A real rocker's take on rock games

GamesRadar: Do you see games today being what MTV was in the ‘80s with music videos?

RH: Absolutely. Yeah, that’s a great parallel. With Judas Priest, we were one of the first bands that had active rotation on MTV. I don’t think anybody understood at that time just how big that whole way of presenting a band was gonna turn into. It’s shifted focus now. TV’s a whole different model to what it originally was, but the fact is that visuals are still a driving force in any kind of music.

So you need a way of putting your music across in a visual way because that quote about a picture speaks a thousand words is still very important. Okay, the music is good, but what does this look like? So you need an outlet like YouTube, where you’ve got your own account, or any of the other multiple websites that you put a video out, which today can even be played through your mobile phone. But games are a whole new way to reach an audience.

GamesRadar: How have you seen Judas Priest songs in Rock Band and Guitar Hero impact your fan base?

RH: Well, we were one of the first bands to get into the Guitar Hero experience and more recently with Rock Band, so we’re already there. And on occasion I’ve met fans and asked them how they got to know us and they say, “Oh yeah, found you on Rock Band, dude. And then I went on the Internet and got all your records."

So it’s great. It really is. I think it speaks volumes for people like Priest or Kiss or AC/DC or The Beatles that come from a whole different generation when none of this existed. To be in that world now because our music is still relevant and our music is still doing its job, which is touching people and entertaining them. I think that the game makers understand the connection is strong enough for bands like I’ve mentioned to be in that video dimension.

GamesRadar: Over the years, we’ve also seen the Aerosmiths and Van Halens and now The Beatles teaming up with the Rock Bands and Guitar Heros for stand-alone games. Is that something that you’d like to do at some point with Judas Priest?

RH: I think so. I think that all of the top bands that you generally find have a lot of character and a lot of traditional heritage in the stage performance dimension. And I think that’s very true for a band like Judas Priest, for example. All of the characters in Priest have been looked at and photographed for as long as we’ve been around. And I think it’s a very simple way to take those characters and put them into a videogame experience that you can enjoy.

‘Cause you wanna be Paul. You wanna be Gene. You wanna be Rob. You wanna be Glen. You wanna be Angus. Who do you wanna be? That’s the fun for the player. It’s goes way back to when you used to do it in front of the mirror with an air guitar and you were Jimi Hendrix. And now you can be Jimi Hendrix in a videogame. How cool is that?

Jan 22, 2010