Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3 recently conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford about the band’s current North American co-headlining tour with DEEP PURPLE. You can listen to the entire chat via the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the combined years of DEEP PURPLE and JUDAS PRIEST at nearly 100:
Rob: “PRIEST is about to go into our 50th [year] in 2019. So that’s a good point of reference, put both bands together. The music that we’re making, the songs that we’re playing, both of us, I guess, will be playing songs right from the roots of where we came from and new material as well. PURPLE had a new album drop recently. Both bands are active, both bands are vital. We’re not living on our past glories. Both are making new music and that’s important.”
On trying to choose a setlist when paired with DEEP PURPLE:
Rob: ‘It’s certainly the case for PRIEST right now and I’m sure when I see the guys in a few days from now in PURPLE, they’re probably in the same, cool dilemma. Listen, if we didn’t have ‘Breaking The Law’ or the Harley roar out with ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, and screaming at you with the ‘Painkiller’, these are important songs. These are the touchstones of what represents PRIEST. Again, I’m sure it’s the same for PURPLE. When you think of the band, there are instant songs that have worked into your head and you look forward to hearing those songs when you see the band live. We’re covering those areas, but equally, this is the ‘Firepower’ tour, this is the worldwide JUDAS PRIEST ‘Firepower’ tour that will be going for two years by the time we wrap up, so, yeah, we do our best to give you the songs you want to hear and maybe some new songs that you never heard before — you never know. We have a warm-up room backstage where we jam all the time. We can throw something in that night just off the cuff. You never know.”
On PRIEST‘s ability to be heavy in many different ways on “Firepower”:
Rob: “It’s the JUDAS PRIEST style of heavy metal and that can be anything once we put our signature on it. Melody, a lot of melody. Hooks are important. Stuff that you can grasp on to. These are all vital. Those elements have been with PRIEST from day one and I don’t think we’ve lost any of that with ‘Firepower’. All of these things combined made PRIEST the unique metal band that we are. There’s no other band like PRIEST and we’re happy to have it that way. We just did a European run and mixed it up with big festivals and shows and there’s a part in the show where we do ‘Tyrant’, which is pretty fast, then we do ‘Night Comes Down’, which is a ballad off ‘Defenders Of The Faith’, then we go full-on with ‘Freewheel Burning’. It’s just like a roller-coaster ride at that part of the show. And that’s the joy of a PRIEST show as far as the ride will take you on. We can just go full-on a million miles an hour, then we can put the brakes on with ‘Night Comes Down’ then take off again. It’s part of the dynamics of a PRIEST show.”
On whether technology has changed the writing process for PRIEST:
Rob: “No. I think if your heart is still in the right place, you’re excited, you’re buzzing, you’re tuned into the creative energy that’s flowing in the room and you sit down like we did for ‘Firepower’, Glenn [Tipton, guitar], Richie [Faulkner, guitar] and myself, it’s great when you turn up at the studio, make a cup of tea, talk about what you did last night and what’s going on, blah, blah, blah, you sit down and turn the amps on and anything can happen, it’s a rush. It’s so unbelievable that you’ll end the day with a song that’s going to live longer than you are. But that’s the joy of music with the creative parts that are in the band. What was thrilling for PRIEST on this one was that we’re still able to pull out all the stops. We have a song [called] ‘Delivering The Goods’ and I feel that’s what we really did with the music for ‘Firepower’ this time.”
On whether he channels inspiration from a different perspective when writing for his solo project versus PRIEST:
Rob: “To some extent, yeah. [HALFORD solo albums] ‘Resurrection’, ‘Crucible’, [FIGHT‘s] ‘War Of Words’, ‘A Small Deadly Space’, the Christmas album [‘Winter Songs’], I just have a lot of fun when I’m in a different area of working with musicians. There’s a part of me that’s always in PRIEST when I’m doing my solo work. I love PRIEST to death and it always spills into whatever I do. I still get a buzz out of the possibility of working with different musicians. I was with Ihsahn from EMPEROR a week ago today at the Bloodstock festival and it was, ‘Let’s do something.’ I was with Nergal the week before from BEHEMOTH, so we’re thinking what would happen if you had Ihsahn, Nergal and Halford together in a room, what would happen? Just to think about it…you don’t know. The thing about music is that you can talk about it until you’re blue in the face but until you get in that room and start being creative, you never know what will come out of the speakers. All these great things have happened.”
The JUDAS PRIEST and DEEP PURPLE co-headlining tour launched August 21 in Cincinnati and will conclude September 30 in Wheatland, California.
“Firepower” entered the Billboard 200 chart at position No. 5, making it the band’s highest-charting album ever.