Much like Spinal Tap, one has to wonder if the drummers for Judas Priest are prone to spontaneous combustion. While the guitarists have remained fairly consistent - bassist Ian Hill has been the only constant band member throughout the group's 41-year history - there have been some vocalist changes and a virtual rotating door of drummers.
Formed in 1970 by Hill, vocalist Al Atkins, guitarist K.K. Downing and drummer John Ellis in Birmingham, England, it was Atkins who suggested they use his old band's name: Judas Priest. Atkins and Priest parted ways three years later and Hill's girlfriend at the time suggested her brother Rob Halford as a possible singer. Halford joined the band and brought in drummer John Hinch. Guitarist Glenn Tipton joined soon after.
With the exception of ongoing drummer changes, the core lineup of Hill, Halford, Downing and Tipton remained intact until Halford's departure in 1992. Four years later, Judas Priest tribute-band singer Tim "Ripper" Owens became the new singer.
Owens was well received by fans and critics, but two studio LPs, two live albums, and 11 years later, demand for a Halford reunion proved too strong, and the popular Painkiller lineup reformed in 2003.
Drummer Scott Travis has been Judas Priest's official drummer since 1989, easily the longest-tenured drummer of the band.
Earlier this year founding member K.K. Downing retired, which left Hill the last original member. Downing was replaced by former Lauren Harris guitarist Richie Faulkner. Judas Priest are currently on the road for what is supposed to be the band's final tour, the Epitaph World Tour.