A third Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination for Judas Priest has frontman Rob Halford indulging in all sorts of possibilities if the iconic heavy metal band gets the green light this year.
“I know you’ve seen this year’s selection, and it’s crazy,” said the metal god Billboard via Zoom from his home in Arizona. “My mind goes, ‘I have to duet with Dolly Parton! I have to duet with Kate Bush!’ If Lionel [Richie] and Priest come in, I think we’re both going to dance on the ceiling, together.
“It’s wonderful. As we’ve said before, it’s a blessing and it’s a rush – it’s always a rush to be nominated for the Hall, especially when you’re in the company of a such an eclectic group of fellow musicians.
First eligible in 2000 and long considered one of Rock Hall’s most important snubs, Judas Priest was first nominated in 2018 and again in 2020 and did well in the fan vote. but has yet to make the final list of inductees. “You go ‘Meh. Meh. Next time,” says Halford, while bassist Ian Hill – the only remaining member of the band’s original lineup in 1969 – adds from his home in England that “your enthusiasm tends to dwindle a bit when you were turned down twice. The first time we were absolutely thrilled, and of course we didn’t make it and that was disappointing. We didn’t make it the second time either, and if we are turned down again, I’m sure we won’t be as disappointed as the first time.
“But,” adds Hill, “it’s an honor. If we made it to the Hall of Fame, we’d be thrilled. »
For now, the band has embraced a “third time is the charm” mantra, which has given Halford further reason for optimism. “I Googled it and apparently it’s a British phrase, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s useful.’ Sending this, I thought of the Grammy; I said that about the Grammys, third time is the charm, and I think we had it [Best Metal Performance in 2010 for ‘Dissident Aggressor’]. And three is a lucky number in numerology, so there is a lot of karma and good vibes surrounding these three numbers. So maybe will be be the charm.
If induction happens, Halford and Hill both say they’ll also be happy to stand alongside founding guitarist KKDowning, who acrimoniously parted ways with the band in 2011 and now fronts his own band, KK’s Priest. “That’s not a problem for us, no,” Hill says. “Ken has been an integral part of this group for a long, long time. He deserves to be there with the rest of us. Halford predicts that “it won’t be as awkward as Ace and Peter [with Kiss]. I don’t think it will be bothersome at all. I think you have to drop all that because it’s the night that counts. It’s the timing that counts – but, again, the proverbial saying, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
The priest will be busy during the Rock Hall vote, of course. The band are set to resume their Covid-interrupted 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour on March 4 in Peoria, Illinois, with North American dates through mid-April. The group travels to Europe in May and June, and is scouting other territories for later in the year depending on the status of the pandemic. Guitarist Richie Faulkner has had what Hill calls “a famous recovery” from the ruptured aorta he suffered during Priest’s Sept. 26 concert at the Louder Than Life festival in Kentucky, which required surgery . “Richie is bored and can’t wait to get going,” Hill reports, adding that Faulkner and drummer Scott Travis, who both reside in Nashville, have begun work on Priest’s next album, which Halford says won’t be ready until 2023.
Upcoming dates will also include a quintet line-up with producer Andy Sneap back on guitar after Priest announced last month that he planned to tour as a quartet, without him.
“It’s all from me, it’s not from the band,” admits Halford, who considers that since the band was founded as a quartet, it would be fitting to return for a 50th anniversary celebration. “Of course, that blew up in my face, didn’t it?” Doing something like a four piece now wouldn’t have been right, ridiculous, crazy, crazy, off my rocker, have a cup of tea and relax. It’s kind of water under the bridge now. I think my heart was in the right place, but I’m not the first musician to have had a crazy idea.
Priest also weighed in on the ongoing controversy on Spotify following the removal of other artists from their music in protest at Joe Rogan’s polarizing podcast. He predicts the band won’t remove their music from the service but – with the caveat that he prefers to keep music and politics separate – says that “I applaud Neil Young for standing up for what he believes in so strongly. I think that each of us manages the circumstances of this drama as he sees fit. I don’t believe in sending misinformation or misinformation about something that has cost so many lives when the scientific facts speak for themselves. Everyone has an opinion — did [Young] do the right thing? Did he do wrong? You know what? Your opinion doesn’t matter. He did what was necessary for him. »