An Interview with
Frontman of Judas Priest via Telephone on Wednesday 13th July, 2011 by Tony Watson
Tony: H ya Rob, How are you?
Rob: I'm very well thank you, I'm relaxing in my own place in Walsall, like the rest of the lads. We’re back home now for a few days ready to kick off the UK tour in Newport.
Tony: I'm shaking here on the end of the phone, I've been a big fan for…
Rob: That’s good to know it makes the interview a little easier.
Tony: Yes I've been into Priest since the 80’s.
Tony: And I’ve been wanting to talk to you for most of my life and you’re on the end of the phone. It’s amazing.
Rob: 20 year, 30 years?
Tony 30 years, yes.
Rob: It’s amazing Priest, do you know that thing about 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon, you may have heard that story. Everything relates to Kevin Bacon, that’s where we are with Judas Priest. Everyone has a story that kind of relates to this band somehow. It’s part of what’s grown with us over the decades.
Tony: How would you describe your life with Judas Priest?
Rob: Well, err, it’s a privilege really and tremendous gratitude to the fans for giving us this life more than anything else. They say you get out of life what you put into it don’t ya, so I think this has been absolutely magic and brilliant, err and err you know, what can you say when you’re sitting in your kitchen in Walsall and your trying to think what you have done over the last 40 years it just seems mad but here we are all these millions of miles later and thousands of shows later and still doing what we love to do, for the fans that support us, and err having the best of times out of it. It’s a real honour to be in a band that’s been very important in the life of the heavy metal community. It’s fantastic to think you are part of the thread that grew out of the midlands all those years ago.
Tony: I’m going back a few years ago with regarding the split from the band and you had your solo careers. How did you feel with that moving away from Judas Priest?
Rob: Yes, much like everything in life things happen for this reason or that reason things become past memories, things become valuable, they become part of living your life, from particularly as a musician I think we become part of a book of music if you want to call it that. I do sometimes ponder what would have happened during those years that I was away, but it’s very intangible ya know, I think all of us in Priest have been very positive and based our lives on reality and facts and so when we did reunite it was just a tremendous moment for everybody for the band and the fans. Though erm, you know priest is still here. There has been a change recently but Priest still lives on, you know the band somehow becomes bigger than you are, the band the music the songs you make they become bigger than any member of the band and that’s just a fact and the way it is, so you just cherish your times as we do know more than ever particularly on this farewell tour.
Tony: So has your solo career influenced the direction of what I will class the new Judas Priest?
Rob: Not really no - they are completely two separate entities. The fact is all bands are made up different musicians, different characters, and the combination of those players make the sound that you create, so Priest is very much an exclusive experience when it comes to the metal that’s made in the band and again that’s what we have always strived very hard to do it in terms of writing and recording and eventually performing it. The identity and the character of Priest is a very unique blue print in metal.
Tony: So has the new guitarist bought anything new to Priest?
Rob; I think he has, Yes, I think, I say, I don’t think I know he has, you only have to look at him on youtube, he’s just a wonderful guitar player, he’s a wonderful musician and err just having his personality on stage has definitely bought a different vibe to the band, and I mean that in a good sense. Err it’s hard to really talk about because it’s very intangible unless you physically see it. There’s something going on with Priest now that wasn’t there before. Not disrespecting KK, I don’t want that to be taken the wrong way, but obviously you do change the line up something happens, it’s no different when Ripper was in my shoes, but the fact is it’s still Priest is still the band, the band you love and the songs you love to hear and Richie is doing an absolutely brilliant job.
Tony: So is Richie going to be on the new album?
Rob: I mean, it makes absolute perfect sense doesn’t it. Glen and I have put together about 10 or 12 songs that are at various stages of completion. And we have got that to finish and to get out hopefully sometime by the summer of next year and it makes absolute sense to bring Richie into the mix and see what Richie will contribute to the songs that have been written and to consider some of the new material that might come up.
Tony: I’m going to talk a bit about the Nostradamus CD which I love to bits. How do you think other fans and the media have written about it, was it a good thing for Priest to do?
Rob: I think it’s one of these things in music that the longer you put the distance in to it the more valuable it becomes, I think that there are a portion of your fan base about that want another ‘Pain Killer’ and want another ‘British Steel’ and that’s just a natural thing you have when you love the band that you love, but for us as a band it was very important moment for us to make the concept record that we always wanted to make. We have done it now and we won’t be making another it’s done and dusted but I'm glad you like it cause it an absolutely fantastic body of work there is so much musical information.
Our long term goals were to have it and put it into a different kind of presentation, we’ve got multiple possibilities, much like what happened with Pete (Townshend of The Who) and ‘Tommy’ you know, or what’s going on with ‘We Will Rock You’ or any of the other great big productions that are in theatre. We’ve got that as a protection possibility and many other ideas but the anchor of it the music in terms of what we try and achieve turned out brilliant you know and err as you look at the reaction now it’s like this is a really good album and I think what were happy to do eventually even if we only ever do it once is to play it out live and film it and give it the prominence that you can only do when you perform an album live.
It will be a monumental task obviously but we can do it, it’s just finding the time you see, we have so much on our plates right now we are absolutely rammed with work. I suppose just by cutting back a little bit in terms of world touring this will give us the opportunity to complete some of those things that we want to do.
Tony: I’m coming up to Doncaster to see you guys as I only live in Sheffield myself.
Rob: Brilliant, I will probably get to see you backstage and have a drink and say hello to each other.
Tony: That would be great.
Rob: I will be up there early in couching having a cup of tea. Alright mate.Cheers.
Tony: That’s absolutely great.
Rob: All the best.
Tony: Thank You.
Rob: Tara, Tara.
big thankyou to Chip @ Chipster PR, Imran Malik @ Sony Music/Columbia
& Jayne Andrews (Manager of Judas Priest) and of course Rob himself
for being such a down to earth cool guy.