The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently conducted a short interview with JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford. The question-and-answer session follows:
Q: When JUDAS PRIEST announced the reunion of its classic lineup last year, many of the fans who applauded were younger than most of your music. To what do you attribute PRIEST's all-ages appeal?
Rob Halford: "I think it's the quality of the work. We live in such a fast-paced world, kids are looking for something with a bit more depth . . . more heritage and tradition."
Q: Why did you go back to the band?
Rob Halford: "I missed it. I missed it as a band, but I also missed them as friends. Also, the fans really wanted it. That's it. It's a very simple answer to what could have been a complicated question. It was like riding a bicycle, really. We'd already spent the best part of 25 years working together and, unlike some other bands, it was never a bitter break-up."
Q: Watching you perform at Ozzfest last year, and seeing Bruce Dickinson with IRON MAIDEN at this year's fest, underscored to me how few of the newer metal bands have a truly commanding frontman. Do you feel the essence of performing, of building and maintaining stage presence, has been lost in the newer generation?
Rob Halford: "It's very easy to become cynical at this point, after having seen and experienced so much, but I do think there are showmen who get up there and in your face and show you the passion, whether it's LINKIN PARK or STAIND. But it comes down to roots. Bruce and I are from another time. There's theater and drama in our work, I think. It's not just a matter of standing on the drum kit. For us, it's the stage props, the lighting. It's not standing, leaning over a microphone."
Q: There's an argument out there that the true test of a musician, especially a metal musician, is to perform his music acoustically, because that will show the quality of the songwriting and arranging. The band has done some recent acoustic performances. Were they challenging to do?
Rob Halford: "I agree with you. It is easier to make a noise and not let some of the finer moments shine through. When we write, it's in an acoustic mode. You can write a screaming, roaring metal song on an acoustic guitar. That's true of any kind of music. Live, it's more demanding. You have to be spot on. It's enjoyment for me, but it's also a challenge, especially acoustically live."
Q: What will historians say about JUDAS PRIEST?
Rob Halford: "Quality music lasts forever. And they'll look at us as being creators."