JUDAS PRIEST members Rob Halford (vocals), Richie Faulkner (guitar) and Glenn Tipton (guitar) were recently interviewed by BUILD Series. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the strong first-week sales of the group's new album, "Firepower":
Rob: "We can't get to where we get to, and we certainly couldn't have gotten this far on in doing what we do in metal, without our beautiful metal maniacs, our fans. Everybody's sharing in this moment. It's a big celebration. We thank you so much for giving us this great place in the Billboard charts and all the other places. It's fantastic. It just goes to show you the force and the power and the broad scope that metal still has, and continues to grow and develop. It feels fantastic."
On why the group chose "Lightning Strike" as the album's first single:
Richie: "I think it's a pretty immediate song. As soon as it goes on, it's in your face. It contains all the trademark elements that a PRIEST song does. It's powerful; it's fast; it's got the trademark screams, the trademark harmonies, the trademark guitar solo, drums and bass; so to announce a new record, we couldn't really think of anything better to put out there as the first single."
On opening concerts on their current tour with the title track of "Firepower":
Rob: "We're excited to share this moment of 'Firepower' with as many people as we can on this 'Firepower' world tour that's just started. It made absolute sense for us to kick off the night with the title track from the record. PRIEST has been a working band, as we call ourselves, for almost fifty years now, and whenever we go out, it is to promote our latest release. In this case, it was 'Firepower', and I think in the back of our minds as the record was coming together, we probably felt that this could be the lead-off track for the set each night that we play. It certainly sets the tone for the evening and just transcends into a really special moment."
On choosing to record "Firepower" with both Tom Allom and Andy Sneap:
Richie: "We whittled it down to these two guys. These were two guys who kept coming up, and we couldn't decide. I think it was actually Glenn [Tipton] that one day said, 'Why don't we get them both? Why don't we throw them both in the mix and see how it goes?' It could have gone horribly wrong. They could have trod over each other's toes creatively, or personally, they might not have got on."
On the band's lyrical themes:
Rob: "The longer you live, you should gain some wisdom and some perspective about life, and I think you filter that down in the work that you do. PRIEST has always had this message of solidarity and being united and together, and the messages that we send out, even though the music is extremely fierce and strong and potent and powerful, our messages are always about unity, and they're always about conquering challenges [and] oppressing evil. It's a very strong, positive, optimistic kind of projection that we've sent out pretty much from day one."
On not being voted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:
Richie: "You define a genre, both musically and visually, and you'd think that's something that's something the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is founded on. I guess not."
Rob: "I think we all believe that eventually, we'll get in there. We would like to get in there while we're still able to perform, because that's part of the ceremony for the induction. The fact that we were even nominated was a thrill, because no matter what your perspective is on the Hall Of Fame, it always creates a little bit of a ripple, a bit of controversy for whatever reason, but the Hall Of Fame is not just rock n' roll — it's all kinds of genres, as it should be. We just want to see some more metal in there. There definitely needs to be some more heavy metal in the halls, so hopefully one day, PRIEST will get that opportunity."
Richie: "To be honest, fifty years into a career, blazing new music and selling out arenas, with the fans around the world, that's what it's about. That's as big an accolade as you can ever get, and it's the fans that put it there. It's thanks to them that the band's been going for fifty years and continues to forge new metal. That's as much of an accolade [as] I think anyone can ever ask for, really."
JUDAS PRIEST kicked off the "Firepower" world tour on March 13 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
"Firepower" was released on March 9 via Epic. The follow-up to 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" was recorded by Sneap, Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). The cover artwork for "Firepower" was created by the Chilean/Italian artist Claudio Bergamin.
The North American leg of the "Firepower" tour will wrap on May 1 in San Antonio, Texas.