Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford has revealed he needs hernia surgery, after he underwent an operation on his back last year.
The 62-year-old has reported he’ll receive medical attention to his stomach before Priest tour in support of upcoming album Redeemer Of Souls.
Halford tells ABC Radio News that has an umbilical hernia that he intends to have repaired not because it gives him pain but because, “It looks like the alien just burst forth!”
Halford says, “My doctors always said, ‘We can take care of it,’ and I said, ‘I’ll get around to it.’ [The doctor said,] ‘If it’s not giving you any discomfort then you should leave it as it is,’ but it’s not very appealing to look at, is it?”
Halford says he’s resigned himself to the surgery, and manages to keep a good attitude about his advancing age. “That’s life,” he says. “The wonderful thing about heavy metal music is that it’s immortal. The music is immortal, but the creators are not bestowed with that attribute.”
Redeemer of Souls with be released in the States on July 15th.
FERG of SBO Magazine Inc. spoke with bassist Billy Sheehan about The Winery Dogs. Excerpts from the interview appear below.
SRO Ferg: [The Winery Dogs] has a very classic, raw sound, but it’s very modern in its appeal and some of it seems like those classic icons of, you know, that Deep Purple, (Led) Zepplin inspired modern rock. Is that kind of the vibe you were going for?
Billy Sheehan: No, but it did happen that way. Again, we really, people often think, and I find this when I do interviews, that we know what we’re doing. But, in fact, we just kind of get in a room, and ooh, look what happened. Often when you’re writing a song and when you’re recording a song, what you end up with is much different than how it even started out. So, we see situations like that. But we didn’t necessarily go for a particular sound or pick a particular vibe, and we certainly didn’t talk it out or plan it. But, I think that’s why it’s working, because we didn’t really do a lot of scheming, planning and figuring, you know, marketing talk. We just did our thing without, you know: Mike you play drums, Richie plays guitar and sings and I play bass and we all sing and let’s just do some playin’ and it turned out to sound, I think, a little classic rock-ish. I think, primarily, because we’re all in the same room together and that’s how great, great albums were made. Some of the greatest records that I ever listened to when I was young and coming up were made by guys just sittin’ in a room. That’s just how you had to do it. You had no choice. There was the recording and the mics and you didn’t have studios with separate booths and, uh, digital, uh, editing and overdubbing. You just sat in a room and you played and that’s how classic, a lot of classical records were made. Not all, but certainly a lot. So I think that’s why it came out that way. We sat in a room and played and that’s what we got.
SRO Ferg : Now, you’ve been in the studio and you’ve recorded 30+ albums with different people in your solo work and with bands. What process do you like better? Do you like just gettin’ in there and just hashing it out or does it just depend on what you’re trying to accomplish?
Billy Sheehan: Well, I generally like improvisational music. I like it when we have a song and we know the song, but now it’s time to lay it down, so let’s just fly. Once we know the chord changes, we know what we’re supposed to be doing in a given point, so let’s play it. Let’s see what happens, also. You know, where we don’t necessarily, we have a template, we have an idea of where we’re supposed to go in every particular part of the song, but we’re not so much held to that template. The foundations, yes, but let’s make room to move, make way to improvise. For me, that’s my favorite thing when it’s time to, okay, let’s lay one down and hit the record button and go. And, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know as a player, I never plan out what I’m playing if I go up to do some bass solo thingy, I have no idea what I’m going to do. I start playing, the crowd responds, I turn left, they turn right, I follow them, they follow me. It could be anything, it’s truly improvisational. And, that’s what I really love. So, for me and with the band in the studio when it’s time to hit that recording button and lay down a track and I know I’ll make some moves, I’ll move around on bass in ways that I had not planned and just let the moment take me. And, listening back it’s interesting to hear how those surprises worked or sometimes they don’t work and you gotta go back and do it again. But, generally, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a couple of good ones in.
SRO Ferg: Well, you guys are touring and selling out shows across the nation and I’m lucky enough I get to come see you when you guys swing around here locally. Of the new stuff, what song gets the crowd going, what gets the best crowd reaction?
Billy Sheehan: We open the show with Elevate and the place goes really crazy. We’re very, very thankful that people have taken to that song. Later on, you just hear a surge when they recognize what song it is because people have listened to the whole record. But, I’m No Angel really, really takes things off with the crowd. They, uh, everybody sings along with that. It’s probably one of my first favorite songs that we had put together. Even when it was in those beginning stages, I just loved the way that song went. And, one part of the show, with the song Regret, and that’s another crowd favorite because it’s just so soulful. But, We Are One, Desire, is another one that gets the crowd crazy. They, everybody, jumps and sings along with that. It’s really great. It’s hard to pick one, but I’m No Angel is a big one, the opener, Elevate is a big one as well, so we’re so thankful that people are responding at all, and that they are responding so positively. We couldn’t be more pleased.
SRO Ferg: You guys have always been known as really strong, really good live musicians. You put on great shows individually in the projects you’ve been in. How is it coming in having a previous relationship with both Richie and Mike to put together the live show and put together the new band? I mean, looking across to each other and getting those knowing glances, knowing you’re gonna be there and knowing where they’re gonna be. How much easier does that make it?
Billy Sheehan: Yeah, we have kind of an ESP thing going on. Bass and drums, of course, the relationship is supremely important, and I don’t know how it works or why it works, but I can look over at Mike and he looks at me and for some reason we do the same thing. It’s hilarious because we didn’t plan it, we don’t know how it happened, but suddenly he’ll do one lick that he’s never done before and I’ll do something exactly like it and it’s just kind of happens. It’s kind of spooky in a way that we managed to do that Vulcan mind meld together somehow. It works well with Richie as well. We, Richie and I, we have a really good chemistry together and we play together a lot, so we communicate really well on stage. That’s why a three piece band is really cool for that because it’s just easier to connect up to two other people than it is to three other people. And, a three piece band has always been one of my favorite formats. So, we keep an eye on each other really closely on stage. With a three piece band, when you turn to look at the band, you can see the two other guys real easy. When it’s four or five or six people, somebody is out of your line of vision at some point or another. Which they have their advantages as well, but more guys like that in a band. Three piece is really cool. It’s really urgent and fast and real good communications between everyone, so it’s exciting to play live like that because we do get that improvisational feedback. I know right away where Richie’s gonna go. A couple of times when we’ve been playing, the band just suddenly breaks down and goes into a quiet jam out of nowhere. We didn’t plan it, we didn’t talk about it backstage or anything, it just happened. And then, people comment on it later, “Wow, you broke down on that part, we never heard that before.” We didn’t either, we didn’t know it was gonna happen. It’s just, I love that things happen automatically like that because I’m not a planning guy, I was never a school guy. I quit high school my senior year. I like to let things happen on their own, to let nature take its course, to use that cliché again and with this band, it certainly does.
The Winery Dogs, the band featuring guitarist Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big, Solo Artist), bassist Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Talas) and drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold), have posted a video for the song, I’m No Angel, from their debut self titled which was released in North America on on July 23rd. Watch the video below.
The band are also currently on tour. The remaining dates appear below.
Winery Dogs tour dates:
5/14 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
5/15 Largo, FL Largo Cultural Center
5/16 Jacksonville, FL Freebird Live
5/18 Little Rock, AR Juanita’s
5/20 Fort Smith, AR Neumeier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden
5/24 Dallas, TX Granada Theater
6/24 Ramona, CA Ramona Mainstage
6/26 San Juan Capistrano, CA Coach House
6/27 Beverly Hills, CA Saban Theater
6/28 Agoura Hills, CA Canyon Club
6/30 San Francisco, CA Yoshi’s
7/1 Oakland, CA Yoshi’s at Jack’s London Square
7/26 Buffalo, NY The Tralf
7/28 Amityville, NY Revolution Bar & Music Hall
Mon/May-12 Norfolk, VA @ Norva
Tue/May-13 Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
Thu/May-15 Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Sat/May-17 Ft. Wayne, IN @ Piere’s
Mon/May-19 Sioux Falls, SD @ The District
Tue/May-20 Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
Wed/May-21 St. Paul, MN (Minneapolis) @ Myth
Fri/May-23 Grand Prairie, TX (Dallas) @ Verizon Theater
Tue/May-27 New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
Wed/May-28 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
Sun/Jun-01 Denver, CO @ Ogden Theater
Mon/Jun-02 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex – Rockwell
Wed/Jun-04 Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
Thu/Jun-05 Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
Fri/Jun-06 San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom
Sat/Jun-07 Los Angeles, CA @ Fonda Theater
Rob Halford: “I just think it’s part of the rich history that Priest has had with album titles and song titles. We’d been Screaming for Vengeance, we’ve been Defending Your Faith…/
Glenn Tipton: “And ‘killing your pain!’ ”
Rob Halford: “…and now it’s time to Redeem Your Soul.’ So a little bit of everything. I think for as long it carries the metal essence of Judas Priest, that’s what we wanted to convey. Especially when you see the artwork, which is married to the title of the record. It just makes perfect sense.”
BraveWords: How did the recording of the album go?
Glenn Tipton: “We’ve done it in bits and pieces, actually. There’s been a tour in the middle of it, and we’ve done a bit here and a bit there. It’s been done over a long period of time, but it hasn’t actually taken that long. The main criteria for us was to get a very live sounding album. I’ve said more than once, I’m not trying to say we went in the studio and played it live, but there’s very little processed guitars on there – it’s all mic’d up. There are not programmed drums – it’s all played. Rob’s vocals are pretty raw through most of the album, not over-affected. We just wanted a real solid, gritty, tough, balls-to-the-wall heavy metal album, and that’s what we tried to achieve.”
Rob Halford: “But the writing process – as it has generally been the case for our career as a writing trio – obviously, the exception in this case was having Richie’s extraordinary talents in the mix as well. As Glenn pointed out, we were initially writing some of the very beginnings of the record before we actually met up with Richie. And then we Richie joined the band, we went out on the big Epitaph World Tour, and I think that was a really important point of the connection from the touring, to go back into the studio and the writing experience together, having spent almost two years on the road in each other’s company and learning about each other’s personalities, which I think is very important for musicians. The way that you click and tick with each other bears references to our musical endeavors. So, it was a nice time of learning for us all, and I think that proved to be very valuable when we came on the full-on writing sessions with Richie.”
BraveWords: Richie, how was it for you recording your first studio album with Priest?
Richie Faulkner: “Well, it was a very organic experience. It was a very natural one, personally. Growing up, learning how to write songs in school bands, you listened to guys like Priest – ‘What do they do here? How do they construct the song? What it is about this part of the song that makes me feel a certain way?’ And you analyze these things as an early songwriter, and put them into your own songs. So without knowing it, you’re already taking a master class in songwriting. And then when you start to put ideas forward, you don’t have to put a different ‘hat’ on or write in a different way, it’s what comes naturally from learning those songs and how to write songs back in the day, when you’re learning to do it for the first time. So from the first rehearsals in Priest, it was very much an inclusive atmosphere. ‘What do you think about the stage set? Set list? Changes in the songs we can make, to make the experience bigger and better, and all the creative input goes into one pot to create the best for the band.’ And that was no exception with the writing process – very inclusive. We started throwing ideas into the hat, and it was organic, very natural, and direct. A very inclusive creative process to be a part of.”
BraveWords: How would you say this album compares to previous Priest albums?
Rob Halford: “They’ve all got their own separate identity. That’s the great thing that I’ve always personally treasured about Priest. From Rocka Rolla 40 years ago to Redeemer of Souls, there is a connection running through that’s instinctively the sound of Judas Priest, but each record has always been able to stand on its own legs and its character. The Painkiller record is as different to Stained Class as Stained Class is to Screaming for Vengeance to Point of Entry. 17 times that’s happened. We’ve always been very proud in that respect, that we’re not a metal band that keeps replicating things. I think the only thing that has been consistent has been that we’ve always perceived ourselves as a classic heavy metal band, in the way that metal is defined in all these different labels and boxes and characters. With us, we’re a classic heavy metal band, so I think what we’ve done on Redeemer of Souls is just reinforce that and really push that to the front more than ever before. And you can sense that. Each of these songs are totally separate statements. But collectively, they represent the embodiment of Judas Priest.”
BraveWords: And what are the touring plans for Redeemer of Souls?
Rob Halford: “You want us to tour?! We were just talking about the record, and now we’re on the road?! Nah, I’m just having a laugh. I know that while we were in the studio writing, you listen to March of the Damned, and I’d go, ‘God, I can’t wait to play this on stage.’ Or Metalizer – ‘Man, this is going to just tear the place up.’ We’re reflecting on that possibility right now. So as and when this happens, we’ll be doing the usual thing and announcing it on our website here. But I think it’s fair to say we will be doing some live work – before the end of the year.”
Original KISS drummer Peter Criss joined frontman Rob Zombie on stage last night (Saturday, May 10th) at 93.3 WMMR MMR*B*Q 2014 at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey to perform a cover of the KISS classic God Of Thunder.
According to blabbermouth.net, Zombie introduced Criss by telling the audience: “Ladies and gentlemen, if you are anything like me, you were very disappointed a little while ago, because I tuned into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and I did not get to see my favorite drummer get behind the motherfucking drums. So tonight, it is our great honor to bring to you the one and only Catman, Mr. Peter Criss.” Watch fan filmed footage below.
Rob Zombie has just completed a short 12-stop tour and will next head over to Europe for a run of festival dates beginning with the Sweden Rock Festival on June 5th.
Zombie is promoting the upcoming release of his first-ever concert Blu-ray/DVD, The Zombie Horror Picture Show, which will be released on May 19th.