In a new interview with Decibel magazine, JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford reflected on the fact that he is still performing and recording five decades after the band’s inception.
“Most people in England are retired at 50,” the 70-year-old singer said. “You put your feet up; it’s the end. You start puttering around your garden and sitting in your deck chair with a cup of tea. It’s true that you thought back then that rock ‘n’ roll was a young man’s adventure, that even 50 is a stretch.
“There was a little kid at a [PRIEST] recent show. He was on his dad’s shoulders, and he knew all the words to all these PRIEST songs. He was like eight years old. I brought him up on the stage and signed his shirt. And that’s when I go, ‘please, god, give me another 50 years, because I don’t want it to end.’ I genuinely from the heart do not want it to end. So these are all just glorious moments to live to the full and celebrate every day, whether you’re on stage or not.”
When the interviewer pointed out that Rob is “fortunate” because he can still go out and perform at a very high level, Halford said: “I am blessed. I’ve always said that once I start to sound like a British pub singer, just grab the mic from me [croons ‘Living after mid-niiiiight’]. I might end up on the Las Vegas strip in some dive bar. [Laughs] I love to get on stage. We all do, all of us in PRIEST. It’s a genuine desire to make that final part, complete the journey I spoke of before, when you’re playing live. That’s what it’s all about. That’s when it all makes sense.”
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. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Richie Faulkner.
PRIEST‘s current touring lineup consists of Hill, Halford, guitarists Andy Sneap and Faulkner, and drummer Scott Travis.
Halford‘s autobiography, “Confess”, arrived in September 2020 via Hachette Books. Co-written with Ian Gittins, the book offers readers a compelling, heartfelt and honest look at the struggles Rob has faced with addiction and his sexuality as well as exploring his music and his many brushes with controversy.
In “Confess”, Halford discusses in detail what it was like becoming the first metal icon to announce he is gay in 1998 during an MTV interview, despite knowing about his sexuality since he was 10. Although his bandmates and their management knew he was gay and were accepting, he was advised to be discreet given the macho hetero nature of the metal world. He also opens up about surviving sexual abuse, as well as his struggles with depression, substance abuse, sobriety, and the suicide of one of his former partners. He also talks about how his own suicide attempt in 1986 led him to the rehab program that saved his life.