BraveWords.com caught up with the Metal God recently and discussed the plethora of activities going on in JUDAS PRIEST frontman ROB HALFORD's busy back-yard these days including his latest release, Halford Live In Anaheim (CD and DVD), his upcoming release Halford IV – Made Of Metal as well as his upcoming performance at Heavy MTL II in Montreal on July 24th. Part one of the chat reads as follows:
BraveWords.com: May I ask you about the new album Halford IV coming out in October?
Halford: “We can touch a little bit on that. It’s still in the ‘coming together’ stage at the moment, but it’s exciting. There are some really good ideas there. Some solid pieces of metal, but you can’t really talk about music – you’ve got to listen to it. ‘The Mower’ (new single streaming on BraveWords.com's KnuckleTracks Online Audio Player) that came out the other day is just an indication of one idea. That is not the way the whole record is going to sound. It’s going to be a bit of everything. I’ve done so many things as a metal musician over the last four decades and sometimes you have not an agenda, but a direction, theme or plan. Well, I haven’t got one for this record. It’s just been a lot of fun doing the things that made me feel good in terms of writing metal. The songs that are coming are a real expression of the fun and the great things that I’ve been involved with in metal over the years.”
BraveWords.com: So, it’s a culmination of everything…
Halford: “Yeah, it’s like a combo of a lot of different metal ideas. So, there’s not going to be ten tracks like ‘The Mower’. Every track is extraordinarily different from the other one and that makes it a very fascinating record to listen to. You know me Mitch, I’m all about keeping your attention, making it interesting, keeping you entertained and making you go ‘oh, I never expected that. That was cool. Where did that come from?’ All of those elements are on this new record. It’s an opportunity to put out some more metal and to let the Halford band show what we can do.”
BraveWords.com: Speaking of the Halford band. Heavy MTL II is coming up on July 24th. What made you decide to go back on the road and do the whole solo thing again?
Halford: “The band that leads me in my life is Judas Priest and the time that I was away from Priest (as we’ve discussed before) that was a big life lesson for me (as a musician). It made me appreciate and understand the value of Judas Priest in my life that being the dominant force in everything that I do, but I also enjoy the opportunities that a solo career can bring and I still feel that way. The way the calendar has panned out this year with Priest being on hiatus; I just wanted to have fun again with this in this small window of opportunity. Obviously, Priest is going out again in 2011-12 and so it’s like ‘what can happen in the space allotted?’”
BraveWords.com: Will you be announcing more solo dates? Or is it really a few special shows just to get out there.
Halford: “We’ll look at what, realistically, this new Halford IV release will afford us. Promoters are all about bringing a band in and what’s relevant in today’s scene. As we do the San Francisco show, the Montreal show and the Ozzfest dates, I’d like to feel that everybody will be excited to see what this band is still able to achieve. There is no point in going out without some purpose or some kind of satisfying moment that you get from being in a band and that the fans get from what you do. So, if all that clicks and connects there will be more dates coming together definitely.”
BraveWords.com: Will the Montreal and Ozzfest shows have the same set list or will there be a Ozzfest presentation and a other venue presentation?
Halford: “We’ll mix it up. We’re in rehearsals right now learning loads and loads of songs, but it’s also the time thing. We’ve got different slots with Montreal and with the Ozzfest. So, you have to be flexible.”
BraveWords.com: You’ve got forty-five minutes in Montreal. Which is not a lot.
RH: “It’s not a lot, but forty-five minutes of music is a tremendous amount of information that you can exchange if you do it correctly. You can do a great display of what you are capable of in that short space of time. I would like to feel that what we bring up to Montreal, Quebec in a few days will be a good bash over the head.”
BraveWords.com: Are you going to concentrate on the solo material? Or will there be some Judas Priest greatest hits thrown in there?
Halford: “It’s a bit of a dilemma isn’t it? My answer is if you want Judas Priest – why would you not want it from the original source? I’m back in Priest now, so it makes sense that if you want to hear Priest… hear the real deal. That’s really important for me to communicate. ‘Breakin’ The Law’ sounds best when it’s played by Glenn, Ken, Scott, Ian and myself. That’s it. That is ‘Breakin’ The Law’. Anything else is a cover version. Regardless of the fact that the ‘voice’ is there, that’s got nothing to do with it. The Halford band is the Halford band through its own strengths and character and the songs that have been made. Admittedly, there’s been only two records so far, but there’s this new music on the way and I think the songs we put together in Resurrection and Crucible are still as viable as any band. The songs are strong. The songs are workable all these years later. So, that’s what we’ll concentrate on doing.”
BraveWords.com: Good! Resurrection was a brilliant album…
Halford: “Thank you. It’s a really strong album and it’ll be fun to play material from that album again.”
BraveWords.com: No mention of FIGHT. Does that suggest that it’s a whole other project and you won’t cover those songs this time out?
Halford: “That’s easier for me to do then doing some Priest songs quite honestly. I think it’s conceivable.”
BraveWords.com: Let’s talk about the Live In Anaheim CD & DVD. When I spoke to you in the past, you mentioned this long-term plan to release different live projects over the years. There’s Rock In Rio and now Anaheim. Is this the end or will there be more releases from the vaults?
Halford: “There’s so much stuff. We pretty much had cameras rolling at every show that the Halford band did in those years. So, there is still a lot of footage floating around. I don’t know what we’ll do with that, but it’s nice to think there’s stuff in the ‘vault’ (as they say). And Anaheim just seemed to make sense because as we’ve gone through setting up Metal God Records (this little indie metal label) and because I now own all of that material. I can do what I want with both the Halford and Fight material. It was a case of finding its place on the label within that business framework. So really, these are the last two releases. The Anaheim DVD (which is on its way) and the CD which is out now.”
Stay tuned for part two soon!