Former Judas Priest drummer John Hinch dead at 73

John Hinch
(Image credit: RobHalfordLegacy / Instagram)

Former Judas Priest drummer John Hinch has died, at the age of 73.

The drummer, who played alongside Rob Halford in Hiroshima, before the pair joined Priest in 1973, passed away on April 29, after being taken ill the previous day.

Priest frontman Halford confirmed the drummer’s death on his Instagram Stories, sharing a photo of the drummer alongside the caption ‘RIP’.  

Hinch played on Judas Priest’s debut album Rocka Rolla, but left before the recording of Sad Wings Of Destiny, to pursue a career in management, working with Uli Jon Roth of the Scorpions.

“His style was strong, direct and unique,” long-time friend Halford told Loudwire. “I’ll be blasting Rocka Rolla today!”

John Hinch

(Image credit: RobHalfordLegacy Instagram)

Born in Lichfield on June 19, 1947, Hinch played drums for various local acts, including The Pinch, The Generation and The Bakerloo Blues Line, before joining Hiroshima, who toured the Midlands club circuit in ‘72/’73. In May 1973, when Ian Hill and KK Downing saw the band, they snapped Hinch and Halford up to join Judas Priest after original vocalist Alan Atkins left to pursue other musical projects: Downing’s twin guitar partner Glenn Tipton joined the quartet in 1974.

Hinch was married to Jane Dayus from 1987 to 2010, and the couple had a son, Fraser, who is a television and film director.

As reported in the Express & Star newspaper, former Priest guitarist KK Downing has paid tribute to Hinch saying: "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 Johns family and loved ones from myself and all of you forever.”