JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford recently offered the Chicago Tribune his take on some of the issues that have kept the band apart and finally brought them back together:
On Tim "Ripper" Owens:
Rob Halford: "We have a lot of respect for each other. Tim was very professional, and very supportive about the whole situation. I thought it was vital that the band continue while I was away, to keep the music out there."
On the need for a therapist, a la METALLICA in the documentary "Some Kind of Monster":
Rob Halford: "Not a bad idea. When PRIEST is on stage, it's a whole being, but when we're off it, it's five separate, five very independent people, and so you look for whatever means possible to keep it together and make it work. Communication is vital. If you don't communicate, you create these massive 10- or 12-year gaps, which is what happened with PRIEST. There was an enormous amount of silence between us all. And I think that maybe had we talked a little sooner, things might have been different."
On the state of metal since he quit PRIEST:
Rob Halford: "A lot of newer metal bands tend to jump into each other's territory, and things become blurred. So you have to strive to be different, and they go to extremes. PRIEST stands out from that because we've got songs that have stood the test of time. If you can whistle the song in a shower, you're in great shape. We came out of a generation in England that was absolutely immersed in melody. Occasionally you get remarkable things that come along like LINKIN PARK. When I first heard them, I thought, `Oh, God, finally someone is putting some melodies back into heavy music.'."
On coming out:
Rob Halford: "I didn't really consider what the ramifications or the backlash might have been, because I wanted to take away all the smokescreens, all the innuendo, all the ammunition from the homophobes. Once you do something like that, you set yourself free in every aspect of the word. But I was thrilled and obviously relieved at the reaction from the metal community. The metal community is not a big gay community, but this proved something about their tolerance and understanding. Their attitude is, `We just want Rob back in the band.' It shed a new light on the metal community for me, how caring and passionate they are. They cared more about me than I possibly realized. It was a wonderful feeling of acceptance."