Rob Halford talks Vegas and the legendary band's next album: "It's heavy. It's something we think our Priest fans will be thrilled with"
Rob Halford is curious to see who -- and what -- turns up in Las Vegas early next year when he and his Judas Priest bandmates reign over the first all-metal edition of Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp.
"I'm sure some of those Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Campers will be full-on," Halford tells Billboard. "I will be interested to see if there's some Metal God, Rob Halford lookalikes wandering around Vegas in metal and studs and whatnot -- although," he adds with a laugh, "I'm sure you can find that in Vegas on any given day, right?"
Halford will be joined by Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis at the Camp, which runs Feb. 27-March 2 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino; the group's Glenn Tipton will be busy mixing Priest's next album, which the band is in the midst of recording. Also serving as counselors will be Zakk Wylde, embattled Queensryche singer Geoff Tate, Lita Ford, Quiet Riot alumnus Rudy Sarzo, Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell) and Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne). Registration is open; details are available at www.rockcamp.com.
Halford says the fantasy camp organizers wanted Priest to participate "for quite a long time, actually. Just because of various points on the colander we were never able to attend and to be involved." But he promises the group members will offer instruction that was well worth waiting for.
"I think they're just looking for some professional tips and want to hear from the voice of experience," Halford says. "It's one thing to sing in the shower and it's another thing to sing on stage. They're two totally different worlds. So it'll be an opportunity for me to do the best I can to answer questions -- How do you sing this note? How do you manage to scream like that? How do you breathe? How are you able to keep up that type of intensity? I'll try to explain myself as best as possible and give some insight into what it's like to be a metal singer."
Halford says that by fantasy camp time Priest should be finished recording its new album, the follow-up to 2008's conceptual "Nostradamus."
"The writing process is complete," he reports. "Now it's the painstaking work of making sure that you get every single note, every single nuance of the vocal, every tiny aspect...right. We're still tracking (instruments). It's just a very laborious but enjoyable part of making the record."
Priest is producing the album itself at the moment, but Halford notes that "there's always a possibility somebody might come in to overview some of the things we're doing."
Halford describes the project's sound as "hard. It's heavy. It's something we think our Priest fans will be thrilled with. We know we have a reputation to maintain, and we know we have to deliver something really strong and solid. The album is going to be full of all the great things you love about Judas Priest -- I don't think I can say anything more than that without being hung, drawn and quartered."
Priest plans to tour in support of the album, though not quite as extensively as it has in the past. Next year will also mark the 40th anniversary of the group's debut album, "Rocka Rolla," which Halford says will be commemorated in some way.
"We'll be working furiously and manically in the studio cellars and conjuring up some special moments for next year, I'm sure of that," he says. "That just makes the (fantasy camp) another tremendous moment for Priest, to be in Vegas kicking of the 40th anniversary year, meeting our fans, making this special metal moment happen together."