ROB HALFORD Says Making New Christmas Album With Family Members Helped Him 'Decompress'

December 15, 2019

JUDAS PRIEST vocalist Rob Halford recently spoke with Jackson of the Atlanta radio station Rock 100.5. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On his new holiday-themed solo album, "Celestial":

Rob: "This has been a real blast for me to make this record, especially with my family — my brother and my nephew — on drums and bass... I watched my brother on drums, Nigel, and my nephew on bass, Alex. Alex is the son of the great Ian Hill, bass god from JUDAS PRIEST. I watched them from little kids, really, and how they got into music. You tend to follow in your big brother's and your dad's footsteps. That's the great thing about rock 'n' roll families. I watched them grow and become really, really talented in what they do as musicians with various bands around The Midlands back home in the U.K. In the back of my mind, it was always an idea that, 'Hey, wouldn't be great if we can find an opportunity to work together?' At the Christmas dinner table a couple of years ago, we were sitting around eating, and I said, 'Hey, guys. I've got an idea for a Christmas album. Shall we do some work together?'... I've got to say, the guys deserve all the credit here, because I was so busy working with PRIEST on the 'Firepower' record. My [goal] is just for them to go out and have fun. They did all the arranging... it was truly a family affair in that respect, but I was hiding in the background. I didn't want to stamp [sic] all over this. I wanted to let the guys rightfully enjoy and make the music that they wanted to make. I just went in and put the vocals on when things were getting into really good shape. I was thrilled by the way the guys were making these songs come together and come to life."

On staying grounded:

Rob: "It's a balance, doing what I do. I've always said there's two persons living inside of me. There's one guy you see on stage, the Metal God. I'm so pleased that I'm able to kind of have the opportunity to walk away from that and just do the things that I want to do, because so many of my friends in rock 'n' roll, it's just so difficult for them to just get out of the bubble. It's important for me to be able to do that — to just step away from it and kind of decompress. Family is really important for that. Family keeps you grounded. Family keeps your boots in the right place. You remember who you are and where you're from. Who I am and where I'm from is a little town called Walsall, about 10 miles away from Birmingham — very humble, simple, blue-collar roots. I'll be going back home for Christmas, and when I walk around the streets, that's who I am. That's where I'm from. I't's a pretty rough-and-tumble place, my hometown, [but] I cherish it. All of that's very, very important to keeping your head on your shoulders."


Rob: "We call our fans our PRIEST family because so many of them have been with us for this long journey, and increasingly, as we go around the world, we see new members of the PRIEST family — new metalheads that are seeing PRIEST for the first time. That's a big thrill. For a young metalhead to pick you as their band, that's really powerful. That's really potent. It's like sports — the way that sports fans go through all the different generations. That magic — that metal magic, as we call it, that happens — that sustains you. That's your motivation. That's your life source for everything that you do. You can't do anything in rock 'n' roll without your fans, and we love our fans very strongly."

On the advice he'd give up-and-coming metal bands:

Rob: "I'd be the first and last person to give out 'Do this and do that thing.' When you're in a band, there are rituals that you go through. There's early days of jamming in a garage or getting into a van or playing a club, and then the slow, slow journey that it takes you to get any modicum of success, no matter how you define that word All I say to bands is enjoy it. Get as much out of it as you possibly can every day, because without sounding too negative, there's no guarantee in what we do. Your life source is your fans that come out to see you, buy the t-shirt, get the record, buy a ticket to the show. All these are vital ingredients to keep a band moving. They're very important. That's my advice to all bands — believe in yourself, believe in the dream, give everything that you've got."

"Celestial", Halford's second Christmas album (and first released under the moniker ROB HALFORD WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS),was released October 18 via Legacy Recordings. The LP – which mixes holiday classics with all-new compositions – features Nigel on drums, Alex on bass, Rob's sister Sue on bells, and twin guitar tandem of Robert Jones and Jon Blakey.

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