INTERVIEW: Rob Halford of Judas Priest

“When you break everything down, metal is metal is metal.” – Rob Halford

Judas Priest is back with the band’s much anticipated 17th album, “Redeemer of Souls,” set to be released on Tuesday, July 8th, by Epic Records. Fans of the metal giant can expect a classic Priest effort that ranks up there with legendary albums such as “Nostradamus,” “Angel of Retribution,” “Painkiller,” “Screaming For Vengeance,” and “Turbo.” “We wanted to make a record that was very focused, very pure,” Halford said. “From the opening moments of ‘Dragonaut’ all the way to ‘Beginning of the End.’”

As for the pressure of releasing another album, Halford said the band never associated album releases with sales numbers or chart debuts. “We never really put that in the equation. We did become successful and we started to build a whole new attitude,” Halford said. “That must be difficult for bands that have catapulted into fame and they have to try and follow up that success with a more successful release. Fortunately, Priest has been able to weather the storm in that respect.”

Releasing an album in today’s market, however, is nothing like it used to be, where fans (like this one) lined up at midnight to get their hands on Metallica’s “Black” album. With digital downloads and album leaks, the excitement of an album release has lost its nostalgia. “A lot of the magic and mystery and mystique have been crushed by the Internet. We’re living in pretty much unshockable times and everybody wants everything on the table. The reality side of every aspect of this culture has to be expected. I think it probably puts more emphasis and more focus on the music,” Halford said. “We still leave a lot of care. We come from the London vinyl. We come from magazines and newspapers talking about metal to a world that passes by like a speed of light. You have to learn to grow and adapt to it; you can’t get left behind.”

Priest has plans to hit the road in support of “Redeemer of Souls,” already playing a couple of festivals because the fans, according to Halford, are what really matter. “I think that the core of what you’re about, you really have to take care of that side of things. We love our fans to death. During a Priest show you’ll see a bunch of 34-year-olds and 16-year-olds banging their heads; they’re all banging their heads together.”

The band has been a part of numerous heavy metal moments such as winning a 2010 Grammy for “Best Metal Performance,” a lifetime ban (still in effect) from playing New York’s Madison Square Garden due to fans raking up $250,000 worth of damage in 1984, and “Hear N’ Aid,” a charity effort to raise money for starving people in Africa.

Judas Priest is comprised of Rob Halford (vocals), Glenn Tipton (guitar), Richie Faulkner (guitar), Ian Hill (bass), and Scott Travis (drums), and is responsible for some of heavy metal's all-time classic songs like "Living After Midnight," "Breaking the Law," and "You've Got Another Thing Coming."

Visit Judas Priest on the web at


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He also is the author of the novels, The Extraordinary Life of Shady Gray, Hello Lesbian!, Hello Fabulous!, and Anonymous. Visit him at Email him at
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