Say what you will about the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (or WAMI, if you’re nasty), but give credit where credit is due. The past few years have seen an uptick in the number of great local artists being nominated for the group’s annual awards (Field Report, GGOOLLDD, Canopies, Space Raft, and “The Whips” are all up for top prizes this year), and it continually recognizes bands, venues, and other institutions off the beaten path. Sure, there are still plenty of glaring omissions and sketchy inclusions, but how else will a singer in a Warrant tribute band or a bar in Fond du Lac ever win an award?
So hats off to WAMI for trying new things and sticking to what it knows best—though it’s latest move is a (delightful) head-scratcher. Today, the organization announced the creation of a “Global Honorary” Hall of Fame category, which will honor a deserving band hailing from outside state lines. And the first “Global Honorary” inductee? None other than British heavy metal band Judas Priest. Think we’re kidding? You’ve got another thing comin’. WAMI President Zoy Begos explains in a press release:
“Wisconsin has frequently been included on Judas Priest’s seemingly relentless performance itinerary; fans recall the iconic concerts at Alpine Valley in the 1980s, as well as their historic 30th Anniversary British Steel performance at Milwaukee’s Summerfest on the Harley-Davidson Stage in 2009. 2015 is no different, as followers of the band look forward to at least two Wisconsin Judas Priest shows, July 16th (Rock USA Oshkosh) and July 18th (Rock-Fest, Cadott).
“WAMI is proud to have Judas Priest as our first ever Global Honorary inductee into the WAMI Hall of Fame. When I contacted the band several months ago, their reaction was enthusiastic.”
Does Judas Priest kick all kinds of ass? You bet. (Who could forget those Alpine Valley shows, man?!) Does Judas Priest receiving an award from a Wisconsin music organization make any sense? Not really. Anyway, Priest will be recognized at the 35th Annual WAMI Awards Show, scheduled for Sunday, April 19 at Turner Hall. The band won’t be there, but hopefully Turner Hall’s parking lot will look like this: