Glenn Tipton Official WebsiteLast Updated 20 April 2014
Edge Of The World - Tipton, Entwistle And Powell
Tipton, Entwistle And Powell
Back around 1994 Rob had left the band and there was no active Judas Priest. I initially had taken a break from our last show in 1991, which, was much needed, and when my brain cleared I began to write again with no one actually in mind who I might work with. I put some ideas down and kicked stuff around until I had some songs and a pattern began to emerge.
I next needed to decide who I could approach to play on the album and the first person I approached was Cozy Powell. As far as I was concerned my favorite two drummers in the world were Cozy and John Bonham. I invited Cozy up to my house and played him the material and he immediately said he'd like to play together. Cozy was an amazing drummer who had played with almost everyone of note and as I worked with him he became a very good friend. He was always cheerful and enthusiastic and the most energetic and powerful performer. If you asked something of him he delivered. He had a stunning array of techniques and fills galore but they all had Cozy's hallmark stamped on them. He was a master of the double kick and thundered through the fiercest tracks but was capable of the most subtle or delicate sections. Cozy really was a joy to work with and to have around the studio.
We next needed a bass player and spent a considerable amount of time talking through different options and players. Our plan at the time was to form a band and go out and play live and we needed someone who would fit in with the combined styles of Cozy and myself. Eventually John Entwistle's name came up. John, as everyone knows played bass for "The Who" and as soon as he was mentioned we realized he could fit in perfectly. I approached him through our mutual manager Bill Curbishley and sent a couple of tracks down to see if he was interested. After a couple of days John called me and agreed to work together.
I was excited now that I'd be working with John and Cozy and although I was singing on the demos, we intended to pull a singer in later on in the recording as we still weren't sure of the final direction and how things would turn out.
It was Cozy who convinced me that even though my vocal ability was (and I'll be the first to admit it) limited. That for some strange reason it seemed to work on these tracks and so we decided to stay with the three piece line up for now although I got Don Airey to play on a couple of songs in the studio. Don is an incredible keyboard player and I’ve worked with him many times over the years.
Armed with these tracks I spent the next few weeks (with Bill my manager) shopping them around in London and the States but no matter how good or bad the songs are, record companies look at how viable and marketable a project is. It wasn't commercial enough for most of the companies, but Atlantic finally took an interest in it. To my surprise and dismay however although they liked the songs but felt that the line up was too "old school" and in the current market would be difficult to sell. They suggested that I write some more material and record with some young guns from around the world and they would reserve the right to then go with it or not. Initially I was pretty devastated, as I totally believed in the band and the songs. I had, however, no choice and no other options but to pursue this route and in all honesty a very good album (Baptizm of Fire) did emerge from their suggestion. I broke the news to Cozy and John but as it happened they were ok with it. Cozy had been approached by Black Sabbath to rejoin and there was talk of "The Who" going on tour so that sort of worked out for everyone.
This first batch of songs sat on the shelf for a decade but I always had faith in them and eventually 10 years on Rhino records heard them and released them as Tipton, Entwistle, and Powell - Edge of the World.
Although the plan to go out with John and Cozy had been temporarily shelved we still intended to go out even if just for fun and play together. We all got caught up in other projects however and then along came "Ripper" and so the Priest beast began to stir again and spanned a number of years before Rob finally returned.
Finally and tragically, as most know, Cozy and John passed on. I can’t begin to describe the shock I felt when I heard of Cozy's death in a car accident. Not only do I miss him as a friend but also the world misses an incredible and unique musician. Cozy was larger than life. He was a true legend and a man who had the respect of everyone he worked with. He helped so many people get their act back together and asked nothing in return. John died of a heart attack. He also was an icon and the last of a kind. He lived life to the full. He was a great musician with great identity and was liked and admired by everyone who knew him. It was a privilege for me to have worked with both John and Cozy and outside of Priest it will always be one of the highlights of my career.
The Making Of Edge Of The World
We recorded the first sessions at Mono Valley in Monmouth UK. I managed to get John out of his Mansion in the Cotswolds and he turned up with six or seven bass guitars, two or three bass rigs, two video systems and a crate of Brandy. I had been kicking the material around with Cozy and already knew how great a drummer he was but although I knew of John's capabilities from playing in "The Who" I still wasn't ready for just how good he was. Not only could John play almost any technique of bass guitar but he was totally up to date with his knowledge of equipment.
I remember the first track we rehearsed. It was called "Give Blood" and as soon as John began playing on it, I looked across at Cozy and we both had a big grin on our face. It could have been no other bass player in the world, his sound and style were unique.
Recording Cozy and John was great. They were both professionals. Cozy had his sound down which didn't take much tweaking, if any. John also knew what he was doing. By himself his sound was twangy and almost distorted, but once in the track it had the bottom end needed but also let the character cut through and blended in perfectly.
We had a really enjoyable time putting tracks down. Mono valley is right on the river and I used to get up earlier than everybody and do some fishing. I worked closely with Sean Lynch on this project and Sean later worked on Priest albums and became a good friend. John had a very dry sense of humour. He was also partially deaf so we had to give him visuals if he was dropping in to repair anything. As soon as he had a couple of brandys however he seemed to hear a lot better for some reason and I always wondered if he was having everybody on!
Cozy always seemed to know what a track needed but some times fell back on his tried and tested fills and because he could literally play anything I used to badger him and lean on him to try some different things. This would cause him to go sullen and silent at his kit for a while but then he'd always come up with something special. He'd walk up grinning the next day and say "you know what chap (in his west country accent) I didn't think you were right about that section last night but this morning it sounds great". This was cozy's way of paying a compliment and coming from someone as talented as he was I felt quietly proud that I'd actually been able to get that bit more out of him.
During the recording of one track called Himalaya I needed some big choral backing vocals, so being in Wales renowned for its singers we went down the local pub in an attempt to recruit a choir. We found some old boys who said they were a choir and would be glad to help. Next day they showed up and we set them up in the studio and played the part for them a few times so they would get to know it. Tom Allum who had produced some great Priest albums happened to be there at the time and so I asked him to help out. One of the old boys seemed to have elected himself as their leader so between him, Tom and myself we worked out some harmonies and went for it. I don't think I've ever heard such an awful sound. It sounded like a brawl outside a lunatic asylum. Although a bit shaken, Tom who'd downed a couple of bottles of Australian wine pressed the talkback button in the control room and said "hey chaps that was a little bit too LA" !!! Even I had no idea what he meant. As for the Welshmen (who didn't realize that we could hear them) the kindest word in their response to Tom began with c and ended in t. From that point onwards the session deteriorated and got quite ugly. It all ended up ok though I gave them a tenner each and a crate of brown ale and we all went off down the pub.
John had a studio at his home and invited us there to do some other tracks. He lived in a huge mansion and really was the archetypal eccentric rock star (in the nicest possible way) he had two dogs as big as small horses and a parrot that used to squawk so loud they often locked him in the pantry (there would then follow continued, muffled apologies from the parrot until he was let out). I remember John invited us for dinner one night and we sat in this immense dining room full of suits of amour and weapons and shields. We were expecting a five-course dinner and John showed up with fish and chips in newspaper and a bottle of ketchup.
He had an incredible bar with carved oak panels and a cloister window but there were stuffed fish everywhere in it including a shark tree made from baby sharks! Every room was like an Aladdin's cave with model train sets or guitar collections. As I mentioned John was a little deaf and his room was at the top of a grand staircase. I used to pass it on the way to my room and there was always noise blaring out 24 hours a day. I thought he had a separate apartment in there as the house was so big but when he showed me round one day it was only his bedroom and he had a mountain of hi-fi and video equipment at the foot of the bed which was always on. We did some good tracks there though and I worked together writing a song with John which ended up on the "Edge of the World" album.
Cozy and John were two very different characters. Cozy liked his motor bikes and would turn up at the studio on some Italian superbike or Harley while in contrast John (who had a collection of eccentric cars) couldn't even drive and enjoyed being chauffeured everywhere. Cozy liked his white wine while John was very much a Brandy man, but both could consume a good quantity of each and I always made sure we had ample supplies in stock
We all enjoyed Indian food and used to frequent a local Indian restaurant in Monmouth where we usually finished off with some Flaming Sambucas. One night we got carried away and set the table on fire. It was pretty bad and the restaurant cleared in a flash. The Indians went into frenzy and all the kitchen staff stampeded into the street. John, however, calmly picked up his desert and took it to a corner table where he finished it off, oblivious to the smoke and chaos around him.
One night whilst staying at Johns about 3 o’clock in the morning, I couldn’t sleep, and decided to drive home as there were a couple of things I needed to attend to. On trying to leave the mansion I couldn't get out as all the ground floor doors were locked so I climbed out of a first floor toilet window and down a drainpipe. As I reached the bottom John who'd been watching with mild interest calmly walked passed with his wolfhounds and wished me good morning. He never asked for an explanation and I wondered if he often walked his dogs in the small hours.
Cozy always seemed to get out of one scrape into another. Even if we weren't doing drums he seemed to never want to go home and used to stay at the studio watching football or Sport on the TV (he was a big Swindon fan) I found it strange at first but then realized he'd always got some complication or problem with either an ex or current girlfriend staying at his cottage. Either that or he was trying to avoid the taxman or bailiffs. Cozy was so talented he could always earn money but couldn’t seem to manage it very well and always had some personal upheaval going on. You had to love him for it cause it very rarely phased him and he 'd always meet you with a rascally grin as if he hadn't a care in the world and I really don't think he had (except Swindon's position in the league!)