Greg Prato of UGO.com recently conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
UGO.com: How has the tour in support of "Nostradamus" been thus far, and what has the fans' reaction been to the new material?
Rob Halford: I think we've still got a long way to go with "Nostradamus", as far as settling into the psyche of the listeners — it's a big piece of work. It has to be understood from the beginning to the end — although you can pull tracks out and listen to them separately. It's like watching "The Lord of the Rings" — you have to watch all three to get the whole story. It's the same with "Nostradamus" — you've really got to be able to delve into it and fully understand the story, musically, and where the message is, to grab the concept of it. So it's still in the early stages, and we're still on this wonderful world tour — primarily to be back out amongst our metalhead fans all over the world, who we haven't seen for two years. We're still continuing to take the music around the world, and play some bits from "Nostradamus" and mix up the rest of the set. It's just "left the gate," so to speak, so I can't wait to see where we're at with it in two or three years' time.
UGO.com: It's been a little over ten years since you told the public you were gay. Looking back now, what prompted you to make it publicly known at that point, and not earlier?
Rob Halford: When you're a public figure, I think there's an expectation of knowing everything about a person. That's just the world that we live in. It was just becoming increasingly uncomfortable for myself to need — if the need was there - to hide that part of my person. So I did it primarily for myself — to set myself free of this wall that you put around. When you break that wall down, you're a different person to a great degree in the public's eye — you just remove all the innuendo and all of the comments, and remarks become futile. It's like spent ammunition. So you expose yourself even more to everything that you are as a person. For me, it was just a very important mental thing, more than anything else. Beyond that, it was just really incredible to see and feel the response back from the metal community, who basically said, "I don't give a fuck — as long as you keep singing metal, I don't really care." I think that was a great testimony to the openness and the human aspect of the metal community — being able to take that as it was. That's great. It was a good thing, and there was a lot of peripheral feedback that you never even consider. People saying, "Because of what you did, it gave me that extra push to do it myself." Wonderful, wonderful emails and so forth — even now when I meet people at meet-and-greets, that thank me for whatever it was that helped them through that moment themselves. You don't think about that — it just happens. So a lot of good came out of it.
UGO.com: Have any other metal musicians subsequently thanked you or said you inspired them to come to terms with their sexuality, as well?
Rob Halford: No — it would be ridiculous to think that the people that you know of, that there isn't at least one other gay metalhead out there. But then again, it's a personal choice — whether you want to step forward or not. I'd like to think that what I did, and that it didn't affect my career, is an encouragement. But then again, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. It's very much a private/personal choice to make.
UGO.com: What's in store for you and PRIEST in the future?
Rob Halford: We're finishing up this last part of the world tour with Mexico and South America, then we'll take a holiday break. And then we're back out on the road in February — we start a UK/European tour with MEGADETH and TESTAMENT. I don't know who we'll be working with in the States, but we'll do another leg in the States in the spring. And then, we're going into full-on "Nostradamus" preparation mode, to perform all of that mighty opus live on stage towards the end of the year. So we'll probably be DVDing that, and at the same time, there should be the HALFORD "Crucible" CD/DVD — much like we've done with this "Resurrection" package. So, there's a lot more metal to come…
Read the entire interview from UGO.com.