Let’s get this out of the way — Judas Priest being only the third proper heavy metal band to be inducted into the Rock Hall is crazy, right? Black Sabbath gave birth to my music, and rightfully, was the first metal band inducted into the Rock Hall. But Judas Priest took metal and made it way more guitar-driven, mainstream and faster. So I’m here to say: It’s about time!
Priest are the proud leaders of the New Wave of British heavy metal movement, which spawned the twin-guitar attack many bands still use today. They paved the way for thrash, influencing Pantera, Testament, Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, Anthrax, Overkill and thousands of others. On a grander scale, Priest made metal music super-popular, and brought so many fans to our side of the spectrum.
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I was still in kindergarten when my older, long-haired cousin introduced me to Judas Priest. It was hook, line and sinker for me, and I’ve never strayed from metal since. Then my family got MTV and Judas Priest found a direct way to our metal hearts through their leathered-out videos.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t old enough to go to Priest concerts, so I binged on tapes, CDs, videos, magazines, guitar-tab books and my “Painkiller” poster. That took me through the next 15 years or so, until I got my job at Sirius Satellite Radio in 2000, finally meeting metal god Rob Halford when he came up to our New York headquarters upon launch.
He treated me like gold! I had just started in the rock department, and from my first meeting with the band’s frontman, we bonded over a love of Arizona, my home state and the one he’d moved to in the ’90s. He was the sweetest, most sincere and genuine person ever, and since then we have done tons of interviews all over the country and at our SXM studios.
After 50 years of heavy metal, Judas Priest has become part of the fabric of life. More than just a band, they are a movement and a symbol of rock and roll freedom. There is no one more deserving to be inducted into the Rock Hall than them — better late than never!
Jose “Metal Ambassador” Mangin can be heard on SiriusXM Octane.
This essay is part of a series — in partnership with the on-air talent of SiriusXM — to pay tribute to the performers being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Nov. 5 in Los Angeles. Catch the complete Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2022 Induction Ceremony on HBO Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. ET, along with a simulcast on SiriusXM’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Radio (channel 310). SiriusXM listeners can also catch live, backstage coverage and commentary on Volume on the SXM app and on Faction Talk (channel 103).
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