JUDAS PRIEST's ROB HALFORD: 'For The Longest Time, I Had A Real Problem With Nostalgia'

December 11, 2022

In a recent interview with "The Best Show With Tom Scharpling", JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke about the band's need to continue creating new music and not resting on its laurels. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "This has been vital to PRIEST. Whenever we've toured, apart from this one particular tour cycle — the '50 Heavy Metal Years' in JUDAS PRIEST, where we really celebrate so much of what we've done and achieved — we've always gone out with a new record. That was the idea that we started with. The reason we're here is to play the songs that you already know, but more importantly to us, this is the new material. This is how we represent ourselves now. This is us in the '70s, the '80s, the '90s, the noughts. Each time we go out on stage — as we will for the next PRIEST record that's just about done — it's to show off the things that we've created. And that, for us as a band, is important to us for the reason of, yes, we can still go into a studio at the start of a day and have nothing but at the end of the day we have a great song that we hope we'll eventually record and it's gonna live forever. That's the great testimony to bands that still feel the need and the urge and the hunger. There's always an unending innate inquisitiveness of the adventure: 'What if we did this?' 'What if we did that?' It's all about the need to express yourself in a new song or in a new album."

Rob continued: "I learned a long time ago that nirvana is unreachable, but it's a great place to keep aiming for. Why does [professional basketball player] LeBron James keep going out to play? Well, because he's got a new move to show; he feels like he wants to show you how he's getting from this end of the court to that end of the court with these moves that he's coming up with. It's all about finding a new form of expression within something that we love and get great pleasure out of — a band, a sports person, whatever it might be; this thing that enamors us and puts us together is really important."

Halford added: "I just wanna quickly address something here: nostalgia. For the longest time, I had a real problem with nostalgia, what that word meant. Because in my mind, for a period of my life, it just felt like, 'Oh, it's all over; we're in nostalgic mode.' Now I realize that was a really bad train of thought. I've learned and I've grown from that ne_ — not 'negative', 'cause I had that word 'negative', but that misconception of nostalgia. Because when you're going to see JUDAS PRIEST and we play 'Breaking The Law' or 'Living After Midnight', it's not 2022; it's 1980. And you're with your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your significant other, whoever, or by yourself, and you hear that song and you're at college, you're at school, you're in the back of the bus, you're in the back of the car, you're on vacation, all these beautiful, beautiful feelings and emotions erupt up in this word 'nostalgia.' And so I know that, and we appreciate that as a band, the emotional opportunities that are taking place, when you play those songs. 'Cause I see it on people's faces, I see it on our metal maniacs. Sometimes there are tears in the house because it's such a significant memory. And that's the beauty of music, the way it touches that time clock in our existence and brings us from the present to the past and back again."

As previously reported, the JUDAS PRIEST members were presented with a special plaque commemorating an incredible 50 years in music and over 50 million album sales worldwide. The presentation was made on the eve of the band's induction in to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Los Angeles last month.

There are few heavy metal bands that have managed to scale the heights that JUDAS PRIEST have during their 50-year career. Their presence and influence remain at an all-time high as evidenced by 2018's "Firepower" being the highest-charting album of their career, a 2010 Grammy Award win for "Best Metal Performance", plus being a 2006 VH1 Rock Honors recipient. JUDAS PRIEST originally formed in 1969 in Birmingham, England (an area that many feel birthed heavy metal). Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill would be the nucleus of musicians (along with several different drummers over the years) that would go on to change the face of heavy metal. The current lineup, which changed in 2011, consists of Halford, Tipton, Hill, Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis.

Following early albums such as "Rocka Rolla", "Sin After Sin" and "Sad Wings Of Destiny", JUDAS PRIEST redefined heavy music forever with the 1980 release of iconic album "British Steel". Subsequent albums such as "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Painkiller" established the band as "Metal Gods", identified by charismatic Halford's characteristic soaring high-pitched vocals.

PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at this year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, which honored Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.

The JUDAS PRIEST members who got inducted include current members Halford, Hill, Tipton and Travis, along with former members Downing, Les Binks (drums) and late drummer Dave Holland.

Halford, Hill, Tipton and Travis were joined by Binks, Downing and Faulkner for a three-song medley consisting of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".

The members of PRIEST have dealt with various health setbacks in recent years. Halford recently publicly revealed that he battled prostate cancer during the pandemic. He previously mentioned his cancer battle in the new chapter added to the updated paperback edition of his autobiography, "Confess". In "Confess", Halford revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer after experiencing symptoms for at least a couple of years.

Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection during the band's performance at the Louder Than Life festival in September 2021. Faulkner was rushed to the UofL Health - Jewish Hospital where the cardiothoracic surgery team needed approximately 10 hours to complete a life-saving surgery.

Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease eight years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of PRIEST's latest album, "Firepower". He was replaced by "Firepower" producer Andy Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.

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