In a new interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke about the band's upcoming induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. PRIEST will receive the Musical Excellence Award at next month's event, which will honor Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
According to the Hall Of Fame, the JUDAS PRIEST members that will get inducted include current members Halford, Ian Hill (bass),Glenn Tipton (guitar) and Scott Travis (drums),along with former members K.K. Downing (guitar),Les Binks (drums) and late drummer Dave Holland.
Halford told Ultimate Classic Rock that the PRIEST camp has been in touch with Downing and Binks about the upcoming induction, and "everybody's been very cool and agreeing. There's just been [an attitude of], 'Let's just relish this opportunity and jam and put everything on 11,'" he said.
Although Halford could confirm yet whether Downing or Binks will join PRIEST onstage during its Rock Hall performance, the singer said both former members will be involved in some capacity.
"We are gonna play live because there is all this roar: How are we gonna do it? Because we want to try and make the best things happen," Halford said. "So the best things to happen are to bring in all of the people that are included in the induction — which includes, obviously, K.K. and Les, and Dave. So, we've been able to work things out, so we will be playing live. We've got, like, eight minutes and 24 seconds and a half-second to play live."
He added: "We've got a couple of cool things that are gonna take place on the night that will be held under wraps like most people do because you don't want to give everything away. But yeah, look: A bunch of guys from the U.K., from the West Midlands, a Birmingham band of heavy metal, is being inducted into this great institution. So we're gonna make the most of it and have a great night out and live a lot of metal memories."
Earlier this month, Travis told the "Rocker Morning Show"'s Mark Frankhouse of the 107.7 RKR radio station that PRIEST will play "a medley" of "PRIEST classics" at the Rock Hall induction ceremony.
This past May, just days after it was announced that PRIEST would be inducted into the Rock Hall this year, Downing was asked which song or songs he would like to perform with PRIEST at the induction ceremony. He responded: "Oh, wow. I don't really know what the setup would or could be — whether Glenn" — who's battling Parkinson's disease but was on the road playing during the encores of PRIEST's latest North American tour, performing "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight" — "would be there and we all would… I know Glenn is just playing some of the more shorter kind of songs. And if that's the situation, then I'm sure the songs would be whatever Glenn would be able to feel comfortable with. And that's okay, and that's fine. But I don't think it's about, really, what the repertoire would be; I think it's just about would this and could this happen in the way that people want to and expect it to happen. We'll have to see. But it's [early days], and it's over six months away, so anything could happen between now and then. And it depends what people want to happen, myself included. I'm gonna have a good think."
Downing reiterated that there were still a lot of unknowns about how the induction ceremony will go down and whether PRIEST will be expected to perform at the event.
"I don't know what's gonna happen, mate," he said. "The ceremony's some time in November. I don't know what's gonna happen. I don't know how everybody feels. Like I said, up until [last week], it was just a thought in the back of the memory. But now the hurdle of being inducted has been jumped, so we're on the other side of that now. Obviously, it remains feasible and possible, but I don't know. Anything could happen between now and then. We'll see what happens. But it is, I suppose, for all intents and purposes, a kind of celebration of everything that's been achieved over many, many decades, and do we all wanna be a part of that celebration just for one night. We'll see how everybody feels about that. But certainly, like with the Grammy achievement and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, once we get into those rocking chairs, whenever that might be [laughs], at some point in the future, it'll certainly help us to rock a bit faster than everybody else around us, I think, really."
The 2022 Rock Hall induction ceremony will be held on November 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. It will air at a later date on HBO and stream on HBO Max. There will also be a radio simulcast on SiriusXM's Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Radio channel 310.
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.
In February, Hill and Halford told Billboard that they would be happy to stand alongside Downing at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction later this year. "It's not a problem to us, no," Hill said. "Ken was an integral part of this band for a very, very long time. He deserves to be there along with the rest of us." Halford predicted that, "It won't be as awkward as Ace [Frehley] and Peter [Criss with KISS's Rock Hall induction]. I don't think it'll be awkward at all. I think you have to let all of that go because it's the night that matters. It's the moment that matters — but, again, the proverbial saying, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
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.
In 2019, Halford was asked by Fox Sports 910's "Freak Nation" if fans could expect to see any of the former PRIEST members joining the band on stage during a hypothetical Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. He responded: "With something like the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, there's a tinge of 'what if' [and] 'whatever.' It's an open book.
"I know what you're alluding to, and as I've had to [say] in the past, it's just a case of 'wait and see,'" he continued. "But it's a celebration, and it's 50 years of PRIEST, and, man, it's gonna be great. Should we get in, it's gonna be amazing."
After host Kenny Sargent brought up the original KISS lineup's controversial 2014 Rock Hall induction which was at least partly overshadowed by the musicians' decision not to perform, Halford said: "[PRIEST is] not the first band that this has happened to, and on the day, some things turn out the way a lot of people want 'em.
"I was thinking about this the other day," Halford added. "And this thing came into my head: 'Jim, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.' Spock [in] 'Star Trek'. When he goes in the radiation room. Isn't that great? … That's a t-shirt, or an inspirational card."
Downing previously told Rockin' Metal Revival that there is a very good chance that he would perform with his former bandmates again if PRIEST gets the nod. "Oh, I think absolutely," he said. "I mean, why wouldn't you, really? It's a special thing. We're all of an age now. These opportunities only come once in a lifetime. And it seemingly takes a lifetime to get into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I've always said, there's no such thing as a young legend, right? [Laughs] So, while we're still here, it would be great to receive that accolade and put on a great performance and put that one to bed."
In his 2018 autobiography "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", Downing wrote that he told Tipton and PRIEST co-manager Jayne Andrews that he had "hated" them both "since 1985." Last year, he explained his outburst to Classic Rock magazine: "I was angry. Glenn had formed a relationship with Jayne from day one, and it felt a bit like a John-and-Yoko situation. I didn't like that."