ROB HALFORD - The True Definition Of Metal
December 17, 2007, 10 years ago
The last time I sat down with JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford was a mere six months ago. At that time, he did an all-encompassing interview. This time around we focus on the new FIGHT re-releases and War Of Words - The Film.
Mitch Lafon: Let's talk War Of Words - The Film. Also, the 'live' part is a set of clips set to music. Can you tell me the concept behind that?
Rob Halford: “Firstly, it's very exciting 'cause it's Fight round two. I never anticipate anything so when these things become real - it's just a great moment. This retrospective look back is a very important part of my career when I ventured into some solo activities for the first time. The music still resonates. We're already into the second printing of the Film and the K5 demos, which shows that the metal heads around the world are a hardcore following for the band and the band's music. The movie itself was a conglomeration of ideas that came to us when we realized that all of us had video cameras at that time. We had them with us from the studio to Amsterdam to shows around the world and coming off the experience we had with Metal God Essentials Volume 1 - we realized that we had all this amazing footage so why don't we look at all of it and present all of those great experiences that we were going through and let's try to make something really special here to represent the band. That was the genesis of the idea and it took an enormous amount of time and effort from everyone here at the office in Phoenix, Arizona. It's been a real cool thing to do, but mixed emotions for me since I'm back doing the Priest - the band that I love more than anything in the world. What all of us do in any endeavour is important to keep as a metal memory, so that's how the Fight piece has come together. It's a combination of the movie, which is a cool 15-20 minute documentary of what was going on with the creation of the band and the reaction of the media, to the bulk of it which is the qualifying moment for me - watching the band perform live on stage from all those different locations (that have been edited together).”
Lafon: Is the audio track from a single source live show?
Halford: “It's a bit of a mix. Some of it is from Paris and some from other places in Europe. That was Roy Z's territory. He's a little maestro in that world. He's a genius when it comes to making the audio work. The audio sounds great. In the movie theatre, it's just phenomenal with the 5.1 Surround jacked up to 11 with the fans jumping up and down in the seats giving it the devil's sign. It's a really spectacular atmosphere that I've never experienced before. Having said that - the fans around the world are eating up The Fight movie and the demos.”
Lafon: It's quite amazing that Fight has this second life because when it came out in the '90s the music scene was changing and there was a resistance because you had left Priest. It had a core following, but now it seems to be accepted by the core following plus a whole new set of fans. That has to be rewarding.”
Halford: “Actually, it's great. I think we were a little bit out of the game and I'm glad Mitch that you made that point about the state of the music industry at that time. Grunge was just dominating everything and metal was getting pushed to the side and we got over-looked. Any band needs all of the elements in the industry (media, radio, whatever) to give you the support and we didn't have that.”
Lafon: With all the media attention Fight is getting now - do you think you might want to do a new proper Fight album? Do a live tour? Or it is a case of I've been there done that and it is what it is?
Halford: “I think there's a lot to be said for leaving great moments as they were. Sometimes when you try to recapture those moments, it's not so good the second time around. Having said that we were all together (for the first time in years) for the Mann's Chinese theatre show, but we've never really talked about this. It may be that we said everything that we needed to say in War Of Wars and Small Deadly Space. There's no doubt that we could reunite as Fight and play War Of Words. That's a practical possibility, but again it's the timing of such as thing. How are we going to do it? It would have to be a world trek and Priest is the leading component in my life now since we got back together and Priest is this monster that devours up everything. I've been lucky to have this little bit of time to release the Fight movie and demos. I'm back in the studio with the guys next week (week of December 17th) to triple and quadruple check my vocals because I'm such a critical person in what I do. So, let's leave it as it is right now and enjoy the movie, enjoy the music and…”
Lafon: On the Fight K5 - The War Of Words Demos CD, you have five new tracks. We're they newly recorded for this project or where they out-takes from back then?
Halford: “I had forgotten all about them. They were in the same demo state as the rest of the material Mitch. At first, we couldn't find the tapes. They weren't in Arizona. They were in California in a L.A warehouse. It was just a pleasure to hear those master tapes and then suddenly it was 'oh, what's this? It's Beast Denies. Oh, that's cool. I forgot about that and what's this? Oh, that's Down. What are we going to do with this new music? Let's throw it all in.' It's all part of the time of that band's demoing stage in the blazing summer in Phoenix. It's music that was written and demoed at the same time as the rest of the material of War Of Words.”
Lafon: The vocals as well?
RH: “Yeah. Nothing's been touched. It's all fresh.”
Part II coming soon - Halford updates BW&BK; on Priest's upcoming album Nostradamus and other solo ventures.