Cathy A. Campagna of The Aquarian Weekly recently conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
The Aquarian Weekly: The [Metal God Apparel] illustrations are wonderful, how did that develop? Did you sit down and go over the concepts with an artist?
Halford: Well, all the props have to go to Mark Sasso from New York, quite a famous graphic illustrator. He has worked for me on all my solo endeavors and he's just got a very fertile imagination. He knows everything about who I am and what I do. I think he just sits there and thinks of these great styles and ideas, and emails are just going back and forth. He listens to the songs and he gets inspired about what that song might be about and how he might convey everything about the Metal God and the world that I live in musically. So it all goes to him really. It's an extension of what we've launched almost two years ago with Metal God Entertainment, it's a broad-based platform of different productions. We're a still a young company, but I think we are showing we can deliver the goods so to speak. We obviously did some reissues of some of my previous material just to put the foundation for Metal God Records out there: To show that we can make great looking products, great sounding products. Same with the movies, the DVDs, the clothing line was just in the pipeline along with everything else you know. That launched just a few weeks ago, and from the looks of it, everyone is really interested so we'll see where that goes. We are going to be at the Magic convention in January in Las Vegas. We'll probably have about 30 designs ready by then, and we are hoping to get retail, which is very, very important. I am just getting a tremendous amount of support and goodwill for all the metalheads around the world, and that just encourages me.
The Aquarian Weekly: It makes you realize how unifying clothing really is.
Halford: That was another reasoning — I mean, I open my closet doors and I can't see anything, because it's full of black t-shirts. I thought, "Well, it would be nice if you could have a little bit of color in there." These are by no means psychedelic, but they certainly have a different vibe about them. I think if you walk around with a Metal God t-shirt, people know you're a metalhead, and that's what it's all about.
The Aquarian Weekly: Are you a workaholic?
Halford: I suppose I am, yeah [laughing]. I don't really think about that. I have been doing what I love to do for nearly 40 years now. The one good thing about myself is this; I haven't turned into a grumpy old man. As I turn 59 next year, you expect that to happen, don't you? But I am not. I am not cynical, I am not bitter. I absolutely love, live, think, breath, eat, dream heavy metal music and everything associated with it. It's my passion; it's my life. Whereas most people are ramping up for retirement, I am speeding up, it's mad! I love it, but it's not all me. I am surrounded by wonderful people who feel the same way. The final accomplishment is achieved by fantastic people who feel the same as you do, and all strive to get the same creative spark.
The Aquarian Weekly: Firstly, it takes an incredible amount of humility to say that it isn't all you, but the question is how have you chosen who you have brought into that team?
Halford: It's instinctive, isn't it, really? Let's face it, the business that we're in is extremely competitive and there's a lot of things going on that you don't particularly like to face up to. You can certainly not afford to be passive, and again, it's the great spirit of American capitalism. I say that not in a mean way, it's a matter of fact way. Unfortunately, we've seen some of the really nasty side effects of that with Wall Street greed, but the principles of creativity, it has to be based around the right kind of ideals and virtues, so you just instinctively know if somebody is in it for the wrong reason. I mean, this isn't about money for me, this is just about creative satisfaction. If there is a payoff that's great, but there's never a guaranteed payoff, let's face it, in rock and roll. I think you can feel good about yourself at the end of the day when you have made something, whether it's a t-shirt, or a record or a show, and you go, "That felt great, people had a great time with it! Now, what's next to do?" So you surround yourself with people of the same basic feelings. I am definitely a believer in karma, you work with good people, good things can happen back to you. It's not part of my personality; I don't want to be known in a different light. There are some people that are very successful in life, but they leave a trail of bad feelings and bad vibes behind them and I don't want that. I don't want to leave that. I mean, I am not a wuss, I think you can do great things in rock and roll and just leave good times and good memories.
The Aquarian Weekly: Will there be a video for the Christmas record?
Halford: I was talking about this to John Baxter last night, my solo manager. We've got everything here, everyone is loving this release. We got a great looking record and the artwork, but we need a visual. When I fly back to Arizona, I am going to jump into my car and drive up to the high country with a high-def camera and hope it's snowing out there. Stand by a tree and sing into the mic, but yes, we are going to try to put a couple of things together just for the actual December period.
Read the entire interview from The Aquarian Weekly.
Halford talked about his new clothing line, Metal God Apparel, during an appearance on WPIX-TV's "Morning News" in New York. Watch the segment below.