JUDAS PRIESTESS The World’s ONLY All-Girl Tribute to the Metal Gods, JUDAS PRIEST, is a rock phenomenon! Formed in 2009, this striking group of leather and chain-clad, multi-talented, NYC based women rockers has created a world-wide reputation, complete with rave reviews from music critics, adoring fans, and has the blessing of the Metal God himself, Judas Priest front man Rob Halford on VH1 Classic’s popular That Metal Show. Legendary Judas Priest guitarist, KK Downing, featured the group on the Third Anniversary of his Steel Mill website, which called them Metal’s top female tribute! Al Atkins, original Judas Priest vocalist and co-author of Victim of Changes contacted the band to say “You women rock – fantastic version of Victim!” As the press quotes attest, this band has numerous feature articles and has been written about in publications such as MTV.com, Guitar World, Blabbermouth, Decibel, High Times, New York Press, and many others.
JUDAS PRIESTESS has performed at many festivals,motorcycle rallies, charities and special events. The band shared the stage with Twisted Sister at Dee Snider’s Bikers for Babies charity rally for the March of Dimes in Long Island, NY and they have opened up for legendary pioneers of doom metal, Pentagram. In Spring 2011, Cape Fear Harley Davidson sponsored JUDAS PRIESTESS performance at North Carolina’s Rock Shop Music Hall and they immediately followed that date as the headline attraction opening weekend at Myrtle Beach Bike Week in South Carolina – a triumphant return for the band at SBB 4-Corners. Myrtle Beach Bike Week is one of the four top biker events in the U.S.A. with over 300,000 people from around the world attending. At Harley Bike Week the band was such a hit that they scored the cover of The Sun News KICKS! Section (June 17, 2011) in an article about the world?s best tribute bands that perform in that international tourist mecca, Myrtle Beach. The band also captured the attention of new ‘biker’ show, “Ride On America” and is featured in an episode. In September 2011, JUDAS PRIESTESS headlined the Indian Larry Motorcycles Block Party in Brooklyn, NY, the annual day-long outdoor event that memorializes one of the motorcycle world’s most acclaimed, creative and beloved icons, Indian Larry.
October 2011 they headlined a special Halloween event in NYC’s iconic Penn Station, sharing the spotlight with world famous Madame Tussand’s, and Broadway’s “Rock of Ages”, among others, as 100,000 commuters passed through the train station during the rush-hours. JUDAS PRIESTESS headlined HIXONFEST in NYC (2010) with Richard Christie of Iced Earth and the Howard Stern show jamming on drums with the band onstage. The band also headlined Massachusetts’s first all-girl band festival Metal Galz Rule!
Judas Priestess spectacular front woman, MilitiA, has been called by the French Music Press “the true cross between Rob Halford and Tina Turner”. MilitiA has been Dee Snider’s lead vocalist in his heavy metal orchestra “Van Helsing’s Curse”; has toured Europe with Jesus Christ Superstar; has performed with Nancy Sinatra, Cyndi Lauper, Living Colour, among other known musical artists. MilitiA’s vocal prowess and stunning stage presence combined with the impressive and stellar musicians that comprise Judas Priestess:
In 2013, Judas Priestess welcomed a new lead guitarist, Rena Sands. This highly skilled shredder is an authentic and well-respected Metal Queen known and revered from her days with Meanstreak. She is a true musician’s musician! Josette, also on lead guitar, a member since late 2010, comes with a renowned reputation as a ‘kick ass female guitarist.” She got her rock training in her first band, the all-girl Hari Kari managed by Eric Carr from KISS. Bassist Gyda Gash (co-founder) has a long-standing solid gold reputation as the first lady of doom from her days in Angel Rot and has many laudable and interesting achievements under her belt. Behind the kit is the heavy metal drum goddess Hillary Blaze from the Boston based all-girl band Jaded. Ms. Blaze is notorious for “bringing the FIRE” and the thunder!
Recently caught up with
w/ MILITIA VOX- vocals, HILLARY BLAZE- drums + GYDA GASH- bass here’s what they had to say.
1. How were you first introduced to Judas Priest?
HB: I had an older cousin who got me into heavy metal including Priest.
GG: After watching the film Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
MV: I remember hearing their name and thinking, ’That’s gotta be one of the coolest band names in existence.’ One day I was looking at a cd catalog and saw British Steel. I decided to order it on a whim and because the cover looked so sick. I was not disappointed!
2. When did you decide to form a tribute band?
MV: That’s a question for Gyda, she’s a band co-founder.
GG: My first tribute experience was an all girl Bowie band with a former member of Lez Zeppelin. I wanted to play heavier music so I switched to Priest.
3. Are you really the world’s only all-woman Judas Priest tribute?
GG: To my knowledge we are the only women with the musical skill sets to cover the music. There are not many singers out there with a five octave range! We are a special rare breed.
MV: I know that there are a few female fronted tributes to Priest and there was an all girl AC/DC tribute band who did a few Priest themed shows but they admittedly weren’t able to execute the heavy, more intricate songs, they stuck to the simpler more radio friendly songs… which isn’t a real tribute to Priest. *wink*
4. You’re playing at Laconia Bike Week next month. Can you tell us a little about that festival?
HB: It’s a huge 2 week bike festival that’s celebrating it’s 93rd year this June. There are events, vendors, live music and seas of motorcycles! It’s an amazing event and I’m looking forward to playing there!
5. How did the show at Revolution go?
GG: Revolution is one of our favorite places to play. The crowds are always enthusiastic and the guys who run the club are wonderful to us. Long islanders really love their heavy metal!
HB: It was great. It’s becoming a regular venue for us. We love rocking out Priest tunes and having a great time with all our rowdy fans!!
6. Why did you choose to play British Steel in its entirety?
MV: Nostalgia is a powerful thing. I think people enjoy hearing their favorite albums in song order, as they remember them, from back when it was new- and hearing it live and loud.
HB: British Steel is one of their most iconic albums. It has classic Priest songs and we felt it would be a great album to honor.
GG: The album is iconic and a favorite amongst our fans.
7. Which Priest album(s) do you consider essential to
any metal collection?
HB: Painkiller or Screaming for Vengeance….it’s tough to choose…
GG: Personally I love Rocka Rolla because I love the old-school 70s black sabbath style.
MV: British Steel is a given but next on that list of heavy metal criterion for me Screaming For Vengeance, then Unleashed in the East- their quintessential live album.
8. Did you get to meet any of the Priest guys? How do they like what you’re doing for them?
MV: Yes I’ve met Priest a few times over the years, just as a fan. Since the inception on Judas Priestess- Halford gave us his blessing from the get go and continues to show support and stay in touch. KK was a big supporter right before he left Priest and even featured us on his website, The Steel Mill. Original Priest vocalist Al Atkins has shown his love for the band via social media and Ritchie Faulkner has hung with us and stayed connected socially. Very cool.
HB: I have met all of them and am friendly with Scott Travis. They are great guys, amazing musicians and very supportive of what we do.
9. How do your fans describe your sound? Do you think you’ll ever come close to matching the original?
MV: It’s an aggressively feminine approach to Priest. We finesse the songs our own way and I believe people appreciate the difference in energy. We have never tried to mimic or impersonate Priest. They are them and we are us. We bring our truth and passion to their music and celebrate it with their fans.
HB:We honor Judas Priest by giving a little of our touch to their tunes. No one could ever match the original though.
GG: People have told us we sound heavier than priest with Tina Turner style vocals. While the comparison of Militia to Tina is incredibly flattering, I’d say Militia has a broader range and a more classic Halford-style voice than Ms. Turner.
10. Do you have any cover albums out?
MV: We have released 3 songs digitally, they are available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc…and we are working on a new batch. Stay tuned!
11. Where are you heading after Laconia?
HB: After Laconia we have shows coming up in Ocean City, MD, Gettysburg, PA, and also back at Revolutions on Long Island, NY
12. What has been your best show so far?
GG: Opening for Pentagram and Bikers for Babies…..xxxxxxxx
HB: It’s hard to choose just one. I have an absolute blast playing this music and feed off of the energy from the crowds.
MV: The Pentagram show was definitely great, also we’ve have some great performances at the Indian Larry Block party over the years. Very cool vibe and we definitely feel the love of the crowd.
13. What do you think of the state of heavy metal in the new millennium? Will we see a resurgence of classic sounds, or is it bound to change forever?
MV: I think it’s going to be all of that- more artists and bands will come out re-developing classic sounds and then there will eventually be a new variation on heavy metal that will splinter off into it’s own genre with sub-genres. That’s what I’m most interested in- the new.
HB: I think music is also changing and evolving but classic sounds will always endure and be be used as inspiration for a new variation.
14. Do you think that tribute groups like your own can maintain or even generate (among younger music fans) interest in older groups like Priest, Iron Maiden and AC/DC?
HB: Absolutely because I’ve seen it happen first hand at our shows.
GG: Yes we see that all the time
15. Is Judas Priestess here to stay on the scene?
HB: We have no intention of slowing down! Things are just getting revved up!!
MV: As long as people want us, we’ll be there. You make the demand, we’ll make the supply! Honestly, the love and support thus far has been overwhelming- thank you.
GG: Till death do us part.
16. Final Thoughts?
GG: Come to our show and see for yourself
HB: I am so grateful to be playing such great music with such an incredibly talented group of ladies. Sharing it with the fans is the ultimate for me.
MV: www.judaspriestess.com – reach out and touch us X