HOME GUESTBOOK GUESTMAP EMAIL

 
     

Stats Connections
Support Production

Intro

Gear

PicoSearch    

GEMM is your best source for impossible-to-find !

THE SENTINEL
 

     "The fame thing doesn't really worry me. There's nothing I like better than getting up on stage and playing in front of several thousand people. The fact that the other guys get all the limelight doesn't bother me at all."
-
Ian Hill, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

 

IAN ("SKULL") HILL - BASS:

  

  • Born Ian Frank Hill on January 20, 1952 in West Bromwich, England and to this day, he still makes his home just outside of Birmingham.

    Christmas time at Ian's house and gold ornaments decorate the place... RIAA Gold, that is!
    (Pictures courtesy of Ken Morrison)

     

  • Co-founder of the band

  • Ian was married to Rob Halford's sister Sue and has a son, Alexander, from that marriage. Ian and Sue divorced in 1988 and Ian is now in a second marriage and has a young daughter from that union:

     “Rob Halford’s my ex-brother-in-law. His sister and I were divorced several years ago, about ten years ago now. I see his sister from time to time because my son lives there. So, obviously, I see her when I pick him up..."
- Ian Hill, Prime-Choice, January 21, 1998

     "I have a little daughter and my first boy is 19; he’s playing in a band of his own. But I missed a lot of his childhood in the '80s. It was album, tour, album, tour, then I’d be off again.
     "My lad is playing in a little group at the moment and they’re playing the stuff I used to play, the Cream stuff, the Hendrix stuff and old blues numbers!"

- Ian Hill, Classic Rock Revisited, July 19, 200
0

Ian's son Alex plays bass in a Midlands rock band called Gravel:


Gravel L-R: Alex Hill - bass, Dame -vocals, Rob "Banger" Stimpson - drums, Robert Jones - guitar


Alex Hill

     “I did go round loads with my dad when he was on stage and saw him play. He never over-glamorised it though. He says it’s really difficult to make it in this industry but it’s just as difficult once you have made it, keeping it going, touring, writing albums and of course playing gigs.
     “But I live to play and that’s what I’ll do, to as many people as I can, in as many countries as I can and for free if I have to.”
- Alex Hill, Walsall Advertiser, August 7, 2003

There has also been a long-running rumor that Ian's son was the boy playing the video game in the "Freewheel Burning" promo video, but Alexander was born in 1981 and would have only been about 3 years old when that video was filmed!

     “Yet again - just another rumour!  It was not Ian Hill's son!
- Jayne Andrews, Management Co-ordinator for Judas Priest, March 29, 2004

Ian and Sue divorced in 1988 and the relationship between Ian and Rob was severed as well when Rob left Judas Priest in '92:

     “Rob Halford’s my ex-brother-in-law. His sister and I were divorced several years ago, about ten years ago now. I haven’t seen Rob since he left. I see his sister from time to time because my son lives there. So, obviously, I see her when I pick him up. But for obvious reasons, I’ve stayed clear of Rob."
- Ian Hill, Prime-Choice, January 21, 1998

But in 1999, Rob made an attempt to rebuild his friendship with his former mates, and with Rob's return to the band in 2003, the family is restored once again!

  • At 13 years of age, Ian learned the rudiments of bass from his father who himself played the double bass:

     "He used to play in some of the Big Bands and a few jazz outfits. He taught me scales and things, but then he died when I was 15."
-
Ian Hill, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

Soon Ian got his first bass, which was made from a modified lead guitar with two machine heads removed for a four-string setup. Then after wrecking his car, Ian was able to buy his own real bass guitar with the insurance money he received:

     "I like cars - I guess you could say I've always been a bit of a car freak. I like fiddling around, taking them to bits and then putting them back together again...[but] I decided it was either the bass or a new car - and music ended up coming first."
-
Ian Hill, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

Ian's bass playing influence was Cream's Jack Bruce.

CONNECTIONS:

In his youth, Ian attended the same Yew Tree Junior school as K.K. Downing, and both moved on to Churchfields School, but they did not become friends until their teens, when it was their musical talents that brought them together. This musical collaboration would be the foundation which would lead to the formation of the Judas Priest we all know and love.

As for whether Ian and K.K. would ever considering following in Glenn's footsteps and putting out their own solo albums:

     "It's quite possible. We've put a lot of time and effort into Priest for 30 years, so for the time being we're committed to doing what we're doing."
-
Ian Hill, USA Today online chat, February 8, 2002

And it was through Ian that Rob Halford came into the band, as Ian was dating Rob's sister in 1973 when Al Atkins left and they needed a new singer. Ian went on to marry Sue Halford and they have a son, but Ian and Sue were later divorced.

SUPPORT:

Ian Hill is the quiet one in the band. He doesn't play any bass solos, nor does he stand out on the band's tracks. He does not move very much from his own spot on stage (he's even been accused of having his boots nailed to the floor!) and he gives very few interviews, causing fans and the media to speculate if there's some kind of "mystique" or secretive life to Ian:

     "Nothing mysterious about it - I mean Ken, Glenn, and Rob are the three frontmen and they do a majority of the songwriting too; we've a majority of interviewers who want to speak to one of them, so it's not really that I don't want to do interviews or anything like that, it's just the way it works out."
- Ian Hill, Metal Shop, 1990

     "The way I see it is that we've got three very effective frontmen in the group and I think that's enough for any band. If you had five frontmen, they'd start bumping into each other, not just physically, but also mentally in terms of writing and everything.
     "Listening to the tracks, you can hear that I don't mess around with real intricate runs and stuff like that, basically because it isn't necessary. When you start doing that sort of thing with heavy metal music, I think it can start to detract from everything else that's going on. If I started going off in a tangent, instead of having a nice solid underlying base that K.K. and Glenn can build on, the whole thing would probably lose its strength..."
- Ian Hill, Turbo Fax tourbook by Steve Gett, 1986

Gear:

     "I play two major basses, a 4-string Stuart Spector bass, which I've played now for about 16 years, and a Hamer 5-string."
- Ian Hill, Mixdown magazine, December 2001

Early Gear:

  • Old Watkins 6-string electric guitar with four bass strings
  • Semi-acoustic Framus
  • Semi-acoustic Dan Armstrong
  • Danelectro and Epiphone EB-2
  • Linear 30 amp with home-made speaker cabinets
  • Park 100 watt amp with Park or Marshall 4X12 cabinet

'80s Gear:

  • Fender Jazz Bass
     "That was a late-Sixties Jazz Bass, and it was the first new bass I ever bought. Before that I had a Dan Armstrong. I was playing with my fingers at the time, so I had to turn up the treble and presence on the amp to get it to cut through. When I did that, it would squeal horribly, and I couldn't get anywhere near the speakers. The first real bass I ever owned was an Epiphone EB-2 semi-acoustic, but I couldn't stop that from squealing, either! When I finally saved up some money I bought the Jazz Bass, and it was brilliant. After that I got an old Gibson EB-3 like Jack Bruce used to play, but it wasn't in the same league as the Fender. Its sound was more messy and untidy. I brought it on tour as a backup in case I broke a string, and I'd use it only until the Fender was ready to be played again. I still play the Fender when I'm at home and doodling. I play it with my fingers."
- Ian Hill, Bass Guitar, October/November 2004
  • Gibson EB-3 bass
  • Spector bass
     "That was my next serious bass after the Fender. I got it around 1985. I remember Stuart Spector hadn't been making them very long when I got mine. I don't think it even had a model number. Spector makes great basses. I still use them now. These days I'm playing a Spector five-string."
- Ian Hill, Bass Guitar, October/November 2004
  • Hamer 4-string and doubleneck 4/8-string basses
     "I used Hamers for a while, but I wasn't too pleased with them. They seemed to be lacking something. Hamer built a great twin-neck bass for me that I still have. It weighs half a ton, but it sounds great, especially when you detune the eight-string neck. I've been using the eight-string a lot on the new Judas Priest album for a few effects here and there. It comes in handy from time to time."
- Ian Hill, Bass Guitar, October/November 2004
  • Guild bass B302
  • Marshall backline
     "In the early years I used Marshall 100-watt amps and 4X12 cabinets. That was the first serious equipment I got when I could afford it. Before that, it was a hodgepodge of begged, borrowed and stolen things."
- Ian Hill, Bass Guitar, October/November 2004
  • Acoustic 360 320 watt amps
  • Acoustic 301 cabinets
     "The first time we went to the States, in 1977, I discovered the Acoustic 360 bass rig. The Acoustic cabinets had these great big Gauss 18-inch speakers in them, which were phenomenal. I used those for years. I added things as I went along I ended up with three folded horns and three 18-inch speakers on either side of the stage driven by the 360 heads. I used two on my side and one on Ken's side. I used those until they wore out. I was perfectly happy with them until they started falling apart. All the fabric covering was ripped off of them."
- Ian Hill, Bass Guitar, October/November 2004
  • Ashley amps with E.A.R. 12 and 15 cabinets
     "By the TURBO tour I needed a new rig, so I got some amps from a company called E.A.R. (Electric Acoustic Research). They built a rig for me that had Ashley power amps and preamps. There were four cabinets containing two 15-inch speakers and two 12-inch speakers. They were enormous. I used those up until the end of the first Rob Halford era, up until 1991."
- Ian Hill, Bass Guitar, October/November 2004

Current Gear:

  • Spector NS2 4-string  and NS-2000/5 5-string basses
  • Washburn AB20 acoustic bass
  • Hamer 5-string bass
  • Medium light picks
  • Trace Elliot 122HSMX combo with 2X10, tweeter and 12-band graphic EQ
  • Mesa Boogie rig
     "When we started playing again with Ripper, in 1996, we weren't playing such large stages. We had to downsize, so I started using a Mesa Boogie rig with 400+ heads."
- Ian Hill, Bass Guitar, October/November 2004
  • Marshall 2X15 cabinet
  • SWR SM-900 amps with SWR Megoliath and Triad cabinets
     "These days I have a couple of SWR SM-900 heads and four Triad cabinets. It's a great rig. I don't need any preamps or anything else."
- Ian Hill, Bass Guitar, October/November 2004
  • D.I.
  • Zoom 506 multi-effect pedal
  • Sennheiser wireless system
     "I like to think of my tone as a complete sound. I strive for a round, piano sort of tone. I like a lot of lows and highs; I pull out the mids with a graphic EQ."
- Ian Hill, Bass Player magazine, July 2002

PRODUCTION:

Just before the reunion between Judas Priest and Rob Halford was announced, Ian Hill had kept busy taking his "Glenn Tipton" turn in the Producer's chair, recording a debut E.P. titled THE SOUND OF LOUD for a new UK band known as The New Blacks

THE NEW BLACKS play hard edged, white hot, diesel driven anthems that sticks two fingers up to the same old whingey whiney, indie-schmindie bores that are currently falsely billing themselves as ‘the future of rock’ whilst churning out the usual lifeless, dull as dishwater jingly jangly lightweight pop fodder that we’ve got so sick of.

Formed in mid 2003 the band have been busy rehearsing and recording the eclectic mix of spiraling riffs and all out sonic onslaught that is SOUND OF LOUD - the bands debut release. Produced under the helm of the legendary Ian Hill from Metal Gods Judas Priest, the tracks combine the bands collective influences, mix them around in a cauldron of attitude, power and the most stomach thumping, groove laden, massive riffs known to mankind and then take cover as the resulting concoction explodes into what is undoubtedly ‘the hottest band to watch out for in 2004’ (RIFF magazine).

THE NEW BLACKS have arrived.

WARNING: THE NEW BLACKS MAKE A LOUD, PROUD, FUCKING HUGE SOUND
- Press Release, June 10, 2004



Hailing from Cannock Staffs, UK, the band consists of: Lee on the bass, Keaton on guitar and vocals, Glynn Morgan (formerly of Threshold and Mindfeed) on vocals and guitar, and Nick on guitar and vocals. But it wasn't until Ian Hill had shown an interest in the group in mid 2003 that they took things seriously:

     "The initial plan, core of the band and the name came together in mid 2002, but it was only last year that we really got our shit together and got things moving, helped in no small part thanks to interest from a certain Metal God in producing us, the result of which is our debut E.P. SOUNDS OF LOUD."
- The New Blacks, June 10, 2004

Excerpt from an interview conducted with bassist Lee by Garry Sharpe-Young February 2005:

How did you meet up with Ian and how did it come about that he ended up
producing the demo?

     "He had some time off before having to rehearse for the new JUDAS PRIEST album
and the world tour and was looking for a good new young band to help out and put
his production skills to some use. He just happened to choose us. We were pretty
lucky."

Did you learn anything technically from Ian about studio work?

     "Loads. It would be impossible not to with the experience he's had in studios.
He offered some great bits of advice and made the CD sound as awesome as it
does."

OK, now you've been in close confines with the man, tell us one thing about Ian Hill
that will shock Judas Priest fans.

     "His beard is false."

- Rock Detector, February 2005


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