ROB HALFORD: RIPPER OWENS And I 'Have A Wonderful Musical And Professional Relationship'

Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an exclusive interview with JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Classic Rock Revisited: When the title track to [HALFORD's] "Resurrection" came out, a lot of fans were going, "Damn, Rob is starting to sound like PRIEST again."

Rob: "That was a deliberate effort on my part to reestablish the bridge back to the band. I felt that it was important to show that I still had a love and a dedication to metal. It was not an attempt to copy JUDAS PRIEST by any stretch of the imagination. I happened to work with a terrific producer named Roy Z, who was also a hardcore PRIEST fan, so much so that he ended up producing 'Angel of Retribution'. He really laid the tracks down in a way that was very important for the moment of reunification. I wanted to let everybody know that was still my world."

Classic Rock Revisited: During the same time, JUDAS PRIEST found Ripper Owens. Deep inside, did that dash any hopes that you may not get back with the band?

Rob: "Again, it is that unanswered question, isn't it? You just don't know. It is just a question of time and waiting and seeing. I didn't expect JUDAS PRIEST to sit around and wait for me to possibly come back or not. The band had to keep working. It took a while because Ripper was out there but they needed time to find him. He came in and did great work. Ripper is a great friend of mine. We have a wonderful musical and professional relationship."

Classic Rock Revisited: Really?

Rob: "Absolutely. Why shouldn't we?"

Classic Rock Revisited: Well, he did do you very well....

Rob: "He came from a tribute band to PRIEST. All the pieces were correct. Personally, I don't think they could have made a better choice. In his own heart he was waiting and hoping for the reunion. He stepped aside and was just as happy as everyone else was to see PRIEST reunited."

Classic Rock Revisited: Tell me about the upcoming DVD.

Rob: "We had a lot of fun in Japan. We were reminiscing about our early visits. We had not been there since our 'Painkiller' tour in 1991. We just brought in a DVD crew to capture it. When we looked at all the stuff we got after our two shows at the Budokan — which is very, very famous. It is like the Madison Square Garden of Tokyo. We watched our performance and we just knew we had to share this with our fans. It is not only the first time you see the band reunited but we are in a country that is part of the metal community. We wanted to have something of historical reference to capture everything that had been going on around us for the last 18 months."

Classic Rock Revisited: When you came out and spoke publicly about your sexuality, a lot of people thought that would be the end of your career. There was a belief that metal fans were white trash, homophobic and small minded. They did not turn on you.

Rob: "They didn't and it was wonderful, wasn't it? I think that just destroyed that myth. I, personally, was concerned about the backlash afterward. When I made the announcement, it was a very unpremeditated and off-the-cuff remark. It wasn't until 24 hours later that the fire storm went around the world and I wondered what the ramifications were going to be. Nothing negative came back from it. It was like everyone said, 'We don't care. What we want to see more than anything else is to see Rob back in PRIEST.' Metal fans are just as tolerant and compassionate as everybody else — probably more so, in this instance. It has not changed anything by one lick. The fans are still there, the show attendance is still there and the record sales are still there. It is wonderful to have them look at me and accept me for what I am outside of my musical career."

Read the entire interview at ClassicRockRevisited.com.

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