Aaron Willschick of PureGrainAudio.com recently conducted an interview wwith JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
PureGrainAudio.com: The last several months have certainly been busy for you from a music and business perspective as back in November, you formed your own label, music and film production company called Metal God Entertainment. Why did you decide just recently after all these years to take such an active control over your music and your catalogue by forming your own label?
Rob: Oh it's brilliant; it's a joy to actually be able to control your own music. When the Sanctuary organization was going through different changes some time ago, they afforded me the opportunity to get my music back, so yeah, that was absolutely brilliant, I just ran to that idea. It was really that possibility that opened up all these other endeavors, um, you know, so I was able to do that with all the HALFORD material. I've had a great relationship signed to BMG, who are able to let me do what I want with the FIGHT material, so that really was the kind of impetus to spur me on and that's when we thought of Metal God Entertainment and then that became a broad-based idea with a possibility of bringing in new talent and doing radio and video and everything else for the future. So it's never too late, you know. This is not me pontificating, but I think that's what life's all about, it's about taking chances and taking risks, and if they don't work, at least you can say, well, you had a go. Have a go, I say!! [laughs] Otherwise your life is behind you and you'll say, "Oh, fuck, you know, I could have done this, I could have done that, why didn't I do this, why didn't I do that?" you know. You've just gotta really run out there and be assertive and grab life by the balls and, you know, see what you can do with that.
PureGrainAudio.com: Although your career is still going very strong with no end in sight, you've been at the top of the heavy metal world now for decades and you're responsible for influencing a generation of metal bands. How does it feel to be doing this after so long and do you still feel the passion for music that you did say ten, twenty years ago?
Rob: Yeah still the same Aaron, it's not changed a speck, it hasn't changed a lick. I mean, you know, nothing's changed at all, in fact there's probably more determination now because when you get to this wonderful place, it brings responsibilities and there's nothing wrong with having responsibilities. You just keep pushing yourself which is what I'm doing back in PRIEST at the moment with "Nostradamus". Just when you think PRIEST has done everything, we throw this at everybody, our first-ever concept album. It's a metal opera based on the life of this real man from France five hundred years ago. So you're looking for things like that (new ideas) I mean, you can't just go, "Oh, we're going to write some new songs and a new studio album." That type of thinking has never really been a part of what I'm about or especially what we're about in PRIEST. We're genuinely excited about what we're making, you know. To make something from nothing with music is just a wonderful challenge and that's definitely the vibe we're getting with "Nostradamus" right now, so no, nothing's changed, I've probably gotten more intense.
PureGrainAudio.com: Your answer there actually leads into my next question, Rob. Aside from your solo work, you're still very much a part of JUDAS PRIEST, your legendary metal band and you will soon be joining the band for a tour to coincide with the release of a brand new concept album about the legendary 16th century prophet Nostradamus. How did this whole concept for a record come about and where are you in the recording stage?
Rob: Well, in the recording stage, we're still tracking. We've got a bulk of the work done. It sounds absolutely fucking amazing and that's not me inflating it, it is genuinely spectacular. So we're still carrying on with that and it should be out sometime in 2008. The idea (for the record) came from our manager Bill Curbishley, because we were ready to go in and do another studio record, but Bill came to see us towards the end of the "Angel of Retribution" tour, he came to Russia, we were playing Russia and we had lunch with him and he said, "Look, I have this idea." Bill manages THE WHO, you know, Pete and Roger, and Bill was behind the enormous success of "Tommy" and he said, "I just think that you know, maybe you should think about this possibility of doing a concept album and I've been thinking about this guy Nostradamus." And as soon as he brought the name up, I'm like, I'm there, let's go, you don't have to say anything else. I knew something of him already like everybody does about the books that you read about him, or on the Internet or on TV, documentaries and I thought wow, this is absolutely brilliant so that's where it all came about from.
PureGrainAudio.com: Speaking of the album, it's been rumored that it will be a double album with a run time of roughly ninety minutes which would be JUDAS PRIEST's first-ever double disc. First of all, can you confirm this rumor and if so, why did you decide to do a double disc release?
Rob: It is a rumor still. I mean, there is an enormous amount of material and you can only put so much on a single CD so you know, we're trying to tell the story of his life and we're trying to cover every significant moment of his life and I think you know, when we got it all recorded, that's when you're faced with the reality of how much time you got and how much a CD will afford you and the timing of it all. So we just ask everyone to bear with us and as we actually get into the mixing mode, we'll be able to be more definitive and tell everybody exactly what we've got, but we just want to make sure we tell his life story so we'll do whatever it takes to do that.
Read the entire interview at PureGrainAudio.com.