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Judas Priest Look Back as ‘Rocka Rolla’ Turns 40: ‘We Had No Money’

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This is a banner year for Judas Priest past and present, with the band’s forthcoming album ‘Redeemer of Souls‘ arriving in stores months after their classic ‘Defenders of the Faith‘ turned 30 — and months before their 1974 debut, ‘Rocka Rolla,’ celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Band members Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton looked back on Priest’s early days during a conversation with Ultimate Classic Rock, with Halford recalling of the ‘Rocka Rolla’ sessions, “The record company was so cheap. I don’t know how much it cost to make that record — practically nothing. But we had to do the night shift at the studio, because that was the cheapest sessions. So we slept outside the studio in a van all day, in the blazing summer, and then we’d get out at like eight, nine o’clock at night, stumble in the studio, and play until sunrise, then go back in the van like vampires. That’s the one distinctive memory I have.”

“We had no money. They used to give us meal tickets — two meal tickets. We’d go to the cafeteria,” added Tipton, who laughingly remembered the van’s lack of air conditioning — and the trauma of accidentally knocking a beer into the studio’s piano.

“It was a big studio. It was like ‘Star Trek‘ in those days — very overwhelming,” added Halford, who marveled, “A record a year and a tour. I don’t know how we did it.” To see more of the interview, including their thoughts on the controversy that erupted over their music’s lyrical content in the ’80s, check out the clip embedded above.

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