Noted metal producer and current JUDAS PRIEST touring guitarist Andy Sneap recently spoke with Christina Rowatt of The Void With Christina. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the "most majestic moment" he's experienced while touring with PRIEST:
Andy: "Just some of the size of the shows, really. The Poland Woodstock festival we did was huge. We lost count [of] how many people [were there]... It's great. I've really sort of just found my feet with it, really."
On his current status with the group:
Andy: "I'm just filling in, really. They asked me to help out, so it was a case of jumping in and doing what I could do. I'd had a year in the studio with them — I was doing ACCEPT and SAXON at the same time — so it's been good for me to step away from the studio, because mentally, I was getting a little bit burnt with that, if I'm honest. To be able to step back and still do something this size and musical has been great. Where it's going to go? I've got no idea. We haven't even discussed it. It's been, 'Andy, can you do this tour? Can you help us out here?' That's fine."
On Richie Faulkner:
Andy: "Richie's amazing. I think he's one of the best players out there at the minute. I listen to him play and go, 'Motherfucker. How do you remember that? How do you do that?'"
On producing Rob Halford:
Andy: "It was killer. He'll just keep going until he's dropping dead. We really put him through it on the record, me and Tom Allom, who co-produced the album with me... He just kept going and kept going. [He] doesn't even warm up."
Andy: "He's such a character. He's great. We hit it off straightaway. We always seemed to agree on everything, which was great. Even when we were picking vocal takes, I'd say 95 percent of the time, it was, 'That one, that one, that one.' When he preferred something, he'd be, like, 'I prefer the phrasing here.' I'd be like, 'All right, I'll give you that one if I can have [points] that one.' It worked out really well. Tom's really, really good with harmonies and stacking harmonies up. I didn't realize how much listening to the old albums Tom's influence was there with the backing vocals and the sound effects and things like that."
On JUDAS PRIEST's longevity:
Andy: "I think PRIEST have been clever, where they've sort of molded with the times. They haven't stuck with making the same album every time. You could say that they've jumped trends a little bit, but Rob's vocals, it keeps an identity to the band."
On his continued passion for metal:
Andy: "I'm just so into it. I'm so into the music and the recording and playing side of things. It's just what I've always done. It's probably why I've got to where I am now, because I love it. It's the only thing I can do, to be honest. I left school with no qualifications. I left when I was 15. I fucking hated it. I couldn't stand it... I remember we had the work experience guy around the school, and they said, 'What do you want to do, Andy?' I said, 'I want to be a heavy metal guitarist,' and they got me a week's worth of experience at a slaughterhouse up the road."
On late HELL guitarist David Halliday, who taught Sneap how to play guitar:
Andy: "I wish Dave was still here to see what I'm doing now. [Editor's note: Halliday committed suicide in 1987.] I started having lessons with Dave when I was 12 through to 17, and it was just such inspiration for me seeing him in a band doing what seemed like a big band at the time — which [it] wasn't. HELL were only sort of a local band that were happening, but they treated it at such a professional level. They put on a show that should be playing to 1,000, 1,500 people, and it was in the back of a pub playing to 250 people. Pyro, the lot. What we did with SABBAT was so influenced by that, because we were local and we all used to go and see these guys. We really took a lot of influence from what they were doing."
On AMON AMARTH, whose 2016 album "Jomsviking" he produced:
Andy: "I've got to understand something about it. With the AMON AMARTH guys, when they originally approached me, I was kind of like, 'This is a bit extreme at times,' but there's a melody within the music that I could get a hold of and a groove with it at times that I liked, so I thought, 'Yeah, I can do something with this.' It hasn't got to be something that appeals to me across the board, but if there's a connection with it... There's a lot of times I've seen a band, and it's over my head. I'll say to them, 'I'm not doing this. I'm not just going to take the money and run, because it's not fair [to] you, and I'm going to be hating life.'"
On the "hardest" record he worked on:
Andy: "Probably 'Dead Heart In A Dead World' by NEVERMORE. It was a lot of drinking on that record. We got the results in the end, but it was difficult. But it came out great. By the time we finished it, it was like, 'What have we got here?' It wasn't until the reviews started coming in that it was like, 'All right, we did fine.'"
You can watch the entire interview at The Void With Christina YouTube channel.
Over the years, Sneap has produced, mixed and/or engineered notable records by the likes of OPETH, ARCH ENEMY, MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, NAPALM DEATH and MACHINE HEAD. After co-producing JUDAS PRIEST's 2018 album "Firepower", he was asked to fill in for Glenn Tipton as a touring guitarist for the band. He is currently performing with PRIEST during the band's ongoing North American tour with URIAH HEEP.