Joel Weiss of Creative Loafing recently conducted an interview with vocalist Rob Halford of British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below. A couple of excerpts follow.
Creative Loafing: You mentioned you’d been sober for about 25 years, but you’d seen the back of a police car more than once. What is the craziest thing you’ve done to get arrested?
Halford: It’s, unfortunately, some horrible DUI thing where you think you’re capable of driving home and you realize there are some red lights flashing in your rearview mirror and you get pulled over. And that’s very much a life lesson for a lot of people. So, unfortunately, I can’t really lay claim to being arrested for doing something a little bit more rock and roll. I look back at those days and now it’s like “by the grace of god,” because driving drunk is an absolutely stupid thing to do. I remember one incident at a club I used to go to called Rockers in Phoenix, and there was a guy that used to hang out there that had this big ball python snake that he used to wrap around his shoulders like Alice Cooper. I had like three pitchers of beer and I said, “Hey! Gimme that snake! Gimme that snake!” and he said, “No, Rob, you’re not having the snake.” So one night he actually gave me the snake. I put it around my neck, and, of course, being a ball python, what does it do? It goes into strangulation mode — and within seconds I’m on my knees writhing around on the floor of this club trying to get this snake from around my neck, slowly squeezing the life out of me. That’s one of the more humorous sides of getting drunk and doing stupid…
Creative Loafing: Well the humor side is important, but I’m certainly glad — and your fans are glad — that you’re past that now. So… The “Epitaph” tour. The unfortunate phrase “farewell tour” was used when it was announced; and that name, of course, even implies some finality, but PRIEST isn’t going away. Care to clarify?
Halford: Yeah, that is absolutely true. We try as often as we can to get the message out through all of our friends in the press and media. Is there another word besides “farewell?” You can’t say “retired” because we’re not retiring, and you can’t really call it the “you are slowing down a bit tour.” You’ve gotta give it a little bit of something. We thought long and hard and “farewell” is really the way you can describe this particular world tour because we’re not going to do all these big world tours anymore. They’ve just become too difficult in many, many ways. The obvious one being that we’re not the spring chickens that we used to be. We’re the old turkey now (laughs), which I am! So there are some places in the world we can’t or won’t get back to… I don’t know where those places might be. But we’re urging all of our fans to try and see us on this tour in case that’s the case.
Creative Loafing: About K.K. Downing‘s departure… K.K. and Glenn Tipton were like THE guitar duo before that style became popular during the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Before IRON MAIDEN. Before METALLICA. And from everything I’ve read, the chemistry between Glenn and the new guy Richie Faulkner was almost instant. Was this surprising to you?
Halford: Not really, because we have a professional ethic and a professional standard musically that we’ve always tried to maintain. And we were really hoping to find somebody of the caliber of Richie Faulkner to stand on that part of the stage during a gig. It’s just one of those things, really. It’s in the lap of the gods. You meet a new musician for the first time — you get along well with each other, but you don’t know actually how it’s going to work out until you’re together on the tour bus and start going around the planet. Fate and fortune has played in our hands in that respect. Richie is a fantastic guitar player, and it seems like that’s an added bonus that we have somebody of such star quality with this every night on stage doing tremendous things.
Read the entire interview from Creative Loafing.