Archive 2014 Special to LA.COM: Interview with JUDAS PRIEST’s Rob Halford

by Paty Elias 09/12/2014

Los Angeles metal fans should know that Judas Priest is coming to rock the Nokia Theatre on Nov. 10, where the band will playing its hits as well as rolling out a new 3-CD set, “Redeemer of Souls.”

The band has been knocking around for more than 40 years, releasing their “Rocka Rolla” debut album in 1974. That record launched Judas Priest as one of the heaviest heavy metal bands to date, right alongside the equally great Black Sabbath – both from the same British town, Birmingham in the West Midlands.

Judas Priest is known for twin lead guitars, a wide operatic vocal style, and for introducing the S&M leather-and-studs look into heavy metal. The band has made huge contributions to metal in the form of musical style, dress and attitude. They influenced many great bands that came up after them, such as Accept, Metallica and Pantera.

LA.COM had the pleasure of interviewing Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, who was both charming and eloquent as he gracefully chatted about the band, its Reedemer Tour and the metal music we all love.

Special to LA.COM Interview with Rob Halford of Judas Priest.

LA.COM: First of all, happy belated birthday!

Halford: Thank you, Thank you, for remembering.

LA.COM: How would you compare this new material with past glories like “Stained Glass” (1978) or “Screaming for Vengeance” (1982)?

Halford: “Well what I think we are trying to do now is represent Priest as we see Priest in 2014, or even New Metal in many dimensions. However, I think the heart of it in the souls is capturing a lot of the texture, the life and the heritage of Priest that we have been a part of for four decades now.

It’s new but it’s got that kind of vintage flavor to it that … kind of makes sense. The response from our fans worldwide, particularly in America, has been incredibly enthusiastic and really inspiring, so yeah that’s the difference (laughs). I think it’s instantly recognizable, “Yeah this is Priest. This is how I want to hear this band,” if this is how you want put it.

LA.COM -How do you feel going on tour without guitarist K.K Downing? (K.K. downing retired from band and Ritchie Faulkner replaced him on guitar).

Rob Halford: We introduced (Ritchie Faulkner) to all of our fans around the world on the Epitaph tour which was a few years ago. That was perfect time then because obviously it was an unusual time for the band, a little bit of a turbulent time for the band. And I think that having Richie with us on the Epitaph tour was just great in the respect that we where able to take Richie with us around the world almost twice, almost two years, and to introduce him to all of our metal heads. So the transition was mileage (sic) For Richie to go from that live experience into the writing world … with Glenn and Myself and start working on Redeemer of Souls. And obviously you know, I would imagine it felt as if different from when I was away from the band and Tim was holding the marks, in fact we have always said Priest is more than one person. Priest is this band combined with all of the talents. When KK we tried and we wished him well and blessings where exchanged of that nature , time to look forward and look ahead. And Ritchie was kind of ready to go when we found him ,that’s going back like three years ago. Its been a kind of easy ride going from one place to another.

LA.COM: I interviewed Wendy Dio, she said you went out of your way to help with the “Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life” recording with your contribution, “Man on the Silver Mountain,” featuring Doug Aldrich, Vinny Appice, Jeff Pilson and Scott Warren.

Rob Halford: I was actually thrilled to be invited to work on that project. I’ve known Wendy and Ronnie for a very, very long time – they are dear friends. So when they asked me, it was a no-brainer. (It’s) for this incredible cause (the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund).

LA.COM: Do you think metal will make a comeback, or has it reached a point of reverence like rock ‘n’ roll?

Rob Halford:: I think we have a long way to go before it matures, as they say in the business. I’m intrigued probably with more of the new talent that’s breaking through, and from where I’m looking at it 40 years later, it’s inspiring, and I just see it showing itself with more strength than ever before.

There is always going to be another heavy metal band to carry on the movement, I think the metal community couldn’t be any stronger. Particularly I’m starting to see the young musicians that are in bands or fans that are turning on to metal for the first time. That’s a big reward. Its not dwindling in that dimension at all. There’s still a very solid interest for heavy metal.

LA.COM: I read that this would be your last tour, but I don’t believe that.

Rob Halford: That was the feeling that the band had emotionally. We were at a different place at that point. When K.K. retired and Ritchie (Faulkner) came on board, everything kind of flipped over. We were regenerated. I think that’s important. We brought in a new team player that adds an extra spark to the team, and then we can go in a different direction. And I think that’s what Ritchie brought to us.

It was deemed the Farewell tour but doesn’t mean the Goodbye tour.

LA.COM: What’s your best memory?

Rob Halford(sic) I remember the first time we ever played in Los Angeles (at the Whisky). It was at the near the Sunset Marquee. (sic)We went to Barney’s Beanery after the show. I was drunk off my ass – they had to walk me up the stairs.

Buy tickets

Judas Priest | Nokia Theatre

Nov. 10 – 8:00 PM / Door Time: 7:00 PM