ROB HALFORD Talks About METAL GOD APPAREL; Video Available

Artisan News Service spoke with JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford last week about Metal God Apparel, Halford's signature brand of t-shirts. Watch the interview at this location.

Greg Prato, the Long Island, New York-based journalist whose writing has appeared in All Music Guide, Classic Rock and Goldmine magazines, conducted an interview with Halford on September 30, 2009 in New York City. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

Q: How did your new fashion line, Metal God Apparel, come about?

Halford: I always liked dressing — ever since I was a little kid. And I think most of us did that when we were kids, dressing up. I think I've had the good fortune of being a little kid for most of my life, I still get excited when I get dressed to go on stage with PRIEST. And all the clothes you've seen me wear have generally been from collaborations — where I've sat down with people and put together the ideas. In that respect, I think I've had a connection with everything that I've done, as a professional musician/performer/entertainer — from the visual side of it. So this felt like a very natural extension of all of those ideas. On the business level, it's another step forward in the branding of the "The Metal God," which has been registered in trademark for a while. And also, just to really keep that feeling that I've always had, about making new things happen and make something different take place. As a creative person, I love that — I love that every day has a possibility, whatever it might be. And so, the clothing line is a brand new launch within the Metal God Entertainment production facility that we have. So here we are. Why now? I don't know. Some people are like, "Are you crazy? Look at the economy." But I don't think that's an issue. Fresh music is out every Tuesday, fresh movies are out every week. It doesn't stop any of us from being productive in that respect. I feel confident in the big picture that the economy is going to turn around soon. So I'm positioning, getting your face out there, getting your product out — it's just this very simple, early launch phase. I'm going to see where it takes us. I'm optimistic what we've got is kind of fresh and different within the market of the great competitors. With me, it's never simple - I think things through a lot. So that's where we find ourselves now — the end of September, to kick off Metal God Apparel throughout the world.

Q: Will the shirts be sold both online and in stores?

Halford: Like most successful ventures, I think you have to use both areas to the maximum. It's easier for us to give the initial launch through the website [www.metalgodapparel.com], because it's a very established, well-trafficked global site. To connect to the immediate fans that might be interested in this product, they can get it with a few clicks, and we have a secure PayPal server and everything, so it's all very simple and straightforward. It's all coming out of our offices in Arizona. We've got people that take care of the orders 24 hours a day, so that's easy. But having said that, it would be foolish to stay in that one world, I want to have the opportunity to break this out into retail — whether it's through Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, whatever. We're looking at lots of different possibilities and all of those people that I've mentioned have shown initial interest. So I think in essence it's heavy metal, rock n' roll — whatever you want to call it. I think everybody's got a bit of the rock n' roll spirit in them, and that's important — to be able to connect with everybody. I'm not looking for, in a business sense, a demographic of this side to this side - this is for everybody. I think again, the initial presentation of the thirteen designs has been pretty well received — the main push will be at the MAGIC convention next February in Las Vegas.

Q: How much of a say do you have in the t-shirt designs? Is it a collaboration?

Halford: Marc Sasso is the main illustrator and the graphic designer. He's from New York — in his own world, he's very established and successful as a illustrator. He's known me forever. So it's a combination of discussions and emails, and simply taking what he knows of me as a performer and as a writer — taking a look at the lyrics and bringing his own interpretation into the thinking process and coming up with the designs. So it's a collaboration.

Q: When will the shirts be sold at stores?

Halford: No idea. It would be foolish of me to say, "Next week or next month." I don't know. That's the thing, when you're in-house, you can control the destiny of everything, because it's from one spot. When you're talking about bringing in other people, you have to go through the politics and contracts, which take forever to do. But that's just the way it is with everybody — not just for me. So it's a lengthy process, but one you've got to go through. Because once you're in, generally it's a secure connection. But I would be optimistic and say that by next year, we should be pretty highly visible in some retail.

Q: More designs to come?

Halford: We're talking about as many as 30 complete, different designs by February. And again, that reflects on the times that we're in. Everybody's like focused on something for a week, and then it's like, "OK...what else have you got?" You have to be ready to accommodate people's needs in these modern times.

Read the entire interview at this location.

Check out photos by clicking here (courtesy of Kurt Christensen).

Rob Halford and Greg Prato (photo by Kurt Christensen)

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