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Judas Priest’s Scott Travis talks about writing the “Painkiller” drum intro

Scott Travis
Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro

Classic Rock

Judas Priest’s Scott Travis talks about writing the “Painkiller” drum intro

The American drummer Scott Travis joined the legendary British Metal band Judas Priest in 1989 and helped to write one of their most famous and praised songs: “Painkiller”. Released on the album of the same name in 1990, the track is one of the heaviest ones written by them and has an incredible drum intro.


The musician recalled in an interview with Drumtalk (Transcribed by Blabbermouth), about coming up with that drum pattern.

Judas Priest’s Scott Travis talks about writing the “Painkiller” drum intro

“Me personally, I always loved the drum intro of certain songs. We all know ‘Rock And Roll’ by Led Zeppelin and ‘Walk This Way’ by Aerosmith, and, of course, ‘Hot For Teacher’, which is Van Halen. So, anyways, I grew up like that, always understanding that, ‘Man, if ever I could come up with a signature drum intro — no guitars; just drums — and make it really impactful.’ And sometimes I get emotional, now that I’ve been playing for so long, that I was able to come up with something.”

“(I recently saw a video featuring) ‘Top 15 drum intros’. And, of course, it’s subjective. I don’t know who made the list; I think it was some rock magazine. So, naturally, I watch it, and it had ‘Where Eagles Dare’ (Iron Maiden), it had ‘Rock And Roll’, and number two was ‘Painkiller’. And I was, like, ‘Oh my God. Thank you so much.'”

Scott continued:

“And number one, which I’m happy to take a backseat, was ‘Hot For Teacher’ — Sir Alex Van Halen. If I’m second place to old Alex, then, man, that’s fantastic. Again, that’s one opinion and one little something someone made up. But nonetheless, I didn’t make it, so I’m happy that people appreciate ‘Painkiller’ and it has become a signature Judas Priest song, which I never in a million years would have imagined that,” Scott Travis said.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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