Former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford has issued the following statement regarding the postponement of HALFORD's West Coast dates and the group's upcoming touring activities:
"Well, hello from Walsall, England.
"I'm pleased to see that all information regarding my misfortune has been disclosed. I've always enjoyed a very close relationship with my supporters around the globe something I never take for granted.
"I sincerely apologize to everyone that traveled into Las Vegas for the HALFORD performance. I'm a fan of hundreds of musical groups, and I would feel the same as many of you are feeling right now, had I experienced what you have.
"It was a very low moment for me — having to sit on that flight back to London. I was distraught the whole time, constantly recalling the hard work and planning put in by the band's fan base, the band members, crew, promoters, business staff, etc. The experience yielded a nightmarish sensation. One that I'm still stunned and upset over.
"This afternoon I began feeling better, knowing [personal manager] JB [a.k.a. John Baxter] was moving quickly to resolve my visa matter, along with, quickly moving to reschedule the dates - and add a few more dates — prior to HALFORD departing on our tour of Japan.
"To those that traveled into the U.S. from Canada, U.K. / Europe and Australia understand that I am committed to bringing the band into each of those countries as soon as possible. I pledge to see that each of you have an opportunity to see the band perform with our compliments and attend a private meeting with myself, Mike, Bobby, Roy and Ray. Please contact us through e-mail so we can get your info and follow up once we have our ducks in a row.
"Moving on briefly, we've been keeping things secretive for some months now, but extensive plans are being made for a HALFORD tour - beginning late March in the U.S. — with as many as 6 Special Guests from the various genres in Metal.
"The tour is titled: The 2003 Metal Gods World Tour. It's a thought that I've had for a few years now, basically touring with some of the top bands in the Speed Metal, Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal genres, etc.
"I'm a huge fan of the enormous number of Metal bands around the world, and this tour will allow me to indulge myself by sharing stage time with many of my favorite artists, while also bringing a strong touring package to the Metal-starved fans around the world. The billing will be announced in the next month or so, and the tour should certainly satisfy your Metal addiction.
"Even though the events of the last 5 months have been a tough pill to chew, realize I am extremely grateful for your passion and commitment to the HALFORD band and music. We'll be in front of you before you know it, so let's focus on the coming weeks and months we'll have together, as the band tours in support of what I consider to be one of my finest releases: 'Crucible'.
"I extend my best wishes to everyone for the New Year, and I wish each of you the best and safest New Year's celebration possible.
"I look forward to seeing everyone soon."