Metalfans should be familiar with the names Atkins and May – moreover, we had chatted with Alan “Al” Atkins, the co-founder and original singer of Judas Priest, before. He began a cooperation with the prolific guitarist, writer and producer Paul May a few years ago, which resulted in several releases of AMP – ATKINS MAY PROJECT. Forged in the heart of the Black Country in the UK, they proudly fly the flag for ‘Old School’ Classic British Hard Rock & Metal. And now it’s time for Paul May to answer a few questions about the new album …
What was the first band that you were in, Paul?
Gosh, that was a long time ago ! I think my first band was probably a Club & Pub outfit that I belonged to back when I was about 15 years old. We played classics of the day, got paid and drank beer!
When did you become interested in music?
The moment I entered the world! From a young child I was always listening and wanting to be in music; it was my passion even when I was young.
Any favorite bands?
Way too many to mention! But as a kid it was T.rex, Slade, Hendrix, and then later onto the twin guitar bands like Thin Lizzy, Boston, and the bare knuckle metal like Motörhead, and lets not forget Kiss and Maiden, and the list goes on!
How did you meet Al Atkins, to form the Atkins May Project?
I’ve been working with Al for over 30 years or so now, in one form or another, since 1989 I believe, I originally met him at a gig that I was playing at in West Bromwich, in the “Black Country”, that’s here in the West Midlands in the UK. He asked me to put some guitars down on some demos he was doing at the time and those evolved into tracks that would be on his first solo album. I went on to record & produce on all of Al’s 5 solo albums in one form or another.
Around 2009, I was doing some tracks for an album I was writing and recording and asked Al to guest on a couple tracks and do vocals on it, they turned out so well that I asked if he’d sing on all of them and so was born the ATKINS MAY PROJECT.
Were you a fan of Judas Priest?
I wasn’t what you’d call a fan back then, but I knew some of their classics and I’ve actually become a fan of some of their stuff, Painkiller, Turbo, Sad Wings etc. I obviously enjoyed the twin guitar stuff and the incredible vocal range of Mr. Halford, so I was actually a late starter with Priest.
Tell us about recording “Valley of Shadows”. What were the sessions like?
Well, “Valley of Shadows” was our second album as AMP, out of the five albums we’ve released. It was nice progression from the first album, and I really like some of the songs and performances off that album.
How about recording the “Serpent’s Kiss”? What was that like in comparison?
Serpents Kiss was our first album, which was a bit of discovery process, which has led to us being able to say unashamedly that we are a Classic “old school” Rock & Metal band! I think every album has evolved along the way from this album as a starting point.
Do you write the music, Paul?
I certainly do! On the Atkins May Project albums I write all the compositions and lyrics, and produce them. I’ve also written for many other artists, of every style and genre and I’ve played on many different albums to date, everything from Rock to Country to Gospel!
Any future plans and projects?
At the moment Al’s about to put the vocals down on the new album, which will be due out this year, on my Record Label: Dog Ruff Records! In case you want to check the albums out, they are available online all major downloads, iTunes etc
They are :
VALLEY OF SHADOWS
EMPIRE OF DESTRUCTION
ANTHOLOGY – CD only
THE FINAL CUT
Thank you for the interview!
Text: John Wisniewski photos: band