When heavy metal gods Judas Priest roll into Cleveland's Time Warner Cable Amphitheatre tonight, the concert will mark the crowning moment in what has been an incredibly strange year for superfan Jim Bartek. Since June 17th, 2008, the day Priest released their 16th album Nostradamus, the 49-year-old Bartek has listened to the one-hour-and-forty-two-minutes-long double album an astounding 391 days in a row, Cleveland's Plain Dealer reports.
While Bartek isn't out to set records, the feat has helped Bartek receive lots of cred from both the Judas Priest fans and the band themselves, who hoped to meet Bartek at tonight's concert in Cleveland. Unfortunately for Bartek, Judas Priest is performing their entire British Steel, and not Nostradamus, on tour this time out. (For more on Rob Halford's reaction to British Steel's continued success, check out his exclusive Q&A with Rolling Stone.)
Bartek's achievement has earned him the nickname "Nostradamus" among coworkers and friends. Bartek has even started dressing like the infamous 16th century French prophet. Unlike the real Nostradamus — who's been credited with predicting everything from Napoleon's reign to Nazi Germany to 9/11 — the only thing Bartek can accurately prognosticate is that every tomorrow will feature him hearing Nostradamus. By the numbers, Bartek has listened to Nostradamus for 39,882 minutes, or 664 hours, or 27 entire days. "That's what's so great about Nostradamus; you can listen over and over again and always hear something new," Bartek told the Plain Dealer.
While Bartek isn't looking for fame or records — only his dog can vouch that he's actually logged 391 consecutive days — his hard work paid off when he anonymously received a third-row seat to tonight's show in Cleveland. "I thought a friend sent it, but they're all denying it," Bartek said. "Maybe it was Rob Halford. I hear he wants to talk with me." In fact, Judas Priest's manager said in a statement, "Thanks for being such a supportive fan. It's much appreciated — glad you love the album so much!"
Only once, when a fishing trip with friends ran too long, was Bartek's streak threatened. However, Bartek made it home in time to finish up his daily dose of Nostradamus just before midnight. To avoid future, unforeseeable problems, Bartek now carries around an iPod armed with the double LP.
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