Judas Priest's Rob Halford Says Redeemer of Souls "Reignited Things"

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Hey Rob! How has the tour been thus far?

Absolutely brilliant! Yeah! Absolutely fantastic! We're into maybe the second week now and the shows are already starting to kind of roll by under the wheels of the tour buses and the trucks and everything else.

It's remarkable that just under two weeks, it's just extraordinary that you can go so many places in such a short stretch of time. But that's rock 'n' roll for you! You know, the difference is a different hotel, a different stage nearly every night, much like it's been for Judas Priest for 40 years now, and everything is going solid -- absolutely solid.

The new album is fanatic and really is such classic Priest material. How did the band approach writing a new album, especially considering K.K.'s (Downing) departure?

You know, it didn't really change, actually. Obviously you know that Richie (Faulkner) came on board for the Epitaph tour, in which time he got really, totally embedded into Priest.

We told him from the beginning that we wanted him to feel that he was in the band, even though he was coming in at this point in our career. He's so valuable and we wanted to make him feel -- especially as we were going to go into the writing stage -- that everything he was going to contribute was going to be very important.

Obviously we got to know each other really, really well over that tour which was almost two years in length and went around the world twice. So when we came together to write, it was the same as it ever was, and what I mean by that is we've always written as two lead guitar players and a singer. I'm not sure if there are many other bands that do it like that, but we've always felt that that's been kind of an advantage for us musically.

So, for example, if Richie's jamming away and I'm sitting there with Glenn (Tipton) and Glenn goes, "That's a really good idea, but try this or put another note in there." So, you get two guitar players exchanging ideas instantly and simultaneously and I'm in the room at the same time making my contributions with lyrical ideas and vocal melodies and everything, and that's the way we do it! And that's the way we've been doing it for practically the entire career of the band!

It was just very special to Richie in the mix because he's from a different generation and his enthusiasm and the way he writes with his guitar style and his technique was in his own world, so it was very cool to have Richie in those writing sessions.

You have always demonstrated an awareness of what's happening in metal trends. Do you feel the new blood and younger ears in the band really changed things that much?

Well, I think it does, yeah. I always equate it to like if you're a sports fan and you bring another player on to the team, that player puts a new dynamic in there, puts a different twist and a different look on things and that's exactly what Richie did.

I think that just by the critical acclaim of Redeemer of Souls, we seem to have kind of reignited a lot of things again. There is so much energy and there is a very kind of cool vibe around Redeemer of Souls. I mean, I know it kind of re-establishes a lot of the important ingredients about Priest, you know -- the roots of what we're about, the classic elements of what we're about -- but it's still brand new metal from Priest.

This deep into your career, what is it about metal's specific energy that still appeals to you?

I don't think you can really talk about it. It's such an internal thing, isn't it? I mean, it's so driven by emotion, and I think it's also driven by the creative flow that you still hopefully have, and we've definitely got a ton of that. It's a mixture of things and, a lot of the times, it's just waiting for the opportunity to show itself, and I think as long as you've got those ingredients in stock, then there's lots of potential waiting to be discovered.

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David Von Bader