Les Binks

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Les Binks
Les Binks with his full drum kit in 2016
Background information
Birth nameJames Leslie Binks
Born (1951-04-05) 5 April 1951 (age 68)
Portadown, Northern Ireland
GenresHeavy metal, hard rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsDrums, guitar
Associated actsJudas Priest, Lionheart, Tytan, Axis Point, Fancy
WebsiteOfficial Les Binks website

James Leslie Binks (born 5 April 1951[citation needed] in Portadown, Northern Ireland), is an Irish heavy metal drummer, who is most notable for having been the drummer for Judas Priest from 1977 to 1979.


Previously working for Eric Burdon, Binks was a drummer on the 1974 Roger Glover album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast. The album project began as a soundtrack for an animated film based on a well-known English children's book, 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. One of the featured vocalists, Eddie Hardin, later released his own albums, the first of which was 1976's Eddie Hardin's Wizard's Convention, which again included Binks on drums.

Binks played for the band Fancy who had two U.S. hits in 1974 with a cover of "Wild Thing", and "Touch Me".[1]

Through the Roger Glover connection, Judas Priest auditioned and hired Binks in time for their 1977 world tour — their first on American soil. Binks remained with the band for three years, from March 1977 to July 1979,[2] recording two studio albums “Stained Class”, “Killing Machine” and one live in Japan LP “Unleashed in the East." Binks was co-credited for the song "Beyond the Realms of Death" on the album, Stained Class. According to the band's memoirs, Binks picked up one of the guitars, turned it around (since he was left-handed), and strummed the first chords of what became the main guitar line of the song. In a 2017 interview, Binks clarified that he had made a home demo of the track, with friend Steve Mann of the Michael Schenker Group playing the solo, and at the rehearsal picked up a guitar to show them the chords in the demo. Halford then created the song's title and lyrics.[3]

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, Binks replied that that was impossible, and they parted ways under amicable terms just prior to the start of the North American leg of the "Killing Machine" tour. Binks said in a 2017 interview that he left because he was hired as a "freelance session drummer" for Judas Priest, and then-manager Mike Dolan suggested that he should "waive his fees", i.e. not get paid for his performance, on the live "Unleashed in the East" album, a RIAA-certified platinum seller.[3]

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, though this was only a brief stint. Also in 1981, Binks played on the album Finardi by Italian rock singer Eugenio Finardi.

Binks toured with Lionheart (1981) and Tytan (1982–1983) soon after their first single release.

Since then, Binks has appeared in a classic rock cover band around South London called The Shakers, with Dave Bunce, guitarist Pete Friesen (formerly with Jeff Beck and with Alice Cooper), and vocalist/guitarist Tom Lundy (of The Poor Mouth). Rounding out the band was bassist Phil Rynhart, co-founder member of The Poor Mouth. Binks and Pete Friesen have also done time in Metalworks, along with ex-Iron Maiden guitarist Tony Parsons, playing covers of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and other legendary metal bands around London.

Binks also had a stint with an Irish country-folk-pop trio called The Faintin' Goats.

In 2013, he joined the band Raw Glory, which also featured singer Paul Manzi (of Arena).[4]

In 2015, Binks played live around London in Broken Bones[5] with ex-Bad II The Bone members Ed Hudson and Paul Smith,[6] and in original prog-folk-rock band Kindred Spirit[7] with whom he recorded the album Phoenix Rising .

During 2017 and 2018, he performed classic Judas Priest songs live with a new band called Les Binks' Priesthood.[8][9]


  1. ^ Thompson, Dave. "Biography: Fancy". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas; Prato, Greg. "Biography: Judas Priest". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b "{title}". Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  4. ^ Goldby, Steve. "Former Judas Priest Drummer Les Binks Joins Raw Glory". metaltalk.net. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Les Binks - Ad Pontes Staines". staines.me. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Broken Bones, Hither Green, London". Lemonrock Gig Guide. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Kindred Spirit Band". www.kindredspiritband.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 April 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  8. ^ Marina Dorey (3 March 2018). "Les Binks Priesthood-Beyond the Realms of Death @ Cavern Raynes Park 2 March 2018" – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "Les Binks Priesthood". www.tropicatruislip.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.

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