|Birth name||James Leslie Binks|
5 April 1948 |
Portadown, Northern Ireland
|Genres||Heavy metal, hard rock|
|Associated acts||Judas Priest, Lionheart, Tytan, Axis Point|
Former drummer for Eric Burdon, James Leslie Binks was a drummer on the 1974 Roger Glover album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, which featured such legendary names as David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, and Ronnie James Dio behind the microphone. The album started out as a soundtrack for an animated film based on a famous book in England. Glover used different singers for the different characters, but a promo for the film never gained any interest, so the project was scrapped. Glover went on to release the soundtrack as a 'Roger Glover and Friends' title. Vocalist Eddie Hardin co-wrote three of the album's songs with Roger Glover and then went on to release his own written and produced projects, the first of which was 1976's Eddie Hardin's Wizard's Convention, which again included Binks on drums with David Coverdale and Deep Purple's Jon Lord on piano. Both Butterfly Ball and Wizard's Convention have been placed together and re-released several times as a combo CD, and Japan's Teichiku label issued their own 1995 CD compilation titled Best of Rare Collection and sold it as a Deep Purple album. Through the Roger Glover connection, Judas Priest auditioned and hired Binks in time for their 1977 world tour - their first on American soil. He also played for the English band Fancy who had two US hits in 1974 with a cover of "Wild Thing", and "Touch Me".
Binks remained with Judas Priest for two years from March 1977 to July 1979, recording two studio albums and one live LP. Despite the impressive drumming he did on Stained Class and Killing Machine, Binks had difficulty replicating it in a live setting. Moreover, Judas Priest at this time were seeking a move towards a more groove-oriented sound with less of Binks's complicated jazz-inspired playing. When asked if he could change his style, he replied that that was impossible and so he parted ways with the band under amicable terms just prior to the start of the North American leg of the Killing Machine tour. Judas Priest hired Dave Holland from Trapeze and remained their drummer through most of the 1980s. Judas Priest would finish that decade by hiring another technical drummer Scott Travis, resulting in many songs from the Binks era resurfacing in their live sets. Binks has been co-credited for the song "Beyond the Realms of Death" on the Stained Class album. According to the band's memoirs he picked up one of the guitars, turned it around (since he was left-handed) and strummed the first chords of what then became the main guitar line of the song. Aptly the guitar sound of the track is very different from the output of Downing and Tipton, having a mellower "medieval ballad" kind of feel.
In 1979 Binks joined Charlie Whitney and Axis Point and remained active in the British hard rock/heavy metal underground. In 1981, he was a member of Lionheart which featured Dennis Stratton (ex-Iron Maiden) on guitar and Jess Cox (ex-Tygers Of Pan Tang) on vocals. It was only a brief stint, however, and yielded no albums, though they did open for Def Leppard on their 1981 British tour. Lately, Binks has been playing in a classic-rock cover band around South London called The Shakers with Dave Bunce, the Jeff Beck linked guitarist and ex-Alice Cooper guitarist Pete Friesen and vocalist/guitarist Tom Lundy of The Poormouth. Rounding out the band is bassist Phil Rynhart, founder member of the Poormouth. Binks and Pete Friesen have also done time in Metalworks along with ex-Iron Maiden guitarist Tony Parsons[disambiguation needed] (Tony was one of a series of guitarists that played briefly in Maiden in '79 before Dennis Stratton joined the band), playing Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and other legendary metal band covers around London. Binks also had a recent stint with an Irish country/folk/pop trio called the Faintin' Goats as well as past touring with Lionheart in 1981 and Tytan (1982–1983) soon after their first single release.