ROB HALFORD Says It Was 'Magical' Performing With K.K. DOWNING At ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAMENovember 15, 2022
In a new interview with Lauren "Lern" Elwell of the KSHE radio station, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford was asked what it was like performing with former PRIEST members K.K. Downing and Les Binks at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony on November 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was good. We hadn't seen [Downing] forever. And I've still yet to watch footage of that. All I remember is my brief interactions with K.K., because I'm always running around the stage like a mad drag queen. My interactions with Ken and with Les, it was great. It felt wonderful to have that moment together after such a long time. And that just shows you the power, the weight, the vibe that the Rock Hall suggests you try to attempt. Try and recapture something of the essence that it really part of why you're here, why you're being inducted. I was just so happy that Ken and Les showed up, because they needed to be there. It was entirely their choice, but I said it makes absolute sense if you're in the room and we're playing together. And we did, and it was magical."
PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at the event, which honored Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
The JUDAS PRIEST members that got inducted include current members Halford, Ian Hill (bass),Glenn Tipton (guitar) and Scott Travis (drums),along with former members Downing, Binks and late drummer Dave Holland.
Halford, Hill, Tipton and Travis were joined by Binks, Downing and current guitarist Richie Faulkner for a three-song medley consisting of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".
In his acceptance speech, Halford told the crowd: "I'm the gay guy in the band. We call ourselves the heavy metal community which is all-inclusive, no matter what your sexual identity is, what you look like, or what you believe in or don't believe in. Everybody's welcome."
Rob told KSHE that he "didn't have a clue" what he was going to say in his speech. "Everybody said, 'Have you written a speech?' 'Oh, I've got it,'" he said. "And then I'm watching all this extraordinary talent go up and there and receive their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame award. And I'd been speaking to [DURAN DURAN's] Simon [Le Bon]. I said, 'What are you gonna say, Simon?' He goes, 'I've got a few ideas.' 'What are you gonna say?' 'Oh, I've got a speech.' [And I was thinking], 'I don't have a speech.' And so when the moment came… And I think this is just me, who I am. I just like to riff. Like we're talking now, it's all real; it's not planned; it's not rehearsed. Which is not a snipe at speeches, because speeches are important — so you don't forget people.
"I still haven't seen what I've said, but I walked up to the podium and I said, 'Everybody, do your bit first,' because I'm notorious for flapping my lips for extraordinary periods of time," he continued. "I said, 'So, everybody, do your bit, and whatever time we've got left, I'll go up and say 'thank you.'' So everybody spoke, and then it was me. And I walked up to the mic, and the first thing that came out of my mouth, I think, was, 'Hi, everybody, I'm the gay guy in the group.' I don't know why I said that; it wasn't planned. It was just in my mind. But what we saw was this beautiful reaction from everybody in the room, and that just instantly threw me into this acceptance thing. All these people, they're not all metalheads, but what I've just said, as a gay guy in metal, and the way it was received, shows you the inclusiveness of what we are in heavy metal, in our heavy metal community. So then I said this, and I said that and something else, and then I just stopped speaking. And that was that.
"But, yes, it was a beautiful night," Halford added. "It was so great. Everybody was so kind and gracious. It was something that'll live with me forever."
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance.
In 2019, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band's 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.
In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST after Tipton's decision to retire from touring.
JUDAS PRIEST was on the ballot for Rock Hall induction in 2020, but failed to receive enough votes to make that year's class.
Having been eligible for induction since 1999, PRIEST was also on the ballot for the 2018 class of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, but was ultimately left out of the inductee list.
The 2022 Rock Hall induction ceremony will air on November 19 on HBO and stream on HBO Max.
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