Legendary British rock icons Judas Priest are still hard at work, four decades on into their storied career. After releasing an ambitious, underrated double album, Nostradamus and touring behind it in 25 countries, the band’s gifted and self-proclaimed “Metal God,” singer Rob Halford found over 37 minutes of his time to talk to me on behalf of Blogcritics on the afternoon of December 5, 2008.
The main subject at hand was the recently reissued (ass-whoopin’) Halford band Resurrection CD/Live At Rock in Rio III DVD package, but the interview eventually covered all aspects of his career, including the Trent Reznor-produced Two project, his short-lived aggressive metal group Fight, and of course, Judas Priest.
Calling from his place in Phoenix, Arizona, to mine in Quincy, MA, the “Metal God” made this once-in-a-lifetime interview an extremely insightful and very conversational one. When all was said and done, Mr. Halford easily ranked as the best and most gracious interview subject I’ve ever had. Editing it down was a challenge, but here are the highlights I think you’ll enjoy.
It’s been quite a year for you, with the release of the new Judas Priest album (Nostradamus), the ensuing tour, even the Fight War of Words film did pretty good. So how do you feel about all that?
Well, just over the moon. It’s been a really sensational year, and to get the 2 Grammy nominations like we did 48 hours ago, it’s like the icing on the cake…. That was just, out of the blue to get 2 Grammy nods. The year has been a very powerful one, a very fulfilling one.
I was going to bring that up. You never know what type of metal they’re listening to over there at the Academy, but congratulations on the Grammy nods definitely.
Thank you very much, yeah. I’ve been a Grammy voting member myself for many, many years.
And the crazy thing is, because I was probably in some obscure part of Europe when all the voting was going on, and my mailing thing just got slightly screwed up, I never saw the fact that Priest was on the list on the initial ballot. So it was a complete surprise to me. [He was alerted to these nods via texts and emails to his Blackberry about an hour after the 1st Annual Grammy Nominations show finished, then went to the Grammys web page and saw them for himself.] It was just amazing and absolutely overwhelming….
Moving on to the Rio [III] DVD…. It has 15 great songs on it that encompasses your whole career with Fight, Halford and Judas Priest but I’m wondering, is that the whole show? Or were there any songs that didn’t make the cut that you remember playing that night in 2001?