Rob Halford Q&A: His best Lemmy story and why he won’t be joining Twitter – Louder

Posted: March 17, 2020 at 5:46 am


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Rob Halford is ready to go when Hammer calls to ask him your questions. Ive been looking forward to this, says the Metal God, who released a Christmas album last winter and will be fronting Judas Priests 50th anniversary celebrations this year.

What follows is a conversation that produces tears, laughter and interesting revelations...

Why not? Those records, Jugulator [1997] and Demolition [2001] are both part of the great history of Judas Priest. And Tim is a good friend of mine. Ive never done any of the songs that he sang on but Id definitely have a crack at them. Im up for that.

"When? It could happen at any time, it wouldnt need to be an anniversary. Before we go onstage we have a jam, and thats time when ideas from leftfield are thrown around. Thats probably how well do it. Itll just happen and itll be brilliant.

Usually its the ballads. I can really let rip on the screaming metal ones; I feel loose, free and comfortable on those. Its a song like Beyond The Realms Of Death [from Stained Class, 1979], Angel [Angel Of Retribution, 2005] or the acoustic version of Diamonds And Rust [Sin After Sun, 1977] is the most difficult.

"Anything that demands an enormous amount of tension becomes harder as you get older. You really have to zone in and focus more.

There are so many of them, arent there? Theres one band I really like from Cannock and theyre called Wolfjaw a three-piece band thats not exclusively metal, theyre hard rock but they have great arrangements. Theyve been bashing away quietly and strongly on the underground but I think that their moment is coming soon. Give them a listen.

I dont like using the word best in that context. We had Iron Maiden open for us at the start of their career [in 1980] and they were brilliant. Saxon did the same and they were also brilliant. Oh god, there were so many.

"More recently we had Uriah Heep open up for us in America and they were brilliant. Theyve been around just as long as Priest and theyve got a catalogue of incredible songs. So theres another great example.

Absolutely they do and Ive been putting my two pennorth into Priests music for most of my life, but its concealed by smoke and mirrors. Take a song like Evil Never Dies [from 2018s Firepower]. I make some digs there and I know what I mean, but heres the thing, especially for a band like Priest: music is about escapism.

"If I hear one more thing about Brexit, I dont know what I will do. To me theres a place for politics and I applaud bands that make it important in what they do, but with me the clues are there if you want to look for them.

Thank you, I just put one up for Throwback Thursday! Its of me by the gate in the place in the Yew Tree Estate in Walsall where I used to live. Im holding a copy of the vinyl of the Killing Machine album.

"Its a double-throwback because it was 41 years ago when that album came out. I dont think I will be joining Twitter. Its a place for strong opinions; most discussions that I read seem to end with, Fuck off, you wanker. If I went on there Id probably be banned within an hour.

Its a pretty straightforward choice. One would be Ronnie James Dio; I listen to him nearly every day. Id have to pick my mate Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden, who is phenomenal. And lets go with one from the very beginning of this form of music Robert Plant [of Led Zeppelin].

"Ive always enjoyed the bluesier elements of his vocals and the Ooohs and Aaahs that they threw in were important; they may not have been words but Planty taught me how to connect on an emotional basis with that type of phrasing.

It was a conscious decision. The band- members all spoke between us about the need to make a statement about the metal we were making. At that moment in our career we felt it was important to pull together and create something that was truly significant. Thats why we hid ourselves away at Miraval Studios in the south of France where nobody could find us. We worked hard every day to make that album.

"One of the great lessons of having had a long life with a band is that sometimes you must do these things sit back, take a minute and contemplate what you want to reinforce. With Painkiller we had to remind people that Judas Priest was a strong, British heavy metal band.

We played lots of and lots of shows with Motrhead and I always found it amusing that after theyd played Lemmy would put his hair in a turban. I made a point of going to see him after each show and Id always end up sitting on Lemmys lap. Imagine that! The Metal God sitting on Lemmys lap, with his hair in a turban.

"Theres also a bittersweet one regarding a photo on my Instagram. After a South American tour together we were heading back to Los Angeles. It had been a long, long flight. Lemmy had been sitting by himself and you generally didnt want to get too close to him if that was the case, but I went and said thanks for a great tour. We had a bit of a chat and internally I felt something was going to happen. [Rob falls silent, trying to compose himself].

"Sorry thats an upsetting memory. I asked him for a selfie and he said fuck off, but we took it anyway and its the last photograph of me and Lemmy together. I still miss Lem and everything he stands for in rocknroll. But the music will last forever. Thats what I tell myself whenever Im feeling down.

The main catalyst was the chance of working with my brother Michael [on drums] and my cousin Alex [Hill, the son of Priest bassist Ian Hill]. Id always wanted to do that. I love Christmas music and I can never get enough of it, so thats why we made Celestial.

With so many choose from thats very tough, but if you put a gun to my head Id go with Sad Wings Of Destiny and British Steel. Its incredible that we made British Steel, which had the iconic Living After Midnight and Breaking The Law, in just 30 days.

I really like the Necromancer outfit Im wearing on the current tour, with the purple top hat and the cane. Weve always had that element of heavy metal razzle dazzle. Ha, how the fuck did that come out of my head? But you know what I mean.

Weve got a massive warehouse full of props in Leicestershire; its like a heavy metal Aladdins Cave and this question reminds me that I must go there for a mooch around. Ive got a very treasured etching given to me by the late Maurice Jones, the promoter of the first Monsters Of Rock Festival, so Ill go with that.

After 58 metal years it becomes harder and harder. Rest is very, very important. Mine has become a bit like an old Morris Minor it takes three days to get it going but it works just fine once its warmed up.

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Rob Halford Q&A: His best Lemmy story and why he won't be joining Twitter - Louder

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March 17th, 2020 at 5:46 am