Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You left in 1992 after the tour for "Painkiller". Did you know you were going to leave?
Halford: No, I don't think any musician feels that way, whether it was when Bruce [Dickinson] stepped away from [IRON] MAIDEN or whether it was when Vince [Neil] stepped away from [MÖTLEY] CRÜE. It's just a very peculiar thing and even now I can't really fully understand the true circumstances of it. I sometimes reflect on what could have happened in those 10 years I was away. What records could we have possibly made together? It's easy to look back and use those moments in a better way. A lot of people look on that time as a little bit of a wilderness type of moment. For me personally, I think I was maybe exorcising some of my demons. You know what it's like to be in a band, Steve?
Ultimate-Guitar.com: I do.
Halford: It's a very, very fragile chain and you've got all these combustible components in the players. Not in a violent way, but just in a very frictional way. That's just the way it is in a rock and roll band. I think if any band tells you, "Oh yeah, we get along great and everything is wonderful," I think they're lying. Rock and roll should be about chaos and rock and roll is about making a fuss and kicking down doors and yelling and screaming. It needs to maintain that type of emotion and delivery.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: It sounds like you might have done things differently now that you're looking back at those moments.
Halford: Yeah, you know, whatever they say about hindsight, but you can't change the past. You can only enjoy what you've got now and look forward to the future, which is definitely how PRIEST are rockin' these days.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You returned to the band in 2005 and recorded the "Angel Of Retribution" album, which is represented on the "Epitaph" DVD with "Judas Rising". What did it feel like when you came back to JUDAS PRIEST after being away for 12 years?
Halford: The peculiar thing is even though we had very little communication for a decade, when we were back in each other's company it felt like nothing had really changed that much.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Is that right?
Halford: That's probably a good thing, because sometimes reunions work for another couple of years and then they break apart again. But I know I went back to the band with much more respect for everybody. I really felt that way just because of being away for a while, I was able to make sense of a lot of things that I wasn't able to before because I was too close to it. To come back together was almost a calming influence on me internally. I just felt like I was going back to where I belonged. I think we all felt good about being in that great process of writing and recording and couldn't wait to get back out together on the road. So the reunion was a very celebrated type of realization. Everybody felt good and everybody felt excited and eager to be back together again and to make some more metal.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Might there be a new JUDAS PRIEST sometime in the near future?
Halford: Yeah, that's what we're working on right now, Steve.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Working with [new JUDAS PRIEST guitarist] Richie Faulkner for the first time on an album is going well?
Halford: Yeah, and he's adding some dimensions that are very valuable and important to this new release. More than anything, Richie is the ultimate PRIEST fan and now he's in the band. What Richie is doing is just completing what needs to be done to maintain the heritage and legacy of PRIEST. That's what's so cool about Richie. We listened to a lot of stuff Richie was doing in his solo world and we firstly understood that he was a hell of a guitar player. But upon meeting him and doing that worldwide tour together, it felt so good that Richie has collaborated on some of this new material and it sounds absolutely incredible.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Richie is actually doing some writing on the next album?
Halford: Yeah, we're very excited and we're still looking forward and we've got plans for the future. In the meantime, it's time to celebrate with "Epitaph" and to look at the band and relive the metal memories together. For me, this is as much a documentary about the band as it is a music DVD. Yeah, it's like a documentary without kind of people talking. You can talk your head off about music but there's nothing to be said until you listen to it. So this to me is as much a documentary about the life of JUDAS PRIEST as it is about the "Epitaph" show.
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.