    Epic/Sony Music Group (JPN Cat. # 30.3P-519)

  • CD released July 1984 by CBS Records Inc. (UK Cat. # 25713) and Columbia Records (US Cat. # 39219)

  • CD reissued December 6, 1990 by Columbia Records (UK Cat. # 468602) and (US Cat. # CK 39219)

  • THE RE-MASTERS UK/European CD released May 7, 2001 by Sony Music/Columbia Records (UK Cat. # 502134)
  • THE RE-MASTERS North American CD released May 29, 2001 by Sony Music/Legacy Records (US Cat. # CK 85438
  • )

Recorded July-August 1983 at Ibiza Sound Studios, Ibiza, Spain
Produced by Tom Allom
Engineered by Mark Dodson
Assistant Engineers: Christian Eser, Bruce Hensal, David Roeder, Ben King, Buddy Thornton
Mixed September-November 1983 at DB Recording Studios, Miami, Florida and Bayshore Recording Studios, Miami, Florida, USA
Mastered by Sterling Sound, New York, NY

Certification: RIAA Gold March 26, 1984; Platinum September 26, 1988
Chart position: UK #19; Billboard 200 Pop Albums #18; Remained on the Billboard charts for nearly ten months, largely on the strength of airplay for "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll"

Freewheel Burning: UK singles #
42

SINGLES:

  • Freewheel Burning/Breaking The Law (Live from US Festival)/You've Got Another Thing Comin' (Live from US Festival) released in December 1983 by CBS Records Inc. (UK Cat. # TA 4054)
    This  pre-release of the song features a harmony guitar extended intro not found on the final album cut.
    You can hear the intro here.

  • Some Heads Are Gonna Roll/The Green Manalishi (Live)/Jawbreaker released in March 1984 by CBS Records Inc.
    (UK Cat. # TA 4298)

  • Love Bites/Love Bites released in 1984 by Columbia Records (US cat. # 38-04436 promo only)

  • Love Bites/Jawbreaker released in 1984 by Sony/Epic Records (JPN Ct. # 07-5P-296 picture disc)

ARTWORK:

Cover conceived by Judas Priest
Designed by Doug Johnson

Rising from darkness where hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of the Metallian... Master of all metal

   

For their previous release, Priest began introducing metallic battle creatures on their album jackets, symbolizing the force of the music within. Calling upon artist Doug Johnson to transform their concept into visual art, the first display was of the Hellion, an eagle-like creature attacking from the air. The theme now continued when they commissioned Doug once again to paint a ram-horned, tiger-like land-assault creature for the new cover design:

     "We latched onto some sort of concept thing with our sleeves these days and not that the music is anyway tied into the concept thing - I mean every single album that Priest makes stands out in its own right. But I think that working with this guy, he certainly comes up with what we all agree upon as being very, very representative of Priest in every form, I mean just the artwork itself - the creatures: the Hellion, the Metallian, is very, very heavy metal. So unless anyone else comes along that's better than Doug, I think we got a pretty good relationship with the guy, so it'll be interesting - I mean, it's always strange to talk about albums that you've obviously not even yet thought about doing, but certainly I think we're all looking forward to the artwork of the up-and-coming electrified album."
- Rob Halford

     "We came up with the Metallian when we were getting the cover together for the album. Doug Johnson, who was also responsible for the Hellion design on Screaming For Vengeance, submitted the artwork and we worked out the concept for the LP sleeve and the stage show from there on."
- Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "...We actually did feed Doug a bit of information as to what we wanted - obviously with an album title like Defenders Of The Faith, we wanted the Metallian to be and to look like a defender of the faith - you know, what you'd imagine a heavy metal defender of the faith to look like."
- K.K. Downing

PROMO VIDEOS:

  • Freewheel Burning - Directed by Julien Temple and filmed during pre-tour rehearsals held at an old theatre in the South London suburb of Brixton.

     "We work with a brilliant director named Julien Temple who has been with us for a number of years. He saw that Priest was a very visual band, and he wanted to capture our image and the music in our video presentations. He helped us come up with the ideas for everything from 'Heading Out To The Highway' to 'Freewheel Burning'. He understands what we're about, and he's like another member of the band. However, instead of playing guitar or singing, he utilizes a camera."
- Rob Halford, 1984

  • Love Bites - Directed by Keith Macmillan


Director Keith Macmillan

     "For the video, we decided on 'Love Bites'. It all works in with this metal beastie behind us - costs us a fortune in cat food, it does, you know...
     "As we go on, we develop sets like this. We would much rather exploit the potential behind that than going to a location type of situation. I think this looks a lot better - it's a lot stronger; this is what makes a video like this so unique because you have got this dimension that is new, I mean, you haven't got anything else that is like it I don't think, anyone will have ever seen before."
- Rob Halford, Making Of Love Bites, 1984

The live stage set was in place, complete with chairs filling the auditorium, but it was no evening concert with a packed house!

     "It's very difficult for Rob to project that much energy with just us guys around, rather than the whole screaming, headbanging audience. I think he does a great job cold. It's difficult at ten o'clock in the morning to slip into your leathers and project like he does. 'Rob, I know it's early morning, but if you can give it all the biz...' "
- Keith Macmillan, Making Of Love Bites, 1984

     "That's probably the biggest part of trying to put the realism across, because of course, there's no one here apart from the crew and a few other people, but I think you gain that knowledge after you've worked on videos and you really have to put in as much
effort as you would do in a live situation, and sometimes you do have to re-take, because you're not quite working it out as you should. But it's pretty hard work actually, and you are lip-syncing. Really, it's all down to the experience and the timing; in fact, when you have the camera so much into your face, it's very intimidating - it probably makes you work even more. It's a real push..."
- Rob Halford, Making Of Love Bites, 1984

Then there's the task of capturing an interesting shot of the guitar solo

     "I don't know how many times you've seen a close-up of a guitar during a guitar solo, but there's only about four or five ways you can shoot the guitar, so the challenge is to try and make it different in the way you cut it or the way you light it or in the way the guy's holding it, whatever. If you're going to do a performance, there's such a already defined way of shooting, that the challenge is to try and make it look a little different."
- Keith Macmillan, Making Of Love Bites, 1984

Another of Keith's tricks was to use pyro, but to get the most effect, it would require Rob to endure another "Hot Rockin' " experience: Rob would have to stand in position while flames shoot up from behind him!

Keith Macmillan: "You're going to need to stand there..."

Rob Halford: "I'm going to need to stand there...okay..."

Keith: "If you're unhappy about that, I can trick it by locking the camera off, doing the flames, then we'll roll back and you just appear as the flames die down, but it wouldn't be quite as exciting as if the flames came up and you appeared, otherwise the trick won't look quite as spectacular... We'll get it the first time."

Rob: "Well, we'll get it the first time, let's do it then."

     "It's nice for the video, also necessary - and that's why we talked to Rob about it and, 'Do you want to do it?', because you're possibly putting somebody's life in danger...but you got to let him make that decision."
- Keith Macmillan, Making Of Love Bites, 1984

These videos are currently available on the ELECTRIC EYE DVD 2003 Sony Music Entertainment/Columbia Music Video (UK Cat. # 2021939, US Cat. # CVD 51411)

PUBLICATIONS:

  • Heavy Duty: The Official Biography: 1984. By Steve Gett; published by Cherry Lane Books
    Based on more than six years of research and interviews, along with personal facts and rare photos from the band's own collection. 100% original material and Judas Priest's only authorized biography. You didn't miss the show. Now don't miss what goes on backstage.
       
    Front                                   Back

  • HM Photo Book: 1984. Text by Neil Jefferies; published by Omnibus press
       
    Front                                Back

     

  • Metal Mania
       
    Front                                 Back

     

  • Defenders of the Faith, Off The Record Arrangement: 1984. Published by Columbia Pictures Publications Inc.
    ISBN 0-89898-271-5

  • JUDAS PRIEST, Play It Like It Is, #9941
    Let Us Prey • Exciter • Sinner • 20 more

  • JUDAS PRIEST: THE EARLY YEARS, Play It Like It Is, #9958
    Genocide • Ripper • Tyrant • Victim Of Changes • Cheater Dreamer Deceiver • 13 more

JUNE 1983: Judas Priest return to their "home" studio

Having signed with noted manager Bill Curbishley's Trinifold Management, the band's first task after their tour was to record a new album.

     "It wasn't long before we had to start writing new material, owing to the fact that the schedule had got a little bit behind and we had commitments to get another album out as soon as possible.
     "At the end of May, we played at the 1983 US Festival, which was an event in itself and a couple of days later we flew to Ibiza to start recording, The reason we decided to go back there to work was because it seemed to have the right atmosphere and I think we were so pleased at the way Screaming came together that I suppose we were hoping for a similar magic to be created by working in the same environment. You could say that we felt we were onto a good thing. Consequently, that's why we also decided to return to Miami for the mixing."
- Rob Halford, Defenders Of The Faith tourbook, 1984

     "We had the luxury of having no strict deadline to work to, but that actually has its disadvantages as well as its advantages. In the past, I think we always tended to work best under pressure, although I think we probably let a lot of things go by that we could have bettered. There is the danger that you can spend too long and lose your objectivity, but I don't think any of us wanted to make the LP unless it came out exactly how we wanted it to."
- Glenn Tipton, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "Initially we sat down and kicked ideas around, put some down and discarded a few, and then all of a sudden it blossomed and everything just seemed to fall into place."
     "We certainly spent longer than ever in the studio, but we also had quite a few problems with equipment breaking down.
The studio had actually been closed for a while and had only reopened just before we started.
     "But I really believe that the extra time we spent enabled us to put together our best album. And I think when you get to our stage you've got to take more time, care and thought as to what's actually going down on tape."
- K.K. Downing, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

    "Ibiza Sound Studio on Ibiza was one of the most technically advanced in the world at the time, one of the first 48-track desks. But it was built into a very large house that had once been owned by this German who ran up a load of debts then ran off. The locals revenge was to come up to the house and nick anything they could lay their hands on! When we got there, they'd taken just about everything; wash-basins, window-frames... all the fittings!"
- Ian Hill, Metal Works liner note, 1993

     "The day after the US Festival, we flew back to Ibiza to start working on the next record, but when we got there, we were told, 'Oh, guys, the studio isn't quite ready; you'll have to hang out for a few days'. We thought, Yeah, we've been on tour forever, so let's just relax in the sun. Well, this was going on and on and on, until finally we found out that the studio owner had defaulted on his payments to the people who'd supplied the boards and tape machines, and they'd come over in boats from Spain and took off with everything. We went to the studio, and it was like a shell - there wasn't a cup and saucer left!
     "The owner was this really shady character that simply went by the name Fritz. He was always wheelin' and dealin' and so forth. He had a heart of gold, but he was by no means a businessman. He was a rock and roller at heart! He knew our initial down-payment would help him catch up on the payments he'd been missing; once we put money in his bank, he called the people up and said, 'Okay, I've got some cash,' and they said, 'Okay, we'll bring the equipment up.' But in the end, we actually had to roll the mixing desk up the hill and into the studio on tree logs. We couldn't believe it! We were cussing and sweating, because it was in the middle of the summer. A few days before, we'd been onstage in front of a quarter of a million people, supporting this massively successful record; now, here we were on this tiny speck of an island in the Mediterranean, breaking our backs."
- Rob Halford, Revolver, September 2003

     "We're always going on about our working-class roots, and not getting elevated into a 'star man' kind of thing. We'd come off that record and tour feeling pretty good about ourselves, but we were slapped back down to earth by having to roll this fucking console back into the studio! That was quite a metaphor, really. It seems that whatever you do, creatively, you never get to the top of the mountain. Just as you get to the top, there's an avalanche, and you have to start all over again."
- Rob Halford

JULY 1983: The dangers of recording

With the studio reopened and equipment back in place, it was time to put the songs together and lay down the tracks. Two familiar names returned to help fit the pieces into place: Producer "Colonel" Tom Allom and SIN AFTER SIN engineer Mark Dodson:

     "...We've often thought about changing producers but, if you've got something going and it works well, then what's the point in changing? We're very happy with what he's done for us, so we'll re-assess the situation next time we come to record and make our decisions as and when we need them."
- Dave Holland, Kerrang, 1983

     "Getting the material right after coming off a really successful album isn't easy. The band had to find another ten songs and the fact of the matter is that they simply don't grow on trees. It was a little more exacting and everyone had to take a little bit more trouble with what they were doing. But they aren't a hard band to work with and because we've done quite a few albums together, there's a certain familiarity every time we get back in the studio. They are expert recorders, and as far as I'm concerned, I always look forward to making an LP with them."
- Tom Allom, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "We had Tom Allom at the production helm once again and came up with what we all believe to be our strongest album so far. I know every musician tends to feel that way about a fresh product, but I think we've finally got the right approach in creating what we want to in the studio - and I think that is Priest metal at its most powerful."
- Rob Halford, Defenders Of The Faith tourbook, 1984

While recording in Ibiza, Mark Dodson and K.K. Downing went to a local nightspot and as they were leaving the establishment, Dodson almost became the last person to see K.K. alive:

     "It's true - I did get hit rather hard by a taxi that was probably doing about 60 miles per hour! (Rob: 'It's the true definition of a heavy metal person - totally indestructible!') What happened was, it was worse than even it sounds, but the end result was that I was OK because I had just managed to spin 'round and point my rear towards the taxi, I'm glad to say (Rob: 'He looks after the important parts!') and my body collapsed, naturally, but it knocked me up into the air, you know, several feet, and I landed into the windscreen - shattered the windscreen, and that propelled me forward again - in front of the car and the front hit me again, somehow. So that was three nasty - the sound of it was very squishy. (Rob: 'The ironical thing, isn't it Ken, that afterwards, the taxi driver came back'...?) He wanted the money for his windscreen!...I went to the hospital and they wanted to keep me in for a few different reasons. I had some x-rays, but I suppose those couple of brandies at dinner time got me through that particular occasion."
- K.K. Downing and Rob Halford

     "The car came around the corner, and the next thing Ken knew, he was bouncing off the hood and onto the roof. He was lucky not to have been seriously injured. It was pretty hair-raising. We took him straight to the hospital. Then the taxi driver came along saying that he wanted money for the damage caused to his car. I finally turned around and said, 'Listen, do you realize who you've hit? We'll be the ones suing you!' "
- Glenn Tipton, 1984

SEPTEMBER 1983: The mixing phase

The guys actually had a good time overall once the sessions got underway and Dave Holland really liked the studios in Ibiza so much that he even put together a partnership to buy them:

     "We started writing Defenders Of The Faith in June, recorded the basic tracks in Ibiza in July and now the other guys are mixing in Miami. I didn't go out with them because I wanted to stay behind in Ibiza to work out a business deal to buy the studios along with two partners, which is really exciting for me. Those studios are the best in the world!"
- Dave Holland, Kerrang, 1983

As mentioned, Rob, Glenn and K.K. and Ian flew out to Miami to add final touches and begin mixing, but an unexpected detour landed them in a different studio than planned:

     "The actual recording had clearly been an exacting task and all of the band members looked more than a little weary as they spent several weeks behind the control board at Miami's DB Studios..."
- Steve Gett, Author, HEAVY DUTY official biography, 1984

     "For some reason, we ended up in a warehouse because the studio we chose to use was being moved and although it was only a temporary situation, we liked it so much that we decided to stay and finish the album in the warehouse! It was before the days of sampled sounds and one bizarre memory was a mechanical drum machine we tried to use on one track and there are sinister memories of the shadows it created as it performed its lonely task up one dark corner of the studio like some strange robotic creature!"
- Defenders Of The Faith Re-Master liner note, 2001

While adding final touches to the anthem-like number "Defenders Of The Faith", the members mutually decided it would make a perfect title for the album:

     "While we were in Miami, we decided to call the record Defenders Of The Faith, the faith being heavy metal music."
- Rob Halford, Defenders Of The Faith tourbook, 1984

     "The title's significance is simply that heavy metal is our faith - as it is for everyone who follows it. We're defending it against non-believers."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984

     "The original idea was to call the album KEEP THE FAITH, but I think to defend it is even more powerful - it's more positive."
- Rob Halford, 1983

     "Suddenly it clicked, because it pretty well summed up what we are. If you take the analysis of what the title means, instantly Judas Priest are 'defenders of the faith', the faith being heavy metal music. And we're defending it against every aspect, from the people that still knock it and from it ever going out of style or fashion, which we never thought it would anyway.  And I think the title is apt, not only for Priest, but for all heavy metal freaks around the world. The fans, the bands - it's a statement for everybody."
- Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "When we were over here doing the last tour in '83, so many people would come up to us and say, not exactly 'Keep the faith', but words to that effect, or the faith of heavy metal. And when we were over in Ibiza recording the album, Kenny and I were talking about these particular incidents and we decided we would like to try and somehow put that part of it back into this record, and then we figured well we've been together for so many years now, and metal has always been a real driving force and especially at this present moment of time. We had a feeling that not only last year, but this year and please God, the years to come, will be as strong as it is right now for Priest and metal. So it's a sort of a celebration in a way - it's a celebration for metal."
- Rob Halford

     "When we're in the live situation where we sing, 'We are defenders of the faith', it's not us singing it to the audience just as them singing it back to us, because they also are defending the heavy metal faith by keeping us alive and in such good condition."
- K.K. Downing

     "We've never deviated. At one point 'heavy metal' was considered a dirty word, but we never thought so and we were always proud to say that we were an HM band. There's this theory going around that if you play heavy metal then you should avoid melody and that's false. Nobody can ever deny that we've been an out-and-out heavy metal band, but we've always put more into our music than just riffs. We've got far more to say in us."
- Glenn Tipton, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "While numerous bands were trying to distance themselves from the term 'heavy metal', Judas Priest was a band that would wear it like a badge of honor, even long after the music went out of favor. Ozzy Osbourne called Judas Priest 'the last of the Mohicans'. "
- David Konow, BANG YOUR HEAD, 2002

With the final touch-ups completed, K.K. and Glenn remained in Miami during the last week of November for the final mixing at Bayshore Studios, where they reflected upon the efforts of the past six months:

     "We had a great time recording this album - we remember returning back to the studio at 6 or 7 in the morning in Ibiza and getting the guitars out and recording till we dropped. Or sitting on the Keyes watching the Florida sun go down before seeing the rest of the night out in the studio. Defenders featured such great tracks as 'Love Bites', 'Freewheel Burning', 'Some Heads Are Gonna Roll' and turned out to be one of the strongest albums we recorded under quite strange circumstances!"
- Defenders Of The Faith Re-Master liner note, 2001

     "It's got all the basic elements of SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE and it runs along the same formula. That wasn't intentional, we didn't set out to come up with an exact copy. That's just the way we write these days. We've tried to cover every angle on it and I think it'll fulfill everybody's demands."
- Glenn Tipton, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "I don't think it differs that much from the last album. Screaming was a good LP, but I reckon this one will be better value for the money."
- K.K. Downing, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

JANUARY 1984: DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH released

DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH was well received, breaking the US Billboard Top 20 within a couple of weeks and quickly certifying gold. But several things soon worked against the album: The fact that it did not offer anything different from its predecessor earned it the title SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE II and some even saw it as the start of a descent into commercialism, calling it SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE LITE, despite the fact it did not produce any hit singles.

     "It's not really true that Defenders Of The Faith is the first album to sell less than its predecessor; the only difference between Screaming For Vengeance and Defenders Of The Faith is that Vengeance had a semi-hit single with 'You've Got Another Thing Comin'. They're both platinum albums, and there's never really been a slump in Priest's album sales, so we're not concerned about this one at all. If we wanted to cross over and write hit singles every time, we could. But we're a heavy metal band, and hit singles are of little concern to us."
- Glenn Tipton

DEFENDERS may have split the Priest fans on opinion, but in spite of the naysayers, it showcases some of the most ferocious "twin-axe attack" tandem soloing since "Tyrant" and "Genocide" or the more recent "Riding On The Wind" and "Screaming For Vengeance"; numbers like "Rock Hard, Ride Free" and "The Sentinel" had guitar fans even more amazed at the magic of this duo. And Rob's spitfire vocal lines in "Freewheel Burning" set even higher standards for vocalists to fail to attain. The album is also Priest's most consistent effort from beginning to end, which has helped to win it favored status of all Priest albums among many fans.

It is also the band's only album where every track was played in concert except for the controversial tongue-in-cheek "Eat Me Alive", a song which captured media attention in 1985 when it was named as the #3 title on the Parents Music Resource Center's (PMRC) "Filthy Fifty" list of the most offensive rock songs.  

LYRICS AND LEAD BREAKS:

Freewheel Burning Jawbreaker Rock Hard, Ride Free The Sentinel Love Bites Eat Me Alive Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
Night Comes Down Heavy Duty Defenders Of The Faith Turn On Your Light

     "Rob writes all the lyrics - Glenn and I work together on the music."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984

     "Heavy metal is probably one of the hardest styles of music to write. It has the ability to be complex if you so desire, but sometimes it can be difficult to be melodic without throwing away the solidness of what metal is all about. When you have commercial success it opens you out to far more people than you would otherwise reach. Screaming For Vengeance definitely did that for Priest. So it's important to maintain that level of success and there are certain ways to do it. One of them is by writing sounds that appeal to a large cross-section of people, but without losing your credibility on the heavy metal front."
- Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

1. Freewheel Burning
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: Glenn
Performed live in: 1983-1984, 1986, 1993
Available live versions:
Priest...Live! (Video and audio 1987, Re-Master 2001, DVD 2003), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984), Fight Mutations (1994)

In a previous interview, Rob revealed that "Freewheel Burning" had an early title of "Fast And Furious", the opening lines to the tune, appropriate for the song's rapid speed-metal approach.

     "Another fast one! We helped to invent them and I think we certainly made them our trademark. This kind of stuff is what comes natural to Priest."
- Glenn Tipton, Metal Works liner note, 1993

Fast and furious
We ride the universe
To carve a road for us
That slices every curve in sight
We accelerate,
No time to hesitate
This load will detonate
Whoever would
Contend its right
Born to lead
At breakneck speed
With high octane
We're spitting flames

Freewheel burning

On we catapult
We're thrusting to the hilt
Unearthing every fault
Go headlong into any dare
We don't accept defeat
We never will retreat
We blaze with scorching heat
Obliterations everywhere

Look before you leap
Has never been the way we keep
Our road is free
Charging to the top
And never give in never stops
The Way to be
Hold on to the lead
With all your will and concede
You'll find there's life
With victory on high

2. Jawbreaker

G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: K.K.
Performed live in:1984, 2000-2001
Available live versions: L
ong Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984),
Sin After Sin (Re-Master 2001), Halford Live Insurrection (2001), Disney House Of Blues (DEP 2003)

Rob has said many of his lyrics have a double meaning that sometimes only the gay community understands - for example:
 

     " 'Jawbreaker' is about cocksucking. Let me think what some of the words are... Things like 'waiting to recoil', and - oh god, let me think... Anyway, it was all to do with a dick. An erect dick. It was just so blatantly obvious to me, or for another gay man. What's a 'jawbreaker'? It's a big dick. For a straight man, it's, 'Oh, man, are you gonna smash me in the face and break my jaw?'."
- Rob Halford

Deadly as the viper
Peering from its coil
The poison there is coming to the boil

Ticking like a time bomb
The fuse is running short
on the verge of snapping if it's caught

And all the pressure that's been building up
For all the years it bore the load
The cracks appear, the frame starts to distort
Ready to explode -- Jawbreaker

Crouching in the corner
Wound up as a spring
Piercing eyes that flash are shimmering

Muscles are all contorted
Claws dug in the dirt
Every ounce of fiber on alert

3. Rock Hard Ride Free
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: intro: Glenn, 1st lead: Glenn & K.K. harmonizing together, 2nd lead: split - K.K./Glenn; final lead: Glenn & K.K. harmonizing together
Performed live in: 1984
Available live versions: Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984), Priest...Live! (Re-Master 2002)

Originally written as "Fight For Your Life" (the original demo is available as a bonus track on the Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather Re-Master), the song was fine-tuned in the image of the infamous biker motto:
     "The twinned metal themes of power and freedom remained constant into the 1980s, with motorcycles and the open road offering a romantic illusion of control that could be, with the proper accessories, within reach of otherwise powerless individuals. The link between motorcycles and masculine potency continued as well. Yet the majority of heavy metal songs which took as their subject men on motorcycles exploited a defiant freedom as only bikers could experience it. Judas Priest modified the outlaw biker adage "Live hard, Ride free" in the anthemic "Rock Hard, Ride Free". Devoted metalheads could believe they themselves were included in vocalist Rob Halford’s description of diehard rebels: “No denyin’, we’re goin’ against the grain, So defiant they’ll never put us down, Rock Hard Ride Free.” The theme is echoed in another song from the group’s Defenders of the Faith album, “Freewheel Burning,” which also uses “we”, so as to allow listeners to bask in their inclusion in the proud biker multitude: “We don’t accept defeat, we never will retreat. . . . Look before you leap has never been the way we keep, Our road is free.”
     "Unlike biker films, rock and roll and the heavy metal genre rarely made specific reference to outlaw motorcycle clubs, but managed just the same to exploit audience frustration by distilling the myth down to those elements which would be most valuable to and popular with powerless adolescents - strength and freedom. As icons of rebellion and non-conformity, motorcycles suggested a freedom to which the listener could aspire and bikers reflected a willful attitude and non-conformity they could model. The spectacle and exhibitionism inherent to the heavy metal genre stretches that frustration to the point where it provides listeners a sense of identity. More important than simple inclusion, though, heavy metal music’s use of the outlaw biker myth articulates a specific audience desire for a romantic self-image: the defiant hero who would rather fight the good fight and lose than give in to conformity.
- Dr. Ross Fuglsang,
Motorcycle Menace, 1997

Get a grip on the action
Movin' heaven and earth
Gotta get a reaction
Push for all that you're worth

No denyin' we're goin' against the grain
So defiant they'll never put us down

Rock Hard Ride Free
All day, all night
Rock Hard Ride Free
All your life

Tough as steel
Stop at nothin'
Look at fate in the face
Don't take no for an answer
Grab the lead in the race

Rock hard with a purpose
Got a mind that won't bend
Diehard resolution
That is true to the end

4. The Sentinel
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: split into 7 parts - Glenn/K.K./Glenn/K.K./Glenn/KK/Glenn and K.K. harmonizing together
Performed live in:1984, 1986, 1991, 1988, 1998, 2001-2002, 2004
Available live versions: Priest...Live! (Audio and video 1987, Re-Master 2001, DVD 2003), '98 Live Meltdown (1998), Live In London (Video 2002, audio 2003), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984)

Along deserted avenues
Steam begins to rise
The figures primed and ready
Prepared for quick surprise
He's watchin' for a sign
His life is on the line

Sworn to avenge
Condemn to hell
Tempt not the blade
All fear the Sentinel

Dogs whine in the alleys
Smoke is on the wind
From deep inside its empty shell
A cathedral bell begins
Sending out its toll
A storm begins to grow

Amidst the upturned burned-out cars
The challengers await
And in their fists clutch iron bars
With which to seal his fate
Across his chest is scabbards rest
The rows of throwing knives
Whose razor points in challenged tests
Have finished many lives

Now facing one another
The stand-off eats at time
Then all at once a silence falls
As the bell ceases its chime
Upon this sign the challengers
With shrieks and cries rush forth
The knives fly out like bullets
Upon their deadly course
Screams of pain and agony
Rent the silent air
Amidst the dying bodies
Blood runs everywhere
The figure stands expressionless
Impassive and alone
Unmoved by this victory
And the seeds of death he's sown

5. Love Bites
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: 1st lead: Glenn, 2nd lead: Glenn and K.K. harmonizing together
Performed live in: 1984, 1986
Available live versions: Priest...Live! (Video and audio 1987, Re-Master 2001, DVD 2003), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984)

It was thought for a long time that this song contained a backwards message during the line "in the dead of night, love bites", but as it turns out:
 
     "Actually, it isn't a backward message - it's that actual line just reversed backwards. It's basically just a production thing really. We were thinking of putting a backward message on the album as it faded out. We were gonna freak out all these protestors - the so-called 'moral majority' - and when they got to play it back properly, it was going to be something like, 'We like to drink a lot of milk' - something really healthy. But it's just a production thing really. When you're in the studio these days, one's constantly trying to come up with different sounds and ideas and so forth. The backward thing has been done for many, many years, right from the early '60s. But it just felt right - that particular thing just felt right for the particular tone that we were trying to set and achieve within the structure of that particular song, as we do with each song. The sounds and effects that we put in there are all geared towards achieving the maximum amount of what we're trying to do within that area of the song that you're working on."
- Rob Halford

     "We wanted something that sounded pretty demonic and that's the best thing that we thought worked really well at the time!"
- K.K. Downing

As Rob revealed and as can be heard when played backwards, the message was merely the song's own chorus in reverse, with an added pitch-transposer giving a slow-motion growl to the line "In the dead of night", followed by an electronic bullhorn-like shout, "Love bites!"

When you feel safe
When you feel warm
That's when I rise
That's when I crawl

Gliding on mist
Hardly a sound
Bring the kiss
Evils abound

In the dead of night
Love bites
Love bites
In the dead of night
Love bites

Into your room
Where in deep sleep
There you lie still
To you I creep

Then I descend
Close to your lips
Across you I bend
You smile as I sip

Now you are mine
In my control
One taste of your life
And I own your soul

Softly you stir
Gently you moan
Lust's in the air
Wake as I groan

Love bites you
Invites you
To feast in the night
Excites you
Delights you
It drains you to white
Love bites

You knew at first sight
You'd enjoy my attack
That with my first bite
There'd be no turning back

So come in my arms
I strike any hour
I will return
To trap and devour

6. Eat Me Alive
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: split into 4 parts - K.K./Glenn/K.K./Glenn

Rob said the song "Eat Me Alive" (original working title "Bad Girls Wear Leather"), was simply a tongue-in-cheek song about S&M sex, though the Parent's Music Resource Center (PMRC) saw it as a violent song about forced rape, quoting the line "I'm going to force you at gun point" and making it the #3 targeted song on their list of music to be censored. Interestingly, during the band's 1984 tour, even before the PMRC made their case, Judas Priest were performing every single song off of the Defenders Of The Faith album except "Eat Me Alive", due to its controversial nature.
 

     "...Rob had come back from Ibiza Spain, on one occasion, and played me all the tunes for the next album, one being 'Bad Girls Wear Leather', that later turned into 'Eat Me Alive'...
- Jeff Martin, Racer X message board, June 2001

     "I can remember that when we wrote and recorded ["Eat Me Alive"] in Ibiza ... I know we were all absolutely rat-faced drunk and I don't know who it was - it may have been me, it could have been someone else who came up with this phrase 'eat me alive,' and then I just threw all the lyrics together in the direction of that reference. It became almost a parody, almost a cartoon of itself. Of course Tipper Gore at that time took real offense to that song and a bunch of others, and used it in her rally cry for censorship, and that was kind of a surprise. I don't think we realized what kind of an effect that would create."
- Rob Halford, Hartford Advocate, July 8, 2004

     "We got a lot of stick from Tipper Gore and the Hollywood Wives for this one. It was on TV with subtitles spelling out the lyrics: 'I'm gonna force you at gun point/To eat me alive'."
- Ian Hill, Metal Works liner note, 1993

     "It was just a spoof caricature sexual song, that's all! But there'll always be a group of people who will oppose this kind of music. There will always be someone bitching about it."
- Rob Halford, Metal Works liner note, 1993

Wrapped tight around me
Like a second flesh hot skin
Cling to my body
As the ecstasy begins

Your wild vibrations
Got me shooting from the hip
Crazed and insatiable let rip

And eat me alive

Sounds like an animal
Panting to the beat
Groan in the pleasure zone
Gasping from the heat

Gut-wrenching frenzy
That deranges every joint
I'm gonna force you at gun point

To eat me alive

Bound to deliver as
You give and I collect
Squealing impassioned as
The rod of steel injects

Lunge to the maximum
Spread-eagled to the wall
You're well equipped to take it all

So eat me alive

7. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
B. Halligan Jr.
Lead: split - Glenn/K.K.
Performed live in: 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991
Available live versions: Priest...Live! (Audio and video 1997, Re-Master 2001, DVD 2003), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg 1984), Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut (broadcast bootleg 1988)

Strangely, in spite of such a strong and consistent album, this song was its only hit single - and it was the only number not written by the band members! The song's author, Bob Halligan Jr. also writes and performs for Christian artists, which had brought its fair share of controversy:
 

     "I never wrote stuff that could be construed as Satanic. There was certainly some stuff with questionable social merit. But people didn't really listen to the lyrics. They heard 'Some Heads Are Gonna Roll' and thought about violence. It was really a
warning about future holocausts. It was funny. I would do Christian gigs and we really had to soft pedal around the Judas Priest mentions. I would get into some awkward circumstances. People would tell me what a scumbag I was and stuff like that. But that's all over. I'm not someone who believes the intellect is something that should be feared and avoided."
- Bob Halligan Jr., At The Shore, March 15, 2002


Bob Halligan Jr.
Circa 2002

You can look to the left and look to the right
But you will live in danger tonight
When the enemy comes he will never be heard
He'll blow your mind and not say a word.
Blinding lights--flashing colors
Sleepless nights...
If the man with the power
Can't keep it under control

Some heads are gonna roll

The power-mad freaks who are ruling the earth
Will show how little they think you're worth
With animal lust they'll devour your life
And slice your word to bits like a knife
One last day burning hell fire
You're blown away...

Know what it's like
When you're taken for granted
There goes your life
It's so underhanded

Oh, come on!

And the man with the power
Can't keep it under control

No! No!

8. Night Comes Down
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: Glenn and K.K. harmonizing together
Performed live in: 1984
Available live versions: Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984), Ram It Down (Re-Master 2001)

     "I remember we did a concert where we came on in daylight - I've got a feeling it was in St. Louis - and we took the stage just as the sun was setting, so we opened up with 'Night Comes Down'. It was very emotional - it just captured the moment and evoked a lot of feeling in the audience."
- Glenn Tipton, Metal Works liner note, 1993

In the last rays of the setting sun
And the past days, that's where our
memories run
And all of those times
Still race through my mind
I'm shattered inside to find

When the night comes down
And I'm here all alone
When the night comes down
And there's no place to go

Call me and I'll wait till the summer
You never understood
Call me and I'll wait forever
For a love that's only good
As the light starts to dim
The fear closes in
And the nightmares begin

Oh no you won't be there tomorrow
Oh no say it isn't true
Can't take this pain and sorrow
Oh can't you see my heart is broken in two

9. Heavy Duty
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead:  no specific lead break
Performed live in: 1984
Available live versions: DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH (Re-Master 2001), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984)


I know you like it hot
Love to writhe and sweat
You think that this feels good
You ain't felt nothin' yet

Red-hot licks in the palm of my hand
Feel your body quake
As we hit the promised land
I'm heavy duty

We'll rise inside ya till the power splits your head
We're gonna rock ya till your metal hunger's fed

Let's all join forces
Rule with iron hand
And prove to all the world
Metal rules the land
We're heavy duty
So come on let's tell the world

10. Defenders Of The Faith
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: no specific lead break
Performed live in: 1984
Available live versions: DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH (Re-Master 2001),
Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984)

We are defenders of the faith

11. Turn On Your Light

RE-MASTERS Bonus Track

G.Tipton/R.Halford
Lead: Glenn

Why do I have to wait so long
Before you come into my life again
Seems as though forever until
I can be here by your side till then

I think you feel the same way too
You know you make my dreams come true
If you'll just turn on your light
Let me see it shining through the night

When I'm far away from here
I'll hold all the memories so clear
If I only have the choice
I would stay so let me hear your voice

Lead breaks are taken from the 1982 World Vengeance tour program

Tour Dates 1983: Special Pre-DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH Mini Tour For Britain And Europe
 

     "Even though it was a little strange to step down the gigs, we were able to get off on the atmosphere of smaller halls, which we really enjoy. It's great to see the people right in front of you instead of the huge 18-20,000 seat places... It was an absolutely fantastic tour for us and the response was tremendous. Everyone was glad to see us back."
- Glenn Tipton, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

SETLIST (Orange titles are from the current album)

From the December 18 Dortmund Rock Pop Festival show:
Hellion
Electric Eye
Riding On The Wind (Bootleg audio and video available)
Grinder
Breaking The Law (Bootleg audio and video available)
Bloostone
Sinner
Metal Gods
Freewheel Burning (Bootleg audio and video available)
Screaming For Vengeance
You've Got Another Thing Comin' (Bootleg audio and video available)
Living After Midnight (Bootleg audio and video available)
Victim Of Changes (Bootleg audio and video available)
Green Manalishi
Hell Bent For Leather (Bootleg audio and video available)

British/European tour with support from Quiet Riot

DATE VENUE CITY, STATE COUNTRY NOTES
December 12 City Hall Newcastle England Bootleg audio exists
December 13 Apollo Theatre Glasgow Scotland Bootleg audio exists
December 15 Apollo Theatre Manchester England Bootleg audio exists
December 16 Hammersmith Odeon Theatre London England Bootleg audio exists
December 17
December 18 Westfalenhalle

Rock Pop Festival
 

Dortmund West Germany With Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Def Leppard, and Quiet Riot
Bootleg audio and video exists; "Freewheel Burning" played live before album is released
December 20 De Montford Hall Leicester England
December 21 Odeon Theatre Birmingham England Bootleg audio exists from the  December 21 show
December 22

TOUR DATES 1984: Metal Conquerors/Defenders Tour


1984 Tour Program

Rob Halford - v, Glenn Tipton - g, K.K. Downing - g, Ian Hill - b, Dave Holland - d

SETLIST (Orange titles are from the current album)

From the May 4 Long Beach Sports Arena broadcast:
Love Bites
Jawbreaker
Grinder
Metal Gods
Breaking The Law
Sinner
Desert Plains
Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
The Sentinel
Rock Hard Ride Free
Night Comes Down
The Hellion/ Electric Eye
Heavy Duty
Defenders Of The Faith
Freewheel Burning
Victim Of Changes
The Green Manalishi (With The 2-Pronged Crown)
Living After Midnight
Hell Bent For Leather
You've Got Another Thing Comin'

DATE VENUE CITY, STATE COUNTRY NOTES

January 6

The Tube

Newcastle

England

TV broadcast
'The Tube' was presented by Jules Holland and Paula Yates, who had great difficulty doing one of their links between bands because they were being drowned out by Priest tuning up in the background! But someone found a way to get back at the band:

     "We were a part of the TV-program 'The Tube'. The cameraman must have been gay 'cause he held the camera straight at my crotch throughout the whole show! It was horrible, 'cause I went into the pub where I live and everybody just... I couldn't visit there for weeks because of that show!"
- Glenn Tipton

European tour with support from Ted Nugent and Raven

Though K.K. must have forgotten that he got his stage name at a gig in Denmark in 1974, they had not played there since...

     "The crowds were tremendous, particularly in Spain and Denmark, where we'd never played before."
- K.K. Downing, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

January 20

Falkoner Theatre

Copenhagen

Denmark

Bootleg audio exists

January 21

Isstadion

Stockholm

Sweden

Bootleg audio exists

January 23

Scandinavium

Gothenburg

Sweden

Bootleg audio exists

January 25

Parc de Exposion

Nancy

France

Bootleg audio exists

January 26

Parc Expo Center

Rouen

France

Bootleg audio exists

January 27

Edenhall

Amsterdam

Holland

Bootleg audio exists

January 30

Maison des Sports

Clermond-Ferrand

France

Bootleg audio exists

February 1

Sport Palace

Barcelona

Spain

Bootleg audio exists

February 2

Estadio Koman Vacerio

Madrid

Spain

Bootleg audio exists

February 3

Velodromo Anoeta

San Sebastian

Spain

Bootleg audio exists

February 5

Stadium

Marseille

France

Bootleg audio exists

February 7

Theatre de Verdure

Nice

France

Bootleg audio exists
February 8   Grenoble France Bootleg audio exists

February 9

Palais d'Hiver

Lyon

France

Bootleg audio exists

February 10

Hall Tivoli

Strasbourg

France

Bootleg audio exists

February 11

Espace Ballard

Paris

France

Bootleg audio exists

February 13

Stadthalle

Offenbach

West Germany

Bootleg audio exists

February 14

Hemmerleinhalle

Nürnberg

West Germany

 

February 17

Boeblingen Sporthalle

Stuttgart

West Germany

Bootleg audio exists

February 18

Eulachalle

Winterthur

Switzerland

Bootleg audio exists

February 19

Rudi Sedlmayerhalle

Munich

West Germany

Bootleg audio exists

February 20

Rhein-Neckarhalle

Heidelberg

West Germany

Bootleg audio exists

February 21

Philipshalle

Düsseldorf

West Germany

 

American tour with support from Great White, Saxon and Kick Axe

     "We headlined tours in Europe and America, and we had Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Saxon, and all these guys opening for us. It made for a good package, and it was a leg up for those guys. In the Seventies, we were fortunate enough to support bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and Kiss; that was a help to us, and now we were helping to keep the metal machinery rolling. Obviously, it's always a bummer when the support bands go on to have a six million-selling album, but we've become the best of friends with Def Leppard over the years."
- K.K. Downing

For the American leg of the DEFENDERS World Tour, Hamer Guitars issued a limited run of consumer versions of Glenn's A6 (six in-line headstock) Phantom and K.K.'s Custom Vector. The consumer versions were called the Phantom GT and the Vector KK.


Thanks to Barry Duncan for this photo of the consumer models

 

With the larger venues in America, stiffer competition from other major touring acts, and a spectacular stage show from the SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE tour to follow up, Judas Priest dug deep and constructed a set based on the album's Metallian creature.

In Europe, due to the smaller size of the venues, they were only able to use a backdrop of the Metallian creature, but in the States, the larger venues allowed them to build a full Metallian they could interact with. In the previous tour, Rob would burst out through a wall of Marshall stacks riding atop his Harley-Davidson motorcycle... Now he would step out of the mouth of the Metallian. Over-the-top? You got it!:

     "We felt we had to put together something that was totally awesome, and I think that's exactly what we've done. Heavy metal is such a humongous sounding thing and the fans expect to be blown away when they come to a concert. They want the big sound, the big stage set and the big light show - something that's larger than life. It's ridiculously expensive, but right from the early years we've always put money back into the shows. And the more successful you become, the bigger the shows become and the more money you have to spend..."
- Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "It was never a question of whether anything in our shows was 'too much'. It was more a question of 'could it be done?' We were never concerned about taking a great deal of the money we made and pouring it right back into the band, getting the best and biggest light show we could and making sure that each stage show was a full-scale production that would overwhelm everyone who witnessed it. Coming up with some of those ideas for the stage show almost took as much time as preparing material for a new album."
- K.K. Downing, Hit Parader, July/August 2004

March 16

 

Niagara Falls, NY

USA

 

March 21

Nassau Coliseum

Uniondale, NY

USA

 
March 22 New Haven Coliseum New Haven, CT USA  

March 23

Meadowlands Arena

East Rutherford, NJ

USA

 

March 25

Civic Center

Providence, RI

USA

Bootleg audio exists
March 26 Centrum Centre Worcester, MA USA  

March 28

The Forum

Montreal

Canada

Bootleg video exists

March 30

Coliseum

Quebec

Canada

 

April 2

Maple Leaf Gardens

Toronto

Canada

Bootleg audio exists

April 6

Richfield Coliseum

Richfield, OH

USA

 

April 7

Wing Stadium

Kalamazoo, MI

USA

Bootleg audio exists

April 11

Civic Center

Baltimore, MD

USA

Bootleg audio exists

April 14

Freedom Hall

Louisville, KY

USA

Bootleg audio exists
April 18 Mid-south Coliseum Memphis, TN USA  
April 20 Mississippi Coliseum Jackson, MS USA  
April 28 Convention Center Arena San Antonio, TX USA  

April 30

Reunion Arena

Dallas, TX

USA

Bootleg audio exists

May 2

Tingley Coliseum

Albuquerque, NM

USA

Bootleg audio exists
May 3 Phoenix Memorial Coliseum Phoenix, AZ USA  

May 4

The Sports Arena

Long Beach, CA

USA

Bootleg audio exists from the  May 5 show; Broadcast on the ABC Rock Network; Several tracks used on the Re-Masters

May 5

     "There was a little problem last night. Someone rather enthusiastically threw an object at the stage and it hit Glenn on the head and didn't make him feel too well! It's not very serious, but it's an injury none-the-least."
- Rob Halford, Rockline, May 7, 1984

     "Together with the vast quantities of alcohol that he consumed, I'm sure he's got somewhat of a bit of a headache today!"
- K.K. Downing, Rockline, May 7, 1984

May 9

Sports Arena

San Diego, CA

USA

 

May 10   Fresno, CA USA Bootleg audio exists
May 12 Cal Expo Amphitheatre Sacramento, CA USA  

May ??

Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Phoenix, AZ

USA

 

May 24

Coliseum

Portland, OR

USA

 

May 25

 

Spokane, WA

USA

 

May 26

Tacoma Dome

Tacoma, WA

USA

 

     "The Tacoma show was bizarre. Everybody threw their shoes on the stage, and we couldn't walk on. There were bras and knickers and three live snakes - there were a lot of things thrown on stage that night!"
- K.K. Downing, Goldmine magazine June 5, 1998
In May, Rob Halford caught Kick Axe performing at the Body Shoppe in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for a broadcast on CKIK FM. After the show, Rob offered the band an opportunity to tour North America as support to Judas Priest during the summer months of July and August.


Larry Gillstrom of Kick Axe
meets the Metal God in Calgary

May 28

Pacific Coliseum

Vancouver

Canada

 

May 30

Northlands Coliseum

Edmonton

Canada

 
     "My first Priest concert was the Defenders of the Faith tour in Edmonton back in '84; Great White opened up for them. What a kick ass show! They opened with 'Love Bites' and Rob started singing from behind the Metallian and when he came out from behind, the crowd screamed so loudly that you just knew that this show was going to kick ass! I also have a very fond memory of that night: At the end of the concert, I was hanging around where the tour buses were, waiting for my ride home to pick me up, when Rob, K.K., Glenn, Ian and Dave Holland came out of the building. I ran up to them and started blurbing anything that came out of my mouth; it probably didn't make any sense to them, but I had my cassette of Unleashed in the East with me and every one of them signed it for me. Rob wrote 'Keep rocking and remember to defend the faith '84'. That was incredibly awesome, to meet them the first time I ever seen them live!
- Eyewitness

June 2

The Agridome

Regina

Canada

 

June 4

The Arena

Winnipeg

Canada

Support from Great White Bootleg audio exists
After seeing Kick Axe in May of ‘84 at a live broadcast from the Body Shoppe in Calgary, Canada, Rob Halford offered them the opening slot on the Defenders Of Faith tour, with the first date scheduled in their own Canada for June 4, but due to some unmentioned problem, Great White opened instead.

June 13

Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

USA

 

June 14

Rosemont Horizon

Rosemont, IL

USA

Bootleg audio exists

June 16

Capital Center

Landover, MD

USA

 

June 17

June 18

Madison Square Garden

New York, NY

USA

Bootleg audio exists



Near the climax of the sold-out concert at MSG, frenzied fans on the floor ripped up their foam seats and began hurling them at the stage:


     "The crowd was going crazy and started ripping out the foam cushions from the seats and began throwing them around like square Frisbees. There were so many seat cushions on stage the band could barely walk around. Halford was sitting on the forks of his bike laughing with an evil growl...saying, 'New York, you sick mother fuckers'."
- Eyewitness report

     "It just started to happen. We couldn't stop it. It was like a snowstorm of seats."
- Glenn Tipton

     "We were the world's first trampoline act!"
- Rob Halford

     "That was one of our most memorable gigs. Why they did it, we don't know. They were just totally elated and having a good time."
- K.K. Downing

     "There was no malice at all on their part. It was all just good fun."
- Ian Hill

     "I think that it happened mostly because it was the end of the school year, and all the kids just went nuts."
- Eyewitness

     "I don't think that any of our fans meant it in a bad way. It was just very high spirits - like the end-of-school frat party.  I don't think it was meant in a menacing or violent way.  I just think the kids were so over the top, they'd had such an incredible night, that they were getting rid of their last bit of energy. I have to admit that it was one of the most memorable nights on the tour so far. But, unfortunately, it was directed at the seats and the contents of the Garden, and I wouldn't want promoters around the country to think that that goes on at every Priest show!"
- Rob Halford, Circus, 1984

Band members estimate their insurance company shelled out over a quarter million dollars to compensate the Garden for damages. And they were banned from playing future gigs there, although whether that's still in effect is uncertain. Amusingly enough, Glenn and K.K. returned there weeks later to watch a tennis match, trying carefully to avoid being scrutinized by photographers who had also been at their infamous gig. But on their way out, one of the venue's managers caught up with them:

     "He came up and said, 'I just wanted to thank you guys, we really needed some new seats'."
- K.K. Downing, Goldmine magazine June 5, 1998
June 20 Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena Binghamton, NY USA  

June 22

Spectrum

Philadelphia, PA

USA

Bootleg audio exists

June 30

Hollywood Sportatorium

Hollywood, FL

USA

 
July 3 Lakeland Civic Center Lakeland, FL USA  
July ?   Harrisburg, PA USA Support from Kick Axe
July ?   Greensboro, NC USA Support from Kick Axe
July 15 Sandstone Amphitheatre Bonner Springs/Kansas City, KS USA Support from Kick Axe

July 17

Kansas Coliseum

Wichita, KS

USA

 
July 18 Lloyd Noble Center Norman, OK USA  
July 20 McNichols Arena Denver, CO USA Support from Kick Axe

July 25

Lawlor Events Center

Reno, NV

USA

Support from Kick Axe;
Bootleg audio exists

July 27

Cow Palace

San Francisco, CA

USA

Support from Kick Axe

July 28

July 29

Irvine Meadows

Laguna Hills, CA

USA

Support from Kick Axe;
Bootleg audio exists

July 31

Salt Palace

Salt Lake City, UT

USA

Support from Kick Axe
August 5 Alpine Valley Music Theatre East Troy, WI USA Support from Kick Axe;
Bootleg audio exists

     "I remember we had to clear the stage and the auditorium in Madison, Wisconsin because there was a tornado heading towards us! That was pretty scary. One of the buildings we played got struck by lightning and it killed everything, it all went pitch black."
- Glenn Tipton,
UKRocknet, 2002

August 7

City Island

Harrisburg, PA

USA

Support from Kick Axe

August 8

Ohio Center

Columbus, OH

USA

Support from Kick Axe

August 9

Wendler Arena - Saginaw Civic Center

Saginaw, MI

USA

Support from Kick Axe

August 10

  Bismarck, ND USA Support from Kick Axe
August ? Hara Arena Dayton, OH USA Support from Kick Axe
August 28

Civic Center

Springfield, CT

USA

 
August 30

 

Irvine Meadows, CA

USA

Support from Kick Axe

Japan tour

September 6

Myagi Ken Sports Center

Sendai

Japan

 

September 7

Shiibuya NHK Hall

Tokyo

Japan

Bootleg audio exists

September 8

Kokaido Hall

Nagoya

Japan

 

September 10

Festival Hall

Osaka

Japan

Bootleg audio exists from the September 10 show

September 11

September 13

Nihon Budokan Hall

Tokyo

Japan

Bootleg audio exists
     "When we come off stage, none of us really winds down; we have to drink and meet women until the early hours of the next morning, until we eventually drop. Then we have all day to recover while traveling to the next show - with a glass of milk and a Big
Mac - and we can face the day again."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984
KEEP THE FAITH!


İ 2002-2003
Steel & Leather Productions, U.S.A.