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Rob Halford Talks Touring and Upcoming Judas Priest Album

Rob Halford
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Judas Priest singer Rob Halford was a guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. The “Metal God” talked about the band’s current tour, their compilation disc ‘The Chosen Few’ and their upcoming studio album, among other topics. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out the full interview here:

On the show with us, the “Metal God” Rob Halford, how are you sir?

Metal Jackie, the Metal God is doing great, good to be with you guys again.

There’s a big Judas Priest tour happening and this really cool collection of Judas Priest tunes; now I have to tell you I was lucky enough to be out at Wacken this year and I saw the Priest show that Friday night and it was unbelievable so I’m more excited to see you guys again here in the States.

It’s a really special tour this one because, as everyone might know now through the social networking channels and your show Jackie, we’re trying to do a little bit of everything from our albums that have been released over the past, almost four decades. So, when you come to see this tour it’s a little bit like Judas Priest 101 because we’re taking you from ‘Rocka Rolla’ all the way through to ‘Nostradamus’ and we’re picking up all the significant tracks that we feel have valuable importance so in the two and a half hours or so that we’re coming out onstage you really are getting to kind of listen to and look at the life of Judas Priest on this Epitaph Tour.

There’s obviously a new member in the band and what has surprised you most so far about the way people have reacted to Richie Faulkner?

Well everybody’s embraced him and we want to say thank you to everyone, all the Priest fans around the world that have taken Richie so strongly. You know, firstly he’s a Priest metal maniac and he couldn’t believe the day he was brought up to the midlands to meet the band. [Laughs] He thought it was a bit of a joke actually, he kept putting the phone down when people were saying, “Hey Rob and Glenn want to see you” — yeah right, whatever — but he finally understood that this was the real deal and we’ve been looking high and low for a guitar player to stand in that part of the stage and Richie’s this fantastic talent. He’s an awesome player and has so much charisma and personality onstage. You know he’s fearless, he’s absolutely fearless when he walks out there and everybody’s loving him to death so all things are going great for Richie and for Priest.

We’re talking about the Epitaph Tour, which has brought back songs which haven’t been part of the live set in a long time if ever. When discussing what to play what did you really want to do that didn’t make the cut?

Well as always we all pitch in our wish list and it’s really difficult because you’ve got hundreds and hundreds of songs. Obviously there are tracks that we genuinely look forward to playing over and over again. Be it ‘Breaking the Law’ or ‘Painkiller’ but to actually bring out a song like ‘Never Satisfied’ with that great big storming riff all the way from Birmingham, the home of heavy metal, it feels great night after night. And a big epic track like ‘Blood Red Skies’ really works wonders — it just shows you’re the breath of metal music that we’ve tried to make over the years. So it’s a very interesting and entertaining setlist.

’The Chosen Few’ compilation is a cool way of putting together a greatest hits, having other musicians choose the tracks; was that the band’s idea or something the label came up with?

Yeah we’re always talking about things, we have a wonderful family at Sony, we’ve been with forever, they really look after our music and getting it to all of the Priest fans around the world so this is like a new idea. You know, you think what does Ozzy [Osbourne] listen to when he’s his jet flyin’ around or what does Slash check out or Steve Vai — all of these people are friends of the band. They’re good friends, they’re peers, they’re legends in rock ‘n’ roll and metal so we just sent everybody the list and here it comes back that Joe [Elliott] from Def Leppard picks ‘Diamonds and Rust’ and Steve picks ‘Dissident Aggressor’ and Lars picks ‘Beyond the Realms of Death’ and on and on it’s just a very unusual and different and very exciting way of listening to Priest through the heads of the metal rock legends that are out there and are good friends of ours.

Such a cool idea, really cool approach.

Yeah it is and you know this is kind of another collection to add to your Priest treasures and to prepare yourselves for the next big moment from Priest, which is the brand new collection of Priest music that we’re trying to get out in 2012, next year.

Talking about new music for Priest, 12 to 14 new songs have been written for the next Priest album; four are already recorded. The last record ‘Nostradamus’ was a bit of a departure, how has that album affected the direction of the new one?

Well, we look at every piece of studio recording as a separate entity; we don’t really look at our past recordings. We just go into the studio with a very fresh, open mind and we really just do play the riffs and the ideas come from the heart so to speak, whereas ‘Nostradamus’ was almost laid out for us because we could actually channel the music through this man’s life.

This new record is just a case of let’s sit down, break out the amps and the guitars and jam and see what metal comes out and so these are the new songs from Judas Priest, brand new tracks that really cover, I suppose the essence of what Judas Priest is about. That’s to say we have the screaming metal tracks that you love like ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ and then the vibe a bit of ‘Stained Class,’ a bit of ‘British Steel’ it’s just that metal that we keep inside us, it’s like metal blood in the veins almost. We just let the metal speak for itself with these new songs and it’s going to be a great record, it really is, it’s a classic British heavy metal album from the band that you love Judas Priest.

Can’t wait to hear new music and I can’t wait to see you guys again, once again, the last show I got to see was over the summer. It was basically a two hour Judas Priest performance in front of like 80,000 German metal fans, it was pretty awesome. How was that for you guys; I’m sure you’ve played Wacken before.

Actually no, Jackie, that was the very very first time we played Wacken and it was a thrill because it is a massive event as you saw for yourself. It’s probably one of the premiere metal festivals in the European summer circuits. There’s a ton of metal as you probably saw when you were over there, not only at Wacken but a bunch of other great festivals all over Europe so it’s a real treat if you’re a metal head in Europe in this point of metal history Wacken is a sensational event. It’s like anything you know when Priest walks out there if it’s 20,000 people, 200,000 people, 2,000 people we will give you a thousand percent. We love our fans to death and if you bought a ticket and you come see this band you’ll get absolutely everything we can pour out live from the stage. Obviously, when it’s a festival like Wacken and you’re amongst all this extraordinary talent it does have a big buzz going on around about it, so it was fun to do.

Rob, I really appreciate you being on the show once again, always an honor to have you on the show so I’ll see you again next time in Vegas; I’m gonna be out at the Hard Rock at the Vegas show.

Wonderful, look forward to seeing you, we’ll go and play some slots together. [Laughs]

 

This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie talks to Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.

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