Judas Priest’s Rob Halford Names His Single Biggest Influence

Judas Priest‘s Rob Halford has served as one of metal’s most influential figures of all time. But who is the Metal God’s biggest influence? The singer revealed that and more in a new interview with GQ ahead of the Sept. 29 release of his memoir, Confess.

Born in 1951, Rob Halford almost pre-dates rock ‘n’ roll’s existence and he was there to see this exciting new development unfold. The real rock awakening, though, came with the ascension of The Beatles and it’s one of the “Fab Four” in particular that the Priest frontman count’s as his ultimate influence.

John Lennon,” responded Halford to GQ when pressed about that one all-powerful musical figure in his life. “I’ve always been a big Beatles fan and always will be,” he continued, “and I just feel that what he was offering about striving for world peace was an incredibly moving and powerful thing to do. He was an ambassador for world peace. He wasn’t Gandhi – he had a different take on it – but, as far as what he was trying to achieve.”

Beyond advocating for peace, Lennon left an impact on Halford in other ways. “And add to that the incredible music he wrote with Paul McCartney, for me, musically and personally, in the way he conducted himself and the way he had that incredible indestructible self belief, he is a big one,” the Metal God beamed, adding, “He always had this great gift, this great oratory gift to engage people and explain his feelings. I’m sure he’d still be doing great music and making a difference today if he’d been able to.”

Keeping with the theme of celebrity, Halford also divulged his ideal candidate to play him in a theoretical movie about his life. Well, sort of… the selection may require a time machine. “I’d like it to be a Brit,” said Halford, narrowing down the list of potentials.

“If there was a young Gary Oldman that would be good,” he admitted, “but then with CGI you can do anything now, can’t you? He was mind-blowing as Winston Churchill and he’s just a national treasure, isn’t he? He could do the job I’m sure! All this wishful thinking is fun.”

Pre-order your copy of Confess here.

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Rob Halford Admits He Has a New Addiction: Online Shopping

Rob Halford gained control of his issues with drink and drugs decades ago. But that doesn’t mean he’s free of every bad habit.

“I love my movies and my Netflix,” Halford tells GQ, “but don’t get me on my Amazon Prime at three in the morning when I can’t sleep! My other half, Thomas, will ask me, ‘What is that at the gate?’ And I usually haven’t a clue because I just ordered something late at night. It’s almost like an addiction, to be quite frank. And if you’ve got addictions, which most musicians do, you need a fix somehow. … My addiction these days is definitely Amazon Prime.”

The Judas Priest frontman is discussing aspects of his life that he’s never made public before as part of a forthcoming memoir. Confess: The Autobiography is due next month.

Elsewhere in the interview, he was asked to reveal the secret to a long-lasting relationship.

“Thomas and I have been together about 1,000 years, but here’s a simple equation,” Halford said. “He does the cooking and I do the dishes. It’s as simple as that. And you can take that through to every other level in your relationship. It has to be 50-50. If it’s 75-25, it’s wonky and you have to be perfectly balanced. You have to constantly work at it and that can be hard, but otherwise things can dry up and go stale.”

Halford also explained why John Lennon was the person who had the most influence on him.

“I’ve always been a big Beatles fan and always will be. … I just feel that what he was offering about striving for world peace was an incredibly moving and powerful thing to do,” Halford said. “He was an ambassador for world peace. He wasn’t Gandhi; he had a different take on it. But as far as what he was trying to achieve – and add to that the incredible music he wrote with Paul McCartney. For me, musically and personally, in the way he conducted himself and the way he had that incredible indestructible self belief, he is a big one.

“He always had this great gift, this great oratory gift to engage people and explain his feelings,” Halford added. “I’m sure he’d still be doing great music and making a difference today if he’d been able to.”
 

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Rob Halford: I Once ‘Tried to Seduce’ Iron Maiden’s Paul Di’Anno

Rob Halford admits to an unsuccessful attempt at seduction aimed at onetime Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno in the Metal God and Judas Priest frontman’s upcoming book, Confess: The Autobiography.

It happened back in 1980 when Priest were on tour supporting their British Steel album. During the U.K. leg, the band was supported by a Di’Anno-fronted Maiden, who had just issued their eponymous debut.

And even though tensions were high between the camps — at the time, Di’Anno sneered that Maiden would “blow Judas Priest off stage every night” and Priest’s K.K. Downing threatened to have them kicked off the trek  — Halford still tried to take a shot at the Iron Maiden vocalist, as Classic Rock reported.

“We didn’t really hang out and banter with Maiden much on that tour,” Halford recalls in his memoir, “but maybe I took Di’Anno’s comment that he would blow Priest off stage too literally… because the one night we got drunk together, I tried to seduce him!”

Alas, both rockers’ drunkenness prevented anything from happening. The Judas Priest figurehead continues, “We went to my room to carry on drinking, but I was too pissed to try anything, and he was too pissed to even know what I wanted to try.”

Elsewhere in Confess, Halford recounts myriad other tales about his “extraordinary five decades in the music industry,” a book synopsis explains. Those include the Judas Priest vocalist’s “unlikely encounters with everybody from Superman to Andy Warhol, Madonna, Jack Nicholson and the Queen. More than anything else, it’s a celebration of the fire and power of heavy metal.”

Halford’s autobiography arrives Sept. 29 via Hachette Books. Pre-orders are available now.

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Judas Priest to Celebrate ’50 Heavy Metal Years’ in 648 Page Book

Judas Priest are commemorating their history with a 648-page coffee table book called Judas Priest — 50 Heavy Metal Years.

Arriving in early December, it’s the first authorized book about the band, with contributions from all current members of the group, as well as journalist Mark Blake. 50 Heavy Metal Years also contains hundreds of photographs from Ross Halfin, Neil Zlozower, Mark Weiss, Fin Costello, Oliver Halfin and others. Mark Wilkinson, who created the artwork for six Judas Priest albums, designed the cover.

“We spearheaded the visual image of metal – breathing new life into it and it has been captured forever in the pages of this book,” guitarist Glenn Tipton said in a press release.

“I’ve photographed Judas Priest from 1978 until now and of all the bands I’ve worked with they are one of the most enjoyable to me,” photographer Ross Halfin, who helped compile the book, added. “You have to love the mighty Priest.”

There will be four versions of 50 Heavy Metal Years. The Standard Edition (pictured above) comes in a cloth slipcase with red foil, while the Deluxe Edition, limited to 500 numbered copies, is bound in black leather with gold foil and a lenticular image on the front, and also contains a fold-out poster.

Only 100 copies will be made of the Glenn Tipton Parkinson’s Foundation Charity Edition, which contains a blue cover and is housed in a cloth slipcase with blue foil. All proceeds go to the Glenn Tipton Parkinson’s Foundation, created in 2018 after the guitarist revealed that he was diagnosed with the condition. These three editions measure 12″x12″.

Finally, there is the Epic Leather and Metal Edition, which is 16″x16″ and comes in die cut black metal slipcase. The book, restricted to 100 copies, is bound in padded black leather with gold foil and a lenticular image, with a poster included. All but the Standard Edition are personally signed by Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis.

Pre-orders will begin this Friday, Sept. 11 at 10AM Eastern at Rufus Publications’ website. Rufus also promises merchandise bundles and says that fans will be able to get a 10 percent discount by using the code PRIEST50.

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Judas Priest Announce ’50 Heavy Metal Years’ Book

Judas Priest have announced their first official book documenting a half-century of history behind the Rob Halford-led metal band.

Appropriately, it’s called Judas Priest – 50 Heavy Metal Years. Compiled by veteran rock photographer Ross Halfin along with David Silver and the band’s manager, Jayne Andrews, the tome also contains written retrospectives by the group’s current members. It’s due to be released in time for Christmas.

“I’ve photographed Judas Priest from 1978 until now,” Halfin says, “and of all the bands I’ve worked with they are one of the most enjoyable to me — you have to love the mighty Priest.”

Per a press release, the 648-page coffee table book contains “hundreds of unseen, unpublished photographs from rock’s greatest photographers including Ross Halfin, Neil Zlozower, Mark Weiss, Fin Costello, Oliver Halfin and many more. With a linking text by renowned journalist Mark Blake the book explores the band’s exciting history on stage and off in a unique photo documentary.”

Explains Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton, “We spearheaded the visual image of metal — breathing new life into it, and it has been captured forever in the pages of this book.”

Four different editions of the book will be printed, including a special charity version of 100 numbered, blue foil-covered copies that will benefit Tipton’s namesake Glenn Tipton Parkinson’s Foundation. (The guitarist made public his diagnosis with the disease in 2018.) Beyond that, a standard edition, deluxe edition and “Epic Leather and Metal Edition” will also be made available.

Pre-orders for Judas Priest – 50 Heavy Metal Years begin Sept. 11 at rufuspublications.com.

Rufus Publications

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30 Years Ago: Judas Priest Release ‘Painkiller’

By the mid-1980s, British metal pioneers Judas Priest seemed like they were running out of ideas, or at the very least, losing focus. 1986’s Turbo featured chirpy keyboards that sounded new wavey and 1988’s Ram It Down was slightly heavier, but marred by sub-par songwriting and out-of-place synths, and it featured an awful cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

Just when it looked like Judas Priest had been dethroned by a new wave of thrash bands that included Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, the defenders of metal lashed back with their 12th album, Painkiller, which was released on Sept. 3, 1990.

In an effort to recapture the credibility they once held so dear, Judas Priest ratcheted up the tempos, ramped up their aggression and wrote a batch of songs that approached the ferocity of speed metal. Straight out of the gate, Priest fired on all cylinders with a barrage of hammering double-bass drumming, blowtorch guitars and banshee vocal shrieks.

“I just think that the early thrash metal movement was a sign that the industry had to keep evolving and moving and so do the bands,” ex-guitarist K.K. Downing told me in 2010. “It’s just the natural course, and at that particular time I just thought something new is always good. I can remember doing gigs with Slayer in the early ‘80s, and guess I resigned myself to accepting the fact that it was bound to go this way. So then when Priest did Painkiller, it was bound to be an inspiration for a lot of bands to get faster and heavier.”

Judas Priest, “Painkiller”

Iconic vocalist Rob Halford still considers the title track, a barreling showcase of speed and agility, to be one of his favorite Priest tunes. The song tells the story of a gleaming metal angel sent to avenge mankind from the evildoers in the world. “I think it’s a wonderful statement. It embodies what metal is – it’s everything a full-on screamy metal track should have,” he told Kerrang! magazine in 2013. “Everybody is going a million miles an hour on it, and yet the melody still comes across. It’s become a very important song for Priest, and for metal too, I think.”

Other tracks, including the chunky, chugging “Hell Patrol” (about U.S. pilots in the first Gulf War), the guitar-blazing “Metal Meltdown,” the charged, melodic “Between the Hammer & the Anvil” and the slower, hook-saturated “A Touch of Evil” were instrumental in proving to old fans that the band could crush and maim with feral abandon and then step back and deliver a more deliberate blast of mid-paced songwriting.

Judas Priest, “A Touch of Evil”

Painkiller marked the debut of drummer Scott Travis (ex-Racer X), who provided more urgency and flair to the band’s songs than Judas Priest’s earlier drummers, perfectly complementing the band’s renewed energy and immediacy. Travis, who has been with the band for 25 years, is Judas Priest’s longest lasting drummer.

The group started writing Painkiller in late 1989 and entered Miraval Studios in Correns, France, with producer Chris Tsangarides (Anvil, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath) in January, 1990. Three months later, the band finished the record at Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum, Netherlands. Judas Priest had wanted to release Painkiller as soon as possible so fans would know the songs by the time the group was knee-deep into summer touring.

However, CBS Records decided to postpone the release of the album until the verdict from the Vance Vs. Judas Priest trial came in. The court case involved two young adults in Reno, Nevada, who entered a suicide pact on Dec. 23, 1985 after receiving “so called” subliminal messages from the song to “Better By You, Better Than Me,” which is on Judas Priest’s 1978 album Stained Class. The case was dismissed due to lack of evidence on August 24, 1990 and CBS promptly found a slot on their release schedule for Painkiller.

Judas Priest, “Hell Patrol”

The album entered the Billboard album chart at No. 26 and went gold four months later. To date, Painkiller has sold over two million copies worldwide. Judas Priest toured around the world throughout 1991, but during that time tensions were growing between Halford and the rest of the band. The singer wanted to pursue his own brand of thrash-influenced metal with a side project and his bandmates felt he should devote himself solely to Priest, especially since the group seemed to be staging a comeback. Incensed, Halford quit in 1992 via a fax and continued his metal career, first with Fight, then with Halford.

Judas Priest took some time off, then returned with new vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens in 1996. Interest in the band waned and the venues they played became smaller. Twelve years after quitting, Halford returned to Judas Priest to play Ozzfest and the band’s career was effectively resurrected.

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

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