HALFORD have officially parted ways with Sanctuary Records after having released two studio albums and one double live CD through the label.
The band, who recently cancelled the North American leg of their The Metal Gods 2003 tour due to contractual difficulties, "were released from [their] recording agreement with Sanctuary, with two albums remaining, in March," according to HALFORD manager John Baxter. "We all appreciate Sanctuary's gesture and understanding that we see no future together."
The split, which was said to be far from amicable, comes on the heels of the ex-JUDAS PRIEST frontman's recently-issued public statement in which he accused Sanctuary of sabotaging the promotional campaign for HALFORD's last studio album in an effort to bring the singer back together with his former group.
The band blood between the two parties was apparently strong enough for HALFORD to pass on the opportunity to tour with IRON MAIDEN in Europe during the summer. "[Rob] loves the [IRON MAIDEN] bandmembers, but [he] didn't want anything to do with Sanctuary [who handle management for MAIDEN]," said Baxter. "Being burned is being burned."
HALFORD, who are currently unsigned, are "not in need of a label at present, and yes, many are interested in working with HALFORD," stated Baxter.
As in the past, HALFORD will likely self-finance the recording of the band's next album before handing it off to their next record company, an approach that Baxter says has worked out well for them in the past.
"Rob has self-financed EVERY solo release he's made," he said. "No label has had any involvement in the creation of any one of Rob's solo recordings, and with rare exception I do not see that changing.
"Rob and I personally dropped a gold nugget on Sanctuary's desk ('Resurrection') hours after we finished it in Holland (early part of 2000)," Baxter added. "Again, no one at the company had any say in that release, nor were they given a say in 'Live Insurrection' or 'Crucible'."
HALFORD's next studio album, which is not expected to surface before early 2004, will once again feature Roy Z. in the producer's chair. "Roy Z. is our only choice as producer of HALFORD, and like each of the three releases HALFORD has created, Roy will play guitar on HALFORD's next release — as is called for," Baxter confirmed.
The bassist slot, which was recently left vacant by the departure of longtime member Ray Riendeau, will likely be permanently filled by the addition of ex-LIZZY BORDEN bassist Mike Davis, who played with the group at their most recent U.S. dates.
"The band and I would like Mike Davis to continue with HALFORD, and every indication from Mike is that he would like nothing more," Baxter said.
In other news, HALFORD's previously-announced "scaled-down" version of The 2003 Metal Gods North American Tour, which is set to kick off early next month, has been further abbreviated by the cancellation of the San Diego and Tucson gigs on June 11 and June 13, respectively. Says Baxter: "Both San Diego and Tucson promoters appreciated this decision, for they felt they could have benefited from a few more weeks of promotion time."
Upcoming HALFORD tour dates:
Jun. 03 - Petaluma, CA - The Phoenix
Jun. 04 - San Francisco, CA - The Avalon
Jun. 06 - Los Angeles, CA - HOB
Jun. 07 - Las Vegas, NV - HOB
Jun. 08 - Anaheim, CA - The Grove of Anaheim