JUDAS PRIEST's ROB HALFORD On Guttural Vocals In Metal: 'I Like To Hear A Singer Sing'
October 18, 2011
Graham Hartmann of Loudwire recently conducted an interview with vocalist Rob Halford and bassist Ian Hill of British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Loudwire: In your early work, you can hear a heavy BLACK SABBATH influence. As your sound developed throughout the '70s, do you feel that you had any influence on BLACK SABBATH as they also began to play faster especially during the Dio years?
Halford: I don't think so. The fact that we're both from the same place is probably in some people's minds a crossover or influence. It's just the fact that we're both heavy metal bands is the foundation that connects us. It's the riffs, isn't it? The other elements are totally separate. I think SABBATH have as much of a unique sound and style as PRIEST does. If you put a SABBATH album on, you go, "That's SABBATH." If you put PRIEST album on, "That's definitely PRIEST." So there is a distinction of difference; it's just that we both live in the same metal world.
Hill: Of course, way back then when everything was very experimental anyway, back in the late '60s and early '70s, metal didn't even exist it was called other things like progressive rock or progressive blues or heavy rock. Everything was in a nucleus and everything was sort of similar, but then everything starts to branch out and people get identities and direction. Everybody finds their own niche if you're talented and you're good enough.
Loudwire: Rob, it has been mentioned that you're one of the most talented vocalists in music. What other singers do you find to be talented?
Halford: Obviously people I know as friends like Robert Plant, David Coverdale and Roger Daltrey. People from my own world growing up in the music business like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. More recently, Corey [Taylor] from SLIPKNOT has a great voice when he's not doing the [Halford imitates guttural vocals] thing. The singer from STAIND [Aaron Lewis], Phil [Anselmo] when he sang on [PANTERA's] "Cowboys From Hell" great voice. Vocals change, don't they? The guys from LINKIN PARK. It's funny because you hear a lot of good singers now but you've usually got two singers or one singer doing the two things. They sing in a very sweet melodic voice and then they go into what we call the "dog vocals" and that's not derogatory. They sing very melodically and then they go [Halford imitates guttural vocals]. It's a very unusual style of music that's happening now and a lot of bands are doing it because that's the flavor, that's the fashion. I like to hear a singer sing. I like to hear what they're singing about and the melody of the notes, because that's when your distinctive style and character comes out.
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