A 29-minute audio interview with JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford which aired on last night's (March 29) edition of "The Classic Metal Show" is available for streaming in three parts below. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
The Classic Metal Show: I interviewed you back when TWO [Rob's one-off industrial metal project] was being released, and obviously there was a lot going on with the new sound, the new look and you coming out with your sexuality. The way you referenced it at that point that the whole episode, from the change in musical direction to the look to you addressing your sexuality, was all part of a lifestyle switch, freeing yourself from, as you put it, your "own little prison." With that being said, and given the fact that you went back to HALFORD and back to doing a metal-style record, if that meant that you felt that you had made a mistake or you had something that was missing or you hadn't meant to cut off from your life?
Rob: Well, that's a really interesting question. I'll premise it with the fact that when I made my "coming out" statement, it could have happened at any time. It just kind of happened to coincide with what I was doing with TWO. It could have just as easily never happened, or it could have just as easily have happened with PRIEST or the HALFORD band or whatever. Trying to look back at the interview at the MTV studios in New York City, I made the remark... It was not a premeditated thing. I didn't think before I took the interview that, "I'm going to say this," or "I'm going to say that, because I never do that. I never prepare for interviews. What you get coming out of my mouth is a conscious stream of thought. I think that's more interesting, and it's more genuine and more real and more honest, which is the way people know me to be. As far as how that resonated for me on a personal level, afterwards I reflected on what I had said. I didn't really consider... it wasn't really repercussions .it just flew around the world like a firestorm for a few days until it settled down. I supposed, having done what I did and reflecting on the feedback that I got, it was a very cathartic moment for me. It was definitely a release from having to hide and dealing with reactive innuendo and snide little remarks and comments behind your back. All that vanishes in a puff of smoke. There's a lot of baggage that goes with that, but it was a relief to let all of that kind of evaporate. Great things came out of it. But I just have to say that it just happened at that moment in time. I could really have happened at any other time. The inference is that I had to put myself into that kind of music and have that particular style of look to have the courage to make that statement, which does take a tremendous amount of courage. I have nothing but praise for people that step forward and claim who they are. So there it was, you know. It's a bit of mixed feelings about where the music was and what the look was and how I was feeling at the time, and the music scene at the time. Lots of different issues. That brings in a whole broad-based discussion about metal on a sexuality level; now with more of an acceptance to female girls going at it to metal, like ARCH ENEMY or EVANESCENCE or NIGHTWISH or WITHIN TEMPTATION. Doro's [Pesch] been around a long time and been at the forefront. A lot of issues that have are kind of demystifying the perception of metal music. At the end of the day, metal is for absolutely everybody from all walks of life. That's a good thing.
The Classic Metal Show: You mentioned that you watch "Metal Mania" on VH1 Classic. What do you think when you see videos of yourself with the mullet?
Halford: (laughing) And the mustache. I smile. One thing I learned many, many years ago is to be able to have a "Spinal Tap" moment. If you can't do that, then you've got something seriously wrong with you. I love satire, and I think that satire is... in fact, I think satire is one of the biggest compliments you can get because it's only successful things that get satirized, if that's a word. I'm pleased to look back on all of those different expressions and visions on video because it reinforces the choices of what we've done in PRIEST, for example, which is to really try to do as much as we possibly can and explore all of the great possibilities in heavy metal music. If you go on YouTube and put in "Judas Priest Japan 1976" or "1975", you'll see PRIEST in a way that you've never seen PRIEST before; the way we were looking then. Then, all the way through from our first video that we made to the last visual display on "Rising From The East" DVD. it's good. It's interesting. We hate repetition in JUDAS PRIEST. That's how I am in whatever I do musically. Keep it fresh. Keep it interesting.
The Classic Metal Show: From everything I've read, you've been very cordial about Tim "Ripper" Owens and his time in JUDAS PRIEST. I'm curious if in a show you would ever be willing to throw in a song like "Blood Stained" and putting your own spin on it.
Rob: Yeah. Well, why not? It's a PRIEST song. "Jugulator" and "Demolition" are part of the PRIEST catalog. I made that clear to Ken and Glen and Ian and Scott that we should look at everything when we put together this new setlist. We're about to start the new tour in Finland on the second week of June, I think it is. It will be in the states on the middle end of July for a month or so. Why not? Just because Ripper was doing his great work at that time, it's still a PRIEST song. I think that would be cool to do, actually. I guess we'll look at that. I'll be going back to the UK to start prepping for the monster PRIEST tour, so anything's possible.
The Classic Metal Show: Is there anything you can tell us about this JUDAS PRIEST, HEAVEN AND HELL and MOTRHEAD tour? (As previously reported by BLABBERMOUTH.NET on January 17, March 22 and March 27.)
Rob: I can only tell you that suddenly I got a flood of e-mails, "Have you checked Blabbermouth?" I'm like, "No." "Go into Blabbermouth right now." And I did. Blabbermouth is the TMZ of [heavy metal]. And I saw it. Live Nation are promoting the tour, and I guess the professional way of dealing with this is to say that Live Nation will be making an official announcement probably a few days from now. But it's difficult to keep that kind of thing quiet 'cause If it does happen, and it's looking very real, it's gonna be one of the biggest metal shows in the States this year.
The Classic Metal Show: This year? How about ever, Rob? Jeez You guys and BLACK SABBATH? Wow!
Rob: Well, I see what you're saying. It's HEAVEN AND HELL, but I know what you're saying. Yeah, it is reminiscent of that Ozzfest when you had PRIEST and SABBATH and SLAYER all on the same bill. Yeah, if it happens, it's gonna be great MOTRHEAD, PRIEST, HEAVEN AND HELL That's a killer metal show.
The Classic Metal Show: I think TESTAMENT are supposed to be on that bill too.
Rob: Yeah, that's what I'm hearing as well. There's tons of e-mails flying back and forth and you just have to You have to wait for the official announcement because it has to be sanctioned by management and the lawyers in the suits and that other rubbish. But if we get what we are hoping to get, I think it's gonna be an absolutely sensational, killer American tour 'cause it won't happen anywhere else in the world, this lineup. It'll just be for the States.