Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton have spoken to MTV.com about their decision to reform the most celebrated lineup of the pioneering heavy-metal band JUDAS PRIEST for a world tour and a new album next year.
Rumors that negotiations were under way for a reunion were circulating for months prior to the band's announcement last Friday (July 11) that Halford was returning to the fold after 12 long years.
"It's just a testament to the great love and power of the music of JUDAS PRIEST," Halford said. "This has been wanted and pleaded for for so many years. And obviously, with us all being in our separate worlds musically, we haven't really been able to seriously consider it until now."
"It's been almost a five-year process of rebuilding our friendship and musical bridges," Halford said. "So, this reunion has taken a lot of love and repair work and obviously we're thrilled that it's finally happened now."
"It was very emotional," guitarist Glenn Tipton said of the band meeting last week that led to the reunion announcement. "When I saw Rob, we decided right then to reunite and go back out there. It felt just like it did before he left the band. And the world's just gone mad about it. It's very exciting."
With regards to Halford's replacement, vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens, Tipton said, "We were quite happy being out with Ripper. He was the only person that could have stepped into Rob's shoes. We've all been enjoying ourselves and we've been relaxed, but we all feel the time is right now to go back out with Rob again, and Tim understands that."
Halford, Tipton and guitarist K.K. Downing will convene in September to write songs for the band's 16th studio album. The trio will work at various locations in the U.S., England and Spain, and while they plan to release the record in 2004 they won't be working by a strict timetable.
"Like every PRIEST record we wrote as a threesome, we never really thought much about what we were going to do or when we were going to do it by," Halford said. "We let the music take us where it felt right, and did what made us feel good. That's what will happen this time."
"The most important thing for us to do now is to put pen to paper," Tipton added. "The old writing trio of Tipton, Halford and Downing will be back together, and that should make for some classic songs."
According to Halford, PRIEST will support their next record with an extravagant worldwide tour.
"Before I left PRIEST, we did a humongous show, and we don't want to dissolve that down," he said. "We want to let people blink a couple of times, fast-forward to 2004 and go, 'God, look. There it is again. There's the spectacle. There's the power and the passion. There's the bike.' All these great things that you know and love and cherish about PRIEST are going to be back in front of your life in real time in 2004."