Gary Graff of Billboard.com conducted an interview with singer Rob Halford of British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.On the band's next album: Halford: [Guitarist Glenn Tipton and I] began writing new music early on this year, before we went out on the road. We have about 12 or 14 tracks completely mapped out, four of which have been recorded and mixed and are ready to go... so the good news is that there will be a brand new PRIEST record next year."
"I think it's fair to say that this is going to be just another great, traditional British heavy metal album from PRIEST with what you love about the band -- the riffs, the screaming vocals, all of the tradition and heritage that we try to keep somehow in our music as we've moved along." On JUDAS PRIEST's ongoing "Epitaph" farewell world tour: Halford: [We are] taking every opportunity to let our fans know this is not the end of JUDAS PRIEST. We're just cutting back on these big, long treks around the world that we love to do. But yet we're facing mortality; as a metal singer I'm still able to do the vast majority of things that have laid out before me...but I'd be the first to admit that I'm finding it more challenging now, and I don't want to get into that syndrome where you end up a little bit punch-drunk and you're not giving the performance that you want to give. I'm delighted that we're taking this approach because the inevitable payoff is that it gives the band more life. We're able to continue doing selective shows in the future and, as importantly, keep recording and making new metal records." On possibly playing a live show based on PRIEST's 2008 concept album "Nostradamus": Halford: "That is a very important record for us. We had a big-picture aspect of what we wanted to do with 'Nostradamus' in mind of course, to play it in its entirety, which is completely feasible and because we are cutting back on these intense tours we can focus more on that." On how guitarist Kenneth "K.K." Downing's departure is comparable to his own time away from the band between 1992 and 2003: "PRIEST has always been there. PRIEST has never been away. The attitude is that the band is bigger than you. The music and the heritage and the tradition of the band is bigger than one member of the group. That's really important to think about, you know?" On Downing's replacement, Richie Faulkner: Halford: "[He is] a phenomenal talent [and] a tremendous boost and a relief as well. There are a lot of different feelings we went through, But Richie is out there night after night, tearing up the stage and delivering the goods, as we like to say." Read more from Billboard.com.