The making of "The Priest of Maidenhead"
Our second single from the album project The History of Heavy Metal was a bit challenging to write but once written the recordings of the song went down fast and easy!
"The Priest of Maidenhead" honors and pays tribute to NWOBHM and traditional and classic heavy metal from the early 1980's. It was challenging to write the song because the bands from this part of the metal history don't have very distinct common musical traits. We finally decided on three main influences: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motörhead. Hence the title! They were all legendary British bands that made a huge impact on the metal evolution in the early 80's. Out of the three, the Iron Maiden influence is the most obvious in the song while the Priest and Motörhead references are thrown in for a good measure.
The actual recordings of the song went down very smoothly. As with the first single "1970", the basic recordings took place with engineer Dag Erik Johansen at the analog based Athletic Sound in Halden. We recorded basic tracks for several songs in the studio in November 2019. On "The Priest of Maidenhead" we brought in the great Bernt Jansen (Artch, Wig Wam, Jorn) on bass. He and Vidar Ingvaldsen recorded the bass and drums live after a few rounds of rehersal. The old fashioned way... Fast and easy. Kudos guys!
I late December I went in with Dag Erik to do the rhythm and lead guitars. We spent one whole day recording and researching to find the right guitar sounds for the song. We ended up using a Marshall JMP50 from the late 70's and at least three guitars; a Gibson Les Paul, a Gibson SG and a Fender Stratocaster. When my "fingers" were numb Dag Erik (as the versatile musician and producer he is) threw in some clever Fast Eddie Clark-fills.
Daniel Palmqvist, who played the Blackmore solo on "1970", cut a great third solo of the song in his home studio in Sweden. It's a very inspiring Murray/Smith influenced solo that ends the guitar duel with the right axe as the winner!
The vocals for the song were done by the amazing Mads Pedersen. This guy can sing a whole range of different genres like a pro but I suspect he is the unknown brother of a certain Mr. Dickinson. The tracking went down really fast and it was all skillfully engineered by Rudolf Fredly in his Sweetspot Studio in Vedavågen.
The song was mixed by Mr. Fredly in the same studio. He really dug into the history of the three bands of influence and made a quality retro mix that was just perfect for the song. Christian Obermayer from Strype Audio returned for mastering and once again managed to find those important last tweeks to make it sound right.
The extremely cool cover art was painted by the talented Bulgarian artist Dimitar Nikolov. He was given a very rough sketch (on the back of a napkin?) and made it into a true piece of art. His cover art really fits both the time period and lyrics of the song perfectly.
Checkt out the song and the cover art below. Irons up!