JUDAS PRIEST Bassist Ian Hill - "British Steel Was The Definitive Heavy Metal Album" Page 2
by Martin Popoff

"He was suggested to us by the record company at the time," says Ian. "When we first met him, we thought there's no way this bloke could be a heavy rock producer. He was very public schoolboy. He came from a well-to-do family, and like I say, spoke very Queens English, sort of thing. We thought, this isn't going to work. But he mixed the live album, Unleashed In The East, and he did a tremendous job on it, he really did, a great job on that, and we used him then, so he was with us for over ten years there, right up until... well, from '80 to '88, was the last one we did, which was Ram It Down, and he was with us all that time. Colonel Tom Allom (laughs). I think he was from a military family anyway. I think his first job was producing the marching band in the regiment, something like that anyway."

"First and foremost he was an excellent engineer," continues Hill. "And he sorted out the sounds of the various instruments, and that was the basis for the sound, obviously, of British Steel. And he was also a good mediator. Because if a couple of lads wanted to do something in the band one way, and a couple another; he was very pragmatic - he would look at the pros and cons and he would go to the most sensible suggestion. He was good at that, and his mixing technique was very, very good, and production, and all the noises, the production sounds. There was no such thing as samples in those days. We had to invent them. He loves his work. Like they say, if you've found a job you love, you don't have to work ever again (laughs) - and that's Tom Allom. He used to like the production side of things and creating samples and things. We had great fun with cutlery trays and broken bottles and things like that."

And for such a landmark album, material was in short supply. In fact, the record times out at a scant 36 minutes. "Well, we wrote some of the songs, actually, in the studio. 'The Rage', I think was written, and oh, it was 'Living After Midnight' that was actually written in the studio. We came up short with material. We had just come off the end of a very long tour, a two-year cycle, and Ken and Glenn and Rob hadn't got the time to write a complete album, so those two... it was a very hectic schedule, if you think about it. It was write, record, tour, write, record, tour, maybe with a couple of months off in-between. That's all. For us to write a song and then not use it was almost like sacrilege."

JUDAS PRIEST Bassist Ian Hill - "British Steel Was The Definitive Heavy Metal Album" Page 3