JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford was the featured guest on Eddie Trunk's "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM last night (Friday, October 27). Speaking on the phone from his San Diego, California home, Rob discussed PRIEST's upcoming concept album about the legendary 16th-century French prophet Nostradamus and his forthcoming flurry of HALFORD and FIGHT reissues that will hit Apple's iTunes Music Store at the end of November via Halford's new label, MGE (Metal God Entertainment). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:On the upcoming JUDAS PRIEST album: "I'm taking kind of a little break away from the ongoing 'Nostradamus' sessions in England. Everybody is in the studio slaving away there. I think Glenn [Tipton] and K.K. [Downing] are probably not hard at work this time of night — they're probably partying somewhere. But, yeah, I'm back in San Diego. I'm here working on all of the monster lyrics for the 'Nostradamus' metal opera, which will be coming out sometime in 2007. "All the songs are done — I would say 99.9 percent — but we've still got some ideas we're working on. The bulk of the opera is complete as far as the writing goes, and I can't begin to tell you how excited we are about this. It's gonna be an absolutely spectacular moment for PRIEST to follow up the incredible reunion record 'Angel of Retribution'. We're just really, really pumped about this new music that we're making. It's colossal PRIEST — some things that you've never heard before from this band are taking place. We've just got our nose to the grindstone and we're working as fast as we can to get this all completed and wrapped up and released and out in 2007 along with some special-event shows, which we'll talk about as we get closer to that. You know, we're gonna be playing the entire opera from beginning to end. That in itself will be a unique moment for PRIEST to show to our fans around the world, and a stage show that you will not believe. . . I'm gonna kind of take on that role of the character and we're basically gonna be telling the story of his life. He had an incredible life as a man besides making these prophecies that he did. It's a great life story about the things that he went through as an individual on a personal level, so we're obviously discussing that. But we're surrounding his life lyrically with some phenomenal PRIEST music — stuff that we're just so excited about, and as I said, music that will just blow everybody away. I can't begin to discuss it, because my mind is full of the music even as I'm talking about it. So get ready for it. The PRIEST is gonna follow up after 'Angel of Retribution' with something that's gonna be bigger and better and stronger and more metallized than you've ever heard from the band." On what inspired him to write an entire album about Nostradamus: "I just think this is a great opportunity for me as a lyricist, because I've talked about these characters — the Painkiller and the Sinner and the Sentinel — and I've been in that world as a lyricist, and now I'm having the opportunity as a lyricist to talk about this man, this real figure from the 16th century and the great things that he did — his prophecies. Some people are very skeptical about them, some people believe them emphatically. There are schools of Nostradamus where you can attend and learn about his teachings and so on and so forth. People say that some of his predictions actually came to be real occurrences from the past and as we look into the future. So I was just fascinated by this man. He went through a lot of grief. Without getting too heavy, he lost his wife and kids during the Black Plague — he was able to save a lot of other people, but he couldn't save his family. So he lost the loves of his life and he was put into… he was banished from the Roman Catholic church. He went through a lot of tough stuff, but he was a very strong, resilient man. Besides being a prophet, he was an advocate of certain kinds of medicine that revolutionized the world of medicine at the time, and many, many, many things. So yeah, it's been fascinating to really try and cover that man's life and put it into lyrics to the music of PRIEST." On PRIEST's touring plans once the new abum is released: "We're gonna do two things. We're gonna do specialized event shows in special venues for the 'Nostradamus' production. And then, of course, we'll be doing another set of touring dates throughout the world as covering all the PRIEST classics, so you'll be getting PRIEST in two dimensions next year — you'll be getting PRIEST playing the whole 'Nostradamus' piece, which I'm sure the fans will embrace and love and wanna see, and then of course, we'll come back around and do a PRIEST show with all the great things that you love — 'Painkiller', 'Living After Midnight', 'Breaking the Law', 'The Sentinel', [and] whatever else we decide to play. So you'll be getting PRIEST in every manner that you love to see the band. We made everybody aware when we did the press release sometime ago that that was out intent, so we're not gonna blindside the fans and let them think they're coming to the show to hear all the wonderful PRIEST classics. We're gonna let everybody know well in advance that it'll be a multi-dimensional experience — you'll get the 'Nostradamus' tour, and then you'll get the PRIEST tour — PRIEST classics and everything else."
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