JUDAS PRIEST is currently recording a concept album about the 16th Century French prophet Nostradamus. In a recent interview with Rockdetector's Garry Sharpe-Young, Rob Halford admitted the band's often perceived secrecy was sometimes intentional. "Look, I love the Internet as a tool for knowledge gathering and for its amazing marketing possibilities but sometimes you have to step back a bit and present something in a better way," he said. "Just because the Internet allows you to give everything instantly does not always make that the right choice. I believe that if you go along to see a concert by your favorite band, as a fan, you hunger for that anticipation — what are they going to play? What's the stage look like? All those things. It's the same with a new record for us. We've whetted the appetites by revealing the Nostradamus concept. That's a big deal for us, actually. I could give you song titles and intimate details of the story and each track but we don't want to ruin it for fans. Just remember the last time you bought a record that you had been wanting to get your hands on for months and that magical moment when you hear the first note. We'd like to bring some of that excitement back. Metal in particular thrives on that kind of fan-driven word of mouth. It worked very well for us with 'Screaming for Vengeance' and very much so with 'Painkiller'. Fans were talking to each down the pub and saying, 'You really need to hear this!' We had it back in the very early days too when we were playing every pub and club that would have us. It was word of mouth that generated that huge support from all over the country that the London media suddenly saw manifest itself at the Reading festival in 1975."
Rockdetector.com: OK, without giving too much away then, what clues can you tease us with for "Nostradamus"?
Haford: "Not a lot, except that it's absolutely massive in its scope. I mean, it really is a very big concept, even possibly a double album. We're all totally into the whole idea and researching the man's life has opened up so many possibilities. Right now Glenn [Tipton] and Ken [K.K. Downing] have all the music written but we have to construct all of that into a meaningful story. It's hugely ambitious but I know the fans will be blown away."
Rockdetector.com: With your enthusiasm to build the excitement for this record, it seems you embrace both old style promotional tactics and you are obviously very keyed into the present game with your website and this new round of HALFORD solo releases.
Halford: "You have to be. I'm only looking at what works. Of course you have to have a great product in the first place, which is why the HALFORD albums and this new crop of releases has had so much effort gone into them. I didn't just want to rehash the existing albums so there is a lot of attention to detail. I actually think the possibilities for music distribution in the future are going to be wonderful but of course the whole industry is in a very painful transitional stage right now. Music consumption is going up very fast, but CD sales are going down. More people are coming out to shows too, so the world wants music. The question for the labels is how they deliver it. Won't won't change is that JUDAS PRIEST will be out there delivering the goods on stage"