John Hinch, the former Judas Priest drummer who played on the band’s debut album, ‘Rocka Rolla’, has died aged 73.
The musician’s death was confirmed by Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, who shared a photo of his former bandmate on his Instagram Story with the caption: “RIP.”
“His style was strong, direct and unique,” Halford recalled to Loudwire. “I’ll be blasting ‘Rocka Rolla’ today!”
Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing added: “I am extremely saddened to hear that John has passed away as he played his part so well in the creation and the history of Judas Priest.”
“There are so many memories of crazy and fun times we all shared together. John was always so dependable and did everything to the best of his ability, including his drumming which looking back can only be described as faultless. The fact that he continued to play to his very last day is testimony to his ability and dedication to his love of the drums.”
“I wish to give my sincere condolences to John’s family and loved ones from myself and all of you forever. Rest in peace, John.”
Born on June 19, 1947, in Staffordshire, England, Hinch began his career playing in several bands in the Birmingham area. He first joined Halford in the group Hiroshima before following the frontman to Judas Priest in 1973.
Hinch and Halford joined forces with guitarist K.K. Downing and bassist Ian Hill in the band, and later second guitarist Glenn Tipton. In 1974, the group recruited Black Sabbath and Budgie producer Rodger Bai and recorded their debut LP, ‘Rocka Rolla’.
The album was very different to what Judas Priest would go on to be known for – it was more blues rock than heavy metal – but it gave the band its first bit of exposure. They toured the LP throughout the UK and Europe, and Hinch handled most of the driving as well as the band’s finances – although he admitted later it was frustrating.
“Drumming to me just became secondary,” Hinch admitted. “It was like, ‘Ok, here we go we’re on stage,’ and then invariably you’d get an argument just for the sake of an argument.”
After the tour was over, the band turned their attention to second album ‘Sad Wings Of Destiny’, and it was at that point that Hinch was fired from the band.
Following his stint in Judas Priest, Hinch pursued a career in band management, working with artists such as Jameson Raid and Uli Jon Roth of Scorpions fame.