Garry Sharpe-Young of Rockdetector.com spoke to JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford this week about the group's appearance tomorrow (March 31) at the Royal Albert Hall in central London for a benefit gig in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Rockdetector.com: I can recall an earlier discussion of ours where you told me the band was desperate to play the Birmingham NEC, which you've now achieved of course, but here we are talking about the Royal Albert Hall. That's not a gig I ever expected to see on your itinerary.
Halford: "It's just incredible, it really is. I would never have imagined it myself but here we are almost ready to go. I'm just absolutely thrilled because it is such a prestigious building and the reason we are there, for the Teenage Cancer Trust, is so rewarding too. We're playing with our very good friends the SCORPIONS and IAN GILLAN is there too. I cannot remember the last time we saw Ian so it's going to be an amazing event. I was just thinking that this will be the first time a Harley Davidson has trundled across the Royal Albert Hall stage! I'm absolutely certain that when Queen Victoria had the place built for Prince Albert she never imagined that in her wildest dreams!"
Rockdetector.com: As you mentioned, this is in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. How did you get involved with that organization?
Halford: "Actually it was through a personal experience of our manager Bill Curbishley. He had a friend who had to deal with this issue a few years ago and since then he has been doing everything he can to help by raising funds and awareness. Cancer is such a terrible, horrible disease, particularly when it hits the young. There have been some major achievements in recent years in developing new treatments and learning how the disease can be beaten but the only reason that happens is because there is this dedicated body of people working all the time on it. Of course, it's very expensive so events like this help out enormously. I've learned a lot about this from Bill recently. The reason we've focussed on the Teenage Cancer Trust is because part of the whole method of beating cancer is to be totally positive. It's really important. A lot of research has shown that putting kids with cancer in the same hospital wards as other generations really wasn't helping. We're raising money to build and maintain specialised wards, just for teenagers, right across the country. If they are in the same environment as people their own age it helps them keep focused and optimistic and it really works. The benefits are remarkable, just by having that attitude. Roger Daltrey is the sponsor this year. He's taken the helm for this event so I'm sure we'll see him there. He's done a wonderful job."
Rockdetector.com: Are you an internet junkie? Your Quorum on your personal website is always a hive of activity.
Halford: "I find it amazing, especially the speed information travels. I know that within minutes of us getting off stage tomorrow there will be posts about the show. It's very valuable feedback. When 'Angel Of Retribution' came out the response on the internet was just incredibly positive and seeing the fans posting reviews from shows was incredible too. We really knew we were on the right track.
We were just talking about the power of radio there but the internet has completely turned everything on its head. I know some people have great difficulty with it because there is no control to it. You get the very good and the very bad, the whole human spectrum. In the old days you would place great importance on key people like DJs and journalists but now everybody has a voice. It's absolutely fascinating."
Read the entire interview at Rockdetector.com.