ROB HALFORD: ‘JUDAS PRIEST Is More Than One Bandmember’

In a new interview with Terrie Carr of the Morristown, New Jersey radio station 105.5 WDHA, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford was asked how the feeling of getting back into the studio with his bandmates is different today from how it was in the past. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s the same as it ever was. It’s a blessing. There’s a feeling of being grateful. There’s a feeling of, ‘Oh my God. We’re still here over 50 years later in part of the essence of PRIEST.’ Because PRIEST is more than one bandmember; PRIEST is this entity. JUDAS PRIEST has been in the heavy metal world for over 50 years, so the fact that we’re still able to resonate and show relevance, particularly with this new music from [PRIEST‘s upcoming album] ‘Invincible Shield’, is incredibly important to us. And it’s just this combination of instinct as people when we’re in each other’s presence to write music.”

Halford continued: “I think what is also important, that we don’t use this word very much these days — trust. Trusting each other. Trust in the love that you have for each other in the band, because the value that trust carries is enormous. When you have trust and faith in whatever it is, great things can happen. So all of those parts of who we are in PRIEST, as we are in 2024 — it’s 50 years after [PRIEST‘s debut album] ‘Rocka Rolla’ — that hasn’t changed. So all of that’s like a linear thread, and I just love that nothing’s diminished.”

“Invincible Shield” will arrive on March 8 via Sony Music.

Bassist Ian Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then came back to PRIEST in 2003. Original guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Richie Faulkner.

Earlier this month, Halford told Alan Ovington about the songwriting and recording process for “Invincible Shield”: “Well, the process of making ‘Invincible Shield’ was pretty much the same as most of the albums that PRIEST has made through the decades. It’s this unique combination of having two guitar players and a singer together in the room starting the day off with no metal and at the end of it, having something that’s gonna be around a lot longer than you are. But yeah, I get in the room with Glenn [Tipton, PRIEST guitarist] and with Richie [Faulkner, PRIEST guitarist] and the riffs start. It’s a lot of jamming, it’s a lot of riffing and just free creativity. It’s just remarkable how this whole process, this chemistry between the three of us takes place and we love it. It’s just very, very special to us.”

As for how PRIEST utilizes modern technology during the recording process, Halford said: “The technology, of course, has changed dramatically. We go back all the way to three-inch reel tapes, and then to digital tapes, and now we’re in the Pro Tools world. And you have to really be careful that technology doesn’t take the lead in the whole of the writing and recording process, because it’s very easy to get stuck into that AI world of making music — you know, cutting and pasting and all that kind of stuff. We’ve always kept it real in PRIEST, and we always will.”

Asked if he found “any particular themes reoccurring” while he was writing the lyrics for the new album, Rob said: “Well, I’m the lyricist and I do my best to try and create messages and ideas that are new and fresh. Obviously, there are elements in PRIEST that we love to reinvestigate. Take ‘The Serpent And The King’, the classic good versus evil, which will always be part of humanity. The serpent’s the devil and the king is God. So here’s a new approach to that particular theme. ‘Panic Attack’ is quite cool, looking at the darker side of the implications of the worldwide web. ‘Invincible Shield’, the title track, man, that’s just who we are and what we stand for. So, there we have it — a lot of PRIEST from different angles and different perspectives.”

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