Friday, December 01, 2006

November 29, 2006 Rob Halford Visits The Box

Steve: We have in the studio Mr. Rob Halford.

Rob: Isn’t life great? You start your day and you just don’t know who you’re going to bump into next.

Steve: What you doing in town here?

Rob: What am I doing in town here? Well…

Steve: Nice to see you, by the way.

Rob: It’s nice to see you too. When did I see you last?

Steve: I’ve no idea.

Rob: Cos we have met before.

Steve: Yeah…

Rob: And it was in Hollywood.

Steve: It was in the Eighties when I had long hair…did I have long hair?

Rob: Could have been…

Steve: When I was doing kind of a rock thing?

Rob: Could have been…I had long hair one time.

Steve: One time…

Rob: It’s all (?) and whatever it is now, these days so I shaved it off.

Steve: You still living in Arizona?

Rob: Yeah, I’m still in Arizona, still got the place over in Paradise Valley…but I’m back with Priest, which is the great thing that’s happened to me recently and we’re working a new record back in England and it’s going to be really exciting. It’s our first-ever concept album. It’s a metal (?) things. Just when you think Priest has covered every bit of metal territory there is, we’ve got this great record that’s coming out next year, based on the life of Nostradamus.

Steve: Oh, yeah?

Rob: So that’s going to be kind of an unusual and exciting new moment for the band and at the same time, I’m releasing some of the solo projects that I did while I was away from Priest with the Halford band and Fight and a couple of other things going on all through the internet, through the wonderful world of the download digital experience. I’ve got lots of things happening. I haven’t slowed down a lick. Thirty-six years of metal and still roaring on.

Steve: Do you wear earplugs when you play?

Rob: Well, I do those in-ear monitors now, which has been an absolute joy and relief for me. Sebastian, back from Skid Row, he turned me onto them. They were working with Van Halen, I went to see them at a show in Phoenix and he said, “Hey man, check out these…” this was just ‘round when they were invented. He said, “Check these out, man. These are inner-ears, they’re awesome, you know…you can hear everything.” And I’m old school. I mean, I love the racket and the roar, you know…

Steve: Right.

Rob: …but I said, “Stick ‘em in, let me check ‘em out” and of course I was like, “This is incredible, this is like listening to a cd!” The balance and everything else is absolutely perfect and for a singer especially, you know, farting against the roar of the guitars and the drums and the bass…I thought, “I’ll give these a go” and now I can’t do a performance without the inner ears. I love them and that’s my world, now.

Steve: So, when you’re wearing them, the guitars are still playing, the guitars…

Rob: Yeah, everything’s balanced and that’s the cool thing because you’ve got everything at a level that makes it more understandable and nothing gets lost in the roar and the power of the performance on stage and I was a bit, you know, reluctant cos I’d been old school. You know, using the wedges in front of you, but what that gives a singer an opportunity to do is you can wander around all over the place and you can still hear yourself perfectly well, you know. And the quality is absolutely superb so I wouldn’t work now without inner ears, they’re absolutely brilliant.

Steve: You don’t…do you have a teleprompter?

Rob: (enthusiastically) Yes, I – now, here’s a story -

Steve: (laughs)

Rob: I never thought I would ever use a teleprompter but I have for years cos it’s like a safety blanket for me now and I went and saw Korn in the early days just before they became this massive band and Jonathan was using one of these things. I’m like, “You don’t need one of these, you’re like twenty-one, twenty-two…” He says, “Man, I love my teleprompter. It’s like…makes me feel confident and secure”. So I got into that world, I got into the teleprompter world and the inner ear world. But everybody’s using them now. I think, you do whatever you gotta do to give your best performance and you know, this head’s been full of metal for thirty-six years and trying to remember all of the songs…it’s just there as a quick look down, you know, when I need it. But it just makes you feel secure…at the end of the day, you just want to give your best for your fans out there and don’t cock it up and forget a word or a whatever.

Steve: It’s not good when you forget the words.

Rob: It’s a nightmare, it’s a nightmare and I’ll tell ya, here’s another funny story. I went and saw Barbra Streisand about a week ago…

Steve: Where?

Rob: I wanted to see this living legend, this woman…

Steve: Vegas?

Rob: Sorry?

Steve: Vegas? Where was it?

Rob: No, it was in Phoenix. This woman has this most incredible voice so I went and saw her for the first time in my life. I was blown away. Got a full orchestra, sounded absolutely sensational and of course she’s got this massive stage and she’s got like twelve of these little you know, flat screen monitors and out front, hanging out over the crowd is this big, massive things like ten-foot square with everything on there and she mentioned that in her show. She said, “The reason I’m back out on the road after so many years is because when I did a concert in Central Park in New York City,” in 1970-something, or whatever it was…she said, “I had my first free concert and I forgot one of the words. It was to America The Beautiful.” Of all the things to forget.

Steve: Yeah, yeah.

Rob: So she’s like, “From then on when I knew about Autocue prompters, that the reason now why I can do my live shows because, yeah, I remember the words, but I have a blank moment or something, that’s where I can look and do my show.

Steve: It happens, innit, when you get older, those blank moments.

Rob: It does, doesn’t it?

Steve: It’s alright, though.

Rob: I think you do whatever you gotta do to make it work.

Steve: Exactly

Rob: At the end of the day, that’s all we’re out to do you know, give our best show.

Steve: Exactly. I watched the making of…uh…(he forgot). See, look…

Rob: What, is this a Priest thing?

Steve: Priest, yeah.

Rob: “British Steel”?

Steve: “British Steel”.

Rob: We were just talking about that.

Steve: Classic Albums.

Rob: Just talking about that, yeah. That was a joy to make, whatever year that was, 1980, ’81 I think it was, because we did it in Ringo’s house in London which used to be John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s house.

Steve: Where you recorded the album?

Rob: Yeah.

Steve: That’s right, yeah.

Rob: And that was just fantastic cos I’m a huge Beatles fan, you know. So, to actually be in that house, you know, that John and Yoko lived in and you know Yoko would put these little things like on brass plates like, “You are not here” and like, “You are not reading this”. Very bizarre stuff.

Steve: Yeah yeah.

Rob: But, this is funny. Glen, one of our guitar players, Glen had the room that John and Yoko used to sleep in and they have a bathroom with two loos next together. You know, sitting side-by-side (laughs). “John” on one on a brass plate and there’s “Yoko” on the other. So you know, you say, “Imagine”. You can just imagine them pair, sitting in the morning...(laughs) holding hands, you know. That’s love, that’s love.

Steve: Yeah.

Rob: But it was a great place to make a record and that’s one of the Priest classics as you say, “British Steel”.

Steve: Good album.

Rob: Yeah. Thank you.

Steve: So what are you doing in town?

Rob: Well, I’m just basically talking about the Halford stuff we’ve got, these re-releases on I’m embracing all this new technology. The digital download experience, it’s brilliant. I can’t remember the last time I bought a cd. I get all my stuff from Apple iTunes and elsewhere and stick it on my computer then on my iPod. I’ve got my iPod with me wherever I go.

Steve: Don’t you miss going into a record shop and going into and looking through the things and looking at the artwork and all that?

Rob: Yeah, I do, I do. But you know, again, we were saying earlier, that’s just the way things have gone in the world. Now Tower Records just went down which is really sad cos I always used to go to Tower a lot and browse through the stuff like that but you know, you’ve been through the same thing, Steve. There was vinyl, then vinyl went. Then cassettes, then cassettes went and eight-tracks went and then everybody was moaning about cds. And then we lived in the cd generation but now we’re into the download vibe so you do that. But I think it’s, I think it’s made music for the consumer more personal cos you can go on your computer anytime of the day or night, get up there and you know, you can see the artwork, you can download and make your own cd if you want to. But it’s all there and I think it’s become even more personal now, you know. You can just really kind of take it to another level. But again, for me, at the end of the day, as long as the music’s connecting, no matter what format you do it. If you still want to get vinyl, you can get limited edition vinyl if you want to you can search for that. The irony is, you find vinyl off the internet. You know, you go into ebay or somewhere like that for a vinyl recording and there it is. So, you just use what you use to keep it all, keep it active and flowing and of course again, you can have a fan in Japan talking to a fan in L.A. to one in Rio, all multi-chatting to each other live. It’s absolutely amazing.

Steve: It is.

Rob: So I love all that kind of stuff.

Steve: I’ve yet to resist…I’ve not kind of gone on that side, yet. I’m still holding on the the cd-thing. But I guess I’m gonna be forced into it at one point.

Rob: Ohh, yeah. I think it’s the way you’ve got to go, mate…so I’ll drag you into the cyber world with me one day.

Steve: (laughs)

Rob: I’m out of here, it was great seeing you!

Steve: Nice to see you, mate…we are going to go and visit The Duke. We’ll be right back after these lovely messages. Thanks for listening.

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