JUDAS PRIEST's ROB HALFORD Opens Up About Love And Sobriety: 'I'm A Prayer Freak'

May 10, 2024

In a new interview with Kat Mykals of the 103 GBF radio station, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford was asked about the lyrics to the band's song "Crown Of Horns", which appears on PRIEST's latest album, "Invincible Shield". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I love love. It's the best four-letter word in the history of words. Love is everything. Love is all you need. We certainly need love more than ever right now. Let's not get into that.

"I think I did a lot of reflecting as I've moved on through these decades," he explained. "You tend to reflect a little bit more. You just gain wisdom, opinions. But I just thought about this thing, particularly about love. Love doesn't come easy. You have to fight for love. And you can't just let it sit and you can't just let it be there. You've gotta work it all the time. You've constantly gotta be reinforcing whatever love you have in your life, whether it's with a partner. Me and [my partner] Thomas have been together for a thousand years, and every night I say, 'I love you.' You tell people that you love them. Just say those words. Just say, 'I love you.' It's just such a powerful, simple statement. So you've got that. And it is true. I found the hard way — I did find the hard way, 'cause it took me forever to find somebody that I fell madly in love with. And I think that is for most of us. Love doesn't come easy. That's a song, isn't it? 'Love Don't Come Easy'. So, that's just a reference. We all wear something like a bit of a crown of horns to get to the place that we need to be in a relationship in particular. So it's a love song. It sounds crazy, but 'Crown Of Horns' is a love song."

Halford, who celebrated the 38th anniversary of his getting sober this past January, was also asked how he stays humble in order to maintain his sobriety when he is literally known to the world as a Metal God. He responded: "First thing in the morning, I say prayers. Last thing at night, I say prayers. I have to — that's part of the sober routine, staying sober.

"I don't think that's ever been lost on me because I know how hard it is for any band to stay together," he continued. "Bands are so complex and so fragile. The toughest bands in the world are like made of glass — they can just shatter and break apart for the craziest of reasons. So to be able to do this work, this job for over 50 years, I am honored and I am humbled by it. I can't believe it, and I'm eternally grateful — I'm grateful every day that I wake up that I'm in this band, JUDAS PRIEST. What a band, what a life, what a story. So, reflection, gratitude, being kind. And it's tough, particularly in the world that we live in. We're surrounded by a constant screaming clutter. And I'm sure being sober has been a big part of my understanding of this. You've gotta try and find your own internal peace and harmony. And that's tough. It's hard work. You can't let it go. You're working at it all the time. So it's a lot of that. But truly, I'm just so, like I said, grateful and honored to be in this band doing the work that I love to do, understanding the power of metal, understanding the power of rock and roll.

"I'm sure people have told you time and time and time again that they've been listening to your show and you've helped them get through a hard part of the day or you played a song that made them cry or you played a song that made them feel good. So this is the power of music that unites us and keeps us all in this connectivity. We call ourselves the metal community in PRIEST, and this inclusiveness, everybody's welcome. And I think again, it's making everybody feel a part of your life.

"When we're up there on stage, when I'm up there being the Metal God and doing my stuff, we're doing this together," Rob added. "It's not just me. Firstly, I can't do that without you guys. I'd be stupid doing that to an empty room. So, that's never lost on me. Every single show is special in that respect, and every single show works its magic for me as a person.

"Before I go on stage, I say my serenity prayer. When I come off stage, I say my serenity prayer. I'm a prayer freak. But it helps me. It's just a beautiful thing. And some of my friends, they say, 'Why are you always praying?' 'I'm not always praying.' I said, 'Do you pray?' I [go], 'Just try it. What have you got to lose? You've got nothing to lose. You've got everything to gain by just finding just even one moment in the day, just like 30 seconds of your day, just close your eyes and say a serenity prayer, and eventually it'll work. Things will start happening. You've got to work at it. It's like love. You can't expect these things to come to you. You can't [go], 'Let me win the lottery. Let me get this. Let me do it.' You can't do that. You've gotta work, you've gotta work. And when you work, when you put in the work, you get the rewards. So all of that is wrapped up in this staying in a sensible, realistic place."

In 2022, Halford spoke to Spain's Mariskal Rock about how he has managed and avoided the urge to relapse since 1986. "I think about it all the time," he said about drinking alcohol. "It's an addiction. When I'm watching the Phoenix Cardinals play on TV the other day, there's constantly adverts for beer and for alcohol and stuff. And I know it's there. And it's a temptation. So you have to have all of the mental tools ready to get you through that instance. 'Cause it's all about instances. And I live one day at a time. I've lived one day at a time for [almost 40] years now. And that's all that matters. It's the moment. You live in the moment — not yesterday, not tomorrow; it's now. And you have to be ready for when that little beer devil comes on your shoulder and goes, 'Come on, Rob. Have a little drink of beer.' 'Fuck off.' [Laughs] Because I don't wanna feel that way again, man. I don't want to be that person. I was miserable. I wasn't happy. I was bad to people. I don't wanna go through that again. So that's also part of my finding a balance in my day-to-day life."

Rob previously spoke about how he manages to stay clean on the road in a 2020 interview with the "Across The Board" podcast. "It's not easy," he said at the time. "It's very much a day at a time. You're given all the tools and resources from your rehab experience. I use 'em every day. A lot of it is just like mental notes — talking things through. Sometimes I speak 'em out; a lot of it is internal. So that's really vital on a day-to-day level of sobriety.

"When I was in rehab [in 1986], there's anonymity in rehab, but at the same time, you have to tell everybody your life story, so everybody knew what I did. And I remember we talked about the fact that I'm gonna go back to this world of sex and drugs and rock and roll and booze. I don't know how I'm gonna be able to cope, because it won't be a gradual reimmersion into society, so to speak. I won't be able to go tiny steps; I'm just gonna go straight into the deep end. I cannot go to work and say to my bandmates, 'You can't drink. You can't do this. You can't do that,' because it's control. Accept your powerlessness.

"I don't think we ever in the band had a sit-down conversation about this, but I think that there was caring and understanding — as there still is," Halford continued. "But I'd be the last person to say that I have to set a set of rules, because then this whole business of living my life on my terms [turns into something] you push on to other people: 'Well, now, you can't do this,' 'You can't do that.' That's just hypocrisy on the highest level.

"Even now, when we're flying after a show, and the guys are having a beer or a cocktail or whatever, man, I would love that cold beer. I would love a slug of Jack and Coke. I can smell it, 'cause we're in a plane together. It's like this little angel on one side and the devil on the other side. My instant thought is I never wanna be sick again. I never, ever wanna feel that bad ever again. I never want to be in that terrible, dark, lonely place ever again. So it's fleeting. But, again, it's always there.

"When I'm home, especially [during] this COVID thing, [my longtime partner] Thomas doesn't drink. When I first met Thomas, he quit drinking. So that's a support to me. I'm never really around alcohol that much, or drugs, when I'm not working. But, yeah, when my fans, or when PRIEST fans come to see us, yeah, they're gonna have some drinks; they might have a couple of spliffs [and] do whatever else recreationally. They're entitled to. And they are living their lives and they are partying and they are having the time of their lives, as they should. They don't have an alcohol problem; they don't have a drug addiction. There are people that can enjoy these things in life and it [has] no effect on them, in a physical sense and in a mental sense.

"So, it's an absolute miracle," Halford added. "I can only say it's a miracle that I've got that far from January the 6th, 1986 without slipping once. And I'm not boasting, because it's all the past — that's the past; it's gone. I live in the moment. I don't think about yesterday or tomorrow; I'm living now. But I'm grateful that I've been able to get this far without failing. Not failing — that's the wrong word. Without a slip off the wagon — whatever the term is. I'm grateful that I've been able to get this far and stay clean and sober. Because if I didn't, who knows where I would have gone and where I would have ended up?"

Halford credited his belief in a higher power for helping him in his recovery. "When I got clean and sober, that was a major change in my life," he said during an appearance on HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta's official podcast, "The Jasta Show". "And part of my recovery is just having this higher-power belief. And it works. It works, man. It really, really is important."

Halford added: "There probably will be people listening to [this] podcast who don't have anything like that in their life, and that's great; it's all about acceptance. But I always say to people, if you're thinking about it, the simplest thing I do is I pray. I pray quite a bit, actually. And even if you don't believe in prayer, just have a go. Pray for a good day, or just pray for your friend, or whatever it might be. And it's amazing, man, 'cause it absolutely works. I guarantee, it genuinely does work. And now I'm sounding like [American evangelical Christian evangelist] Billy Graham, but I'm just trying to express some of the things that are important to me on a day-to-day basis that make me able to walk out on that stage each night and do my work."

In an interview with Classic Rock Revisited, Halford said that he quit using substances because he "was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I will always remember the first show I did clean and sober… It was in New Mexico, in Albuquerque," he recalled. "I literally felt elevated, as everything was coming with such clarity. I was able to really… enjoy the performance of JUDAS PRIEST without having all of the other things in front of it. Since that day, it has been a miracle."

Halford added, "Everybody has to face things in their lives at some point. It [doesn't have to] be booze and drugs. You can eat too much, or you can not exercise, or whatever… It is not easy staying clean and sober in rock and roll. There are temptations galore from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, especially when you're on the road. [But] I think we're some of the strongest people, my friends and my sober brothers in metal."

Rob's autobiography, "Confess", in which he discusses his journey to sobriety, arrived in September 2020 via Hachette Books. It was written with Ian Gittins, co-writer of "The Heroin Diaries" by Nikki Sixx.

Find more on Judas priest
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).