Rob Halford Says New Judas Priest Album Is Finished Except Vocals
"It's done except for me," he tells UCR with a laugh. Guitarist "Richie [Faulkner] has been doing interviews like I have, and I've been reading it as it comes on my social media. Richie says, 'Everything's done except for Rob.' It's true, man. It's true."
Even though it does not yet have a title or release date, the pending LP will serve as the follow-up to 2018's Firepower.
"My scratch vocals are on there, but I've got to do my parts," Halford adds. "I can bang it out in a couple of weeks, but I need to be in the right place. And we have to find the right time, because we've just come off this big European tour, and we went straight from that into preparing for this continuation of the 50th anniversary — he said, making excuse after excuse after excuse!"
Halford says Judas Priest once again worked with Firepower co-producer Andy Sneap, who has also served as the band’s touring guitarist since 2018 when Glenn Tipton’s Parkinson’s disease forced him off the road.
Unlike in the band’s hell-raising heyday, Halford says he now likes to consider comfort when he's getting ready to record vocals. "I've become really picky as I've gotten older," he says. "Whereas before, I didn't really care.
"Now I have to have the right vibe and atmosphere in place to make the thing happen, so that's all sorted now. So you've just got to put me on a plane and get me there – but it's done, you know, except for me. I feel terrible. Everybody's bitching and moaning: 'For God's sake, Halford, get in front of the mic!' I will; it could be happening soon."
Judas Priest will also be honored at this year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where they will receive the Musical Excellence Award. Their team has been in touch with former guitarist K.K. Downing and former drummer Les Binks — both of whom are also being inducted — and Halford says "everybody's been very cool and agreeing. There's just been [an attitude of], 'Let's just relish this opportunity and jam and put everything on 11.'"
Neither Halford nor Judas Priest's representatives could confirm yet whether Downing or Binks will be joining the band onstage during its Rock Hall performance, but Halford says both former members will be involved in some capacity, as well as late drummer and fellow inductee Dave Holland.
"We are gonna play live because there is all this roar: How are we gonna do it? Because we want to try and make the best things happen," the singer says. "So the best things to happen are to bring in all of the people that are included in the induction — which includes, obviously, K.K. and Les, and Dave. So, we've been able to work things out, so we will be playing live. We've got, like, eight minutes and 24 seconds and a half-second to play live."
He says, "We've got a couple of cool things that are gonna take place on the night that will be held under wraps like most people do because you don't want to give everything away. But yeah, look: A bunch of guys from the U.K., from the West Midlands, a Birmingham band of heavy metal, is being inducted into this great institution. So we're gonna make the most of it and have a great night out and live a lot of metal memories."
Aside from his Judas Priest itinerary, Halford has also kept busy with the preparation of his second book, Biblical: Rob Halford's Heavy Metal Scriptures, which comes out on Nov. 1. The tome, which is available for preorder now, features opinions and anecdotes on all aspects of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle – including touring, tattoos, drugs, devil horns and more.
Halford jokes that the book-writing process has given him yet another means of procrastinating his vocals for the next album.
"I keep throwing things on my plate, like, 'Oh, he's [got] another book; he wants to do the book first. He wants to do the audio. He wants to finish the book, he wants to promote the book. He's got to do that before he gets back on the tour, and when the tour's done, then he can go into this place he wants to go to and do the vocals,'" Halford says. "So, you know — old gay drama queen."
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