Dave Ling of UK’s Metal Hammer asked fan submitted questions to the one and only Metal God, Rob Halford. Highlights from the interview appear below.

Q: Will you guys ever play songs from the Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens era? –@JJ66616 via Twitter

Halford: “Why not? Those records, Jugulator [1997] and Demolition [2001] are both part of the great history of Judas Priest. And Tim is a good friend of mine. I’ve never done any of the songs that he sang on but I’d definitely have a crack at them. I’m up for that. When? It could happen at any time, it wouldn’t need to be an anniversary. Before we go onstage we have a jam, and that’s time when ideas from leftfield are thrown around. That’s probably how we’ll do it. It’ll just happen and it’ll be brilliant.”

Q; What’s the toughest Judas Priest song to sing/perform live? –@Tonykorn1 via Twitter

Halford: “Usually it’s the ballads. I can really let rip on the screaming metal ones; I feel loose, free and comfortable on those. It’s a song like Beyond The Realms Of Death [from Stained Class, 1979], Angel [Angel Of Retribution, 2005] or the acoustic version of Diamonds And Rust [Sin After Sin, 1977] is the most difficult. Anything that demands an enormous amount of tension becomes harder as you get older. You really have to zone in and focus more.”

Q: What was the best opening band you had on tour? –@chadr666 via Twitter

Halford: “I don’t like using the word ‘best’ in that context. We had Iron Maiden open for us at the start of their career [in 1980] and they were brilliant. Saxon did the same and they were also brilliant. Oh god, there were so many. More recently we had Uriah Heep open up for us in America and they were brilliant. They’ve been around just as long as Priest and they’ve got a catalogue of incredible songs. So there’s another great example.”

Q: Do politics have a place in metal? –James Woughton via email

Halford: “Absolutely they do and I’ve been putting my two penn’orth into Priest’s music for most of my life, but it’s concealed by smoke and mirrors. Take a song like Evil Never Dies [from 2018’s Firepower]. I make some digs there and I know what I mean, but here’s the thing, especially for a band like Priest: music is about escapism…”

Q: Who are your top three favorite vocalists? –@musicianjohn via Twitter

Halford: It’s a pretty straightforward choice. One would be Ronnie James Dio; I listen to him nearly every day. I’d have to pick my mate Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden, who is phenomenal. And let’s go with one from the very beginning of this form of music – Robert Plant [of Led Zeppelin].  I’ve always enjoyed the bluesier elements of his vocals and the ‘Oooh’s and ‘Aaah’s that they threw in were important; they may not have been words but Planty taught me how to connect on an emotional basis with that type of phrasing.”

Q: What’s your best [Motörhead frontman] Lemmy [Kilmister] story? –@Tsces_1027 via Twitter

Halford: We played lots of and lots of shows with Motörhead and I always found it amusing that after they’d played Lemmy would put his hair in a turban. I made a point of going to see him after each show and I’d always end up sitting on Lemmy’s lap. Imagine that, The Metal God sitting on Lemmy’s lap, with his hair in a turban. There’s also a bittersweet one regarding a photo on my Instagram. After a South American tour together we were heading back to Los Angeles. It had been a long, long flight. Lemmy had been sitting by himself and you generally didn’t want to get too close to him if that was the case, but I went and said thanks for a great tour. We had a bit of a chat and internally I felt something was going to happen. [Rob falls silent, trying to compose himself]. Sorry… that’s an upsetting memory. I asked him for a selfie and he said f–k off, but we took it anyway and it’s the last photograph of me and Lemmy together. I still miss Lem and everything he stands for in rock’n’roll. But the music will last forever. That’s what I tell myself whenever I’m feeling down.”

Q: If you could pick just two of your favorite Priest albums, what would they be? –@smjjohnson via Twitter

Halford: “With so many choose from that’s very tough, but if you put a gun to my head I’d go with Sad Wings Of Destiny and British Steel. It’s incredible that we made British Steel, which had the iconic Living After Midnight and Breaking The Law, in just 30 days.”

Read fan questions at Metal Hammer via

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16 Responses

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  • shannon mehaffey on

    they never were that big with the critics

    • Dana on

      Normally, I would ignore a goading statement like that but, critics have, and always had, zero credibility with metal fans.

    • Doug R. on

      Shannon, the hell with the critics! What about my needs?

    • shannon mehaffey on

      lol…come on guys, you’re making me break character..

  • Ray Gillen on

    I know that it was “polished up” in the studio but Unleashed in the East is one of my favorite live albums. The notes he hits are amazing .

    • Rattlehead on

      100% agree, Ray! It’s my favorite Priest album. I enjoy the “live” versions of those songs so much more that their “studio” versions. It was my first Priest album and I bought it solely cuz of the album cover.

    • Myk on

      Agreed. Love the versions of already kick ass songs on U in the E

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