Judas Priest‘s Rob Halford doesn’t mind acknowledging that he’s watched previous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies with a wistful feeling of “Maybe one day…”
“This is our Oscars,” Halford told Billboard after news of Priest’s first-ever Rock Hall nomination was announced on Thursday (Oct. 5). “When the nominations come up and the inductions come up, you often wonder that it would feel like if you were able to be on stage at that moment making an acceptance speech and particularly having the pleasure to be in the company of all the other musicians and industry people.
“So, yeah, if we do get in it will be an absolute dream-come-true moment. Fingers crossed, as they say.”
Priest has been eligible for Rock Hall consideration since 1999, but heavy metal inductions — as well as nominations — have been few and far between during the Rock Hall’s history. Certain key acts such as Black Sabbath, Metallica and Deep Purple are in, and Halford hopes Priest’s nomination will open the door a bit wider for its headbanging brethren.
“I’ve often talked about metal being the underdog in rock ‘n’ roll music,” Halford said. “We remember the times through the punk and New Wave moments when it was proclaimed that heavy metal music was dead, it didn’t stand a chance of surviving, that it was Neanderthal music that had limited scope and wasn’t very intelligent and all those bad things. I still don’t understand the kind of pushback that we still kind of have to bump up against now and again, but this recognition by the Hall of Fame helps to slowly chip away at that kind of stereotype. The metal dog is wagging it’s metal tail, which is a great feeling. We do deserve this.”
Halford had not had a chance to speak to other members of the band yet, but he’s confident that “we’re all very, very happy and we’re thrilled and we’re very genuinely honored by this opportunity for Priest and for heavy metal. An induction, meanwhile, could mean a reunion with co-founder K.K. Downing, who left the band somewhat acrimoniously during 2011. Nevertheless, Halford said it would be a welcome reunion. “Everything’s on the table for anyone that’s been associated with Priest in and out of the band. It’s going to be an absolutely spectacular night, should we be inaugurated — so get the votes, I say.”
And Halford plans to do more than talk about it. “I think it’s now time to start cracking the metal whip, and ‘Vote! Vote! Vote!'” he said with a laugh. “I shall be going into my politician mode shortly.”
Besides the Rock Hall, Priest is gearing up for the release of its next album, the follow-up to Redeemer Of Souls, in 2018. The album is “99.999 percent concluded” he said, and awaiting only final tweaks, while plans are being made for a tour that will likely start in March.
“The emails and phone calls have been going backwards and forwards regarding stage sets and lighting sets,” Halford reported. “I had a costume fitting the other day in Los Angeles with Mr. Ray Brown. We’re slowly getting the touring machine cranked up again. It’s a big deal; You don’t just walk out on stage. It’s a tremendous amount of effort by very talented people, so that’s what’s starting to go on now.”