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Judas Priest Got Another Thing Comin'
Judas Priest

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Judas Priest Got Another Thing Comin'

GRAMMY-winning metal band open up about their forthcoming album, Redeemer Of Souls, and future Broadway aspirations

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

On July 8 GRAMMY-winning metal legends Judas Priest will return with Redeemer Of Souls, their 17th studio album and first in six years. In contrast to the British quintet's all-encompassing 2008 metal opera Nostradamus, their latest offering roars back with a rawer, heavier collection of anthems, ballads and epic rockers that strongly tap into the melodic aggression that has characterized the band's diverse output for the past 40 years. And listening to the turbo-charged songs on Redeemer Of Souls, it's clear that their passion and enthusiasm remain strong.

On Oct. 1 Judas Priest will launch a U.S. tour in support of the album, with dates scheduled through November. Contrary to some reports, their 2011 farewell tour was not the end of their live performance endeavors, but marked the end of extensive world touring for the band.

Ahead of the album's release, frontman Rob Halford and guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner participated in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview to discuss the new album, bringing Faulkner into the fold and the possibility of Priest on Broadway.

The new album has a very yin and yang feel to it, with half of the songs being stripped down and the other half sounding more epic. Was that intentional?
Faulkner: I think the only thing that was intentional was to do what the band does and has been doing for 40 years, which is not have any sort of concept or rules. And if it sounds good, we'll go with it, [whether] it's an epic-sounding song or a straightforward song.

This is Richie Faulkner's first album with Judas Priest. What was the songwriting dynamic like this time?
Halford: It's different but it's the same in the respect that it's always been two guitar players and a singer pitching in together. There's no doubt that Richie's input has been incredibly energizing. Just to have a different perspective from Richie's ability as a guitar player [as] well as a songwriter did bring some very unique and exciting moments to the writing sessions.

Tipton: It was great. Richie was thrown in the deep end. The first show he did was "American Idol" [in 2011 in front of] 30 million people, then we went to a massive festival in Europe, so he had a lot of challenges initially on the live side of things. He came through with flying colors, but we never knew how [the] writing was going to work out. And it was like we've always been together. It was just a very natural thing. … He's put his own stamp on [the music]. That's the remarkable thing.

There are obviously the requisite Judas Priest fantasy lyrics on Redeemer …, but I'm very intrigued by "Cold Blooded" and "Crossfire." The former kind of makes me think of a serial killer, and I'm curious what inspired that?
Halford: Glenn is responsible for the vast majority of lyrics on that song.

Tipton: It was a sinister subject — just cold blood that runs through me. Someone who's been beaten, battered, been through the mill, couldn't have had worse things happen. They've lost all feeling. It's a sinister thing that lends itself to a metal song.

Did it make you think back to Birmingham, England, where you grew up?
Halford: Oh yeah. That's what I loved when I was noodling with the lyrics that Glenn put down. It's about isolation and it's about [how] you cannot connect to people. It has that angst in it, so I think from a metalhead's perspective, when they are listening to this track, they might [say,] "That used to be me," or "that's me now" or "I know somebody [who's] had that type of experience." That's the wonderful thing with nearly everything Priest [have] made over the years, the ability for our fans to feel as though we're touching them with the messages we have inside us.

The lyrics on "Crossfire" take on religion. Where did that come from?
Halford: Again, you look through the history of Priest with songs like "Savage" from [1978's] Stained Class, where we talked about climate change before there was even climate change. "Electric Eye" [from 1982's Screaming For Vengeance] is about spy satellites. We've always had a great sense of adventure lyrically to blend reality and fantasy, so that's just a little dig at the way that all religion is supposed to preach love, peace and whatever, but there are extremists [who] just go out there and f* it all up.

"Never Forget" is a thank you to the fans, but it also sounds like goodbye. Is it goodbye?
Halford: No, it's not. We've done that before with "United" [from 1980's British Steel] and tracks where we've talked about that special bond that not only Priest [have], but all metal bands have with the fans [who] support them, and we just wanted to go a little deeper in sentiment with this song. … We'll play until the end.

Rob, you've mentioned carrying around a Roget's Thesaurus to come up with new words for songs. Are there any words that you have been trying to get into a Judas Priest song that you haven't yet?
Tipton: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Halford: Could you imagine? [Halford repeats the word in death metal growls.]

I was thinking of that.
Halford: I've never said "crescent moon" before. [I] just [incorporated] a simple crescent moon in "Secrets Of The Dead" [on Redeemer Of Souls]. Much like Richie and Glenn are trying to find new riffs and notes, and bend the guitar strings [like] they've never done before, that's what I try to do as a lyricist. There are some staple words in metal that you have to use because there's nothing else that has the same value. You've got to say "pain," you've got to say "fear," because there is no comparative word that carries the same essence of message. Beyond that, I work really hard to try to pick words, ideas and phrases to bring something different and interesting.

How are you feeling lately, Rob? I recall you were in a wheelchair last year when you were promoting the live Epitaph DVD.
Halford: It was a bit of a glitch. I had a back operation. It's fixed. I'm still not 1,000 percent, but I don't think I ever will be, quite frankly. At this point, who is? I went under the knife screaming in pain and woke up pain-free. I think whenever you're dealing with physical challenges, it really sorts out your personality and what you want out of life. I just wanted to get back to my job as a singer in a metal band as quickly as possible.

Have you ever considered doing Broadway?
Halford: As musicians, it's really cool to contemplate every possibility, but again you have to be careful. We're so grateful for the treasures that we've got in Judas Priest and we understand the ramifications of going too far, too left field. That can lead to some negative response. First and foremost, I think for all of us, everything that's embodied in Judas Priest is how we want to represent ourselves. Probably as [we] move on in [our careers], [we] can take more steps into different rooms, so to speak. It's the timing. … I'd love to see Nostradamus on Broadway.

Tipton: With [co-manager] Bill [Curbishley's] connections in the movie and theatrical world, we actually wrote [Nostradamus] with the hopes that at some point either we could perform it on Broadway or it could be orchestrated. I think it's a great soundtrack and a great scene for a Broadway production.

(Bryan Reesman is a New York-based freelance writer.)

Evanescence, Tool, Incubus & More Announced For Welcome To Rockville 2019

Amy Lee of Evanescence

Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/WireImage

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Evanescence, Tool, Incubus & More Announced For Welcome To Rockville 2019

The three-day fest will take place in May and will feature some of your all-time favorite rock and metal groups

GRAMMYs/Dec 6, 2018 - 04:05 am

Hard rock and heavy metal take over Jacksonville, Fla., for three days when Welcome To Rockville comes to town. The 2019 offering brings GRAMMY winners Tool, Korn, Evanescence and GRAMMY nominees the Prodigy and Incubus as some of the top acts to hit the stage.

The fest's lineup will also include GRAMMY nominee Rob Zombie and GRAMMY winning group Judas Priest, which celebrates their 50th anniversary this year and recently announced a tour, as well as Chevelle, among others. Catch the full lineup above.

Bands have taken to social media to announce their performances. "Time to knock the rock dust off. We just signed on to do a few U.S. festival dates in May so look out for show announcements!" Evanescence tweeted out.

When it comes to anticipated performances, Tool is no doubt one of the big ones, as fans continue to wait for their first album release in 12 years. As no official North American tour dates have been announced, their performance at the fest has gotten their fans speculating of an official tour announcement dropping soon. 

You can catch the acts May 3-5 at Metropolitan Park. For more information on how to get tickets go here. Tickets go on sale Dec. 7.

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2010: A Rockumental Year

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)

When a new decade is broached, anniversaries come to light. Last year marked significant birthdays for landmark albums in rock music. Forty years ago Led Zeppelin III, the Stooges' Funhouse and Black Sabbath's self-titled debut changed rock music — and music — forever. Thirty years ago Iron Maiden, Judas Priest's British Steel, Ted Nugent's Scream Dream, Devo's Freedom Of Choice, Joy Division's Closer, and Motörhead's Ace Of Spades took things even farther. Twenty years ago, Depeche Mode's Violator, Megadeth's Rust In Peace, Jane's Addiction's Ritual De Lo Habitual, Alice In Chains' Facelift, Pantera's Cowboys From Hell, and the Black Crowes' Shake Your Money Maker diversified the rock genre. And 10 years ago, Radiohead's Kid A, Deftones' White Pony, Queens Of The Stone Age's Rated R, and A Perfect Circle's Mer De Noms started off the new millennium right. While rock music has grown and changed throughout the decades, both the albums that celebrated their 40th anniversaries and those that were just born provide that spirit of rebellion that was the essence of rock music then, and continues to be now and forever.

Looking at album sales, one wouldn't think that 2010 was the best year for rock (or any genre). But there were many other ways that rock music prevailed. The Who — a classic rock giant — performed at halftime during Super Bowl XLIV, one the most-watched television broadcasts. On April 17 Record Store Day marked the largest number of vinyl purchases since 1991, and the genre that has been known to embrace the resurgence of vinyl most is rock and metal. In summer 2010 the "big four" of thrash metal — Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer — performed together at a series of festivals in Europe for the first time. One performance was broadcast to theaters for metalheads all over the world to see.

The non-fiction bestsellers' lists were decorated with rock memoirs all year as I Am Ozzy, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir and Keith Richards' Life educated readers about what being a real rock star is like. And in looking back at concerts in 2010, the most successful tours were all rock bands: Bon Jovi, U2 and AC/DC. Rock also infiltrated Broadway with the continued success of the '80s-themed "Rock Of Ages" and Green Day's "American Idiot." The U2-scored "Spider-Man" production also hit the stage. There were also landmark tours in terms of production in rock concerts this year as Roger Waters built and destroyed The Wall for the first time in 30 years, and Rammstein lit Madison Square Garden on fire in their first U.S. show in 10 years.

However, as 2010 brought anniversaries, landmarks and reunions, many significant figures in rock, punk, industrial, and metal music left us. To Ronnie James Dio, Malcolm McLaren, Jay Reatard, Paul Gray, Alex Chilton, Peter Steele, Derf Scratch, Peter Christopherson, and Captain Beefheart: Your work will continue to live in our hearts, minds and ears, inspiring a new generation of rockers to come.

As we begin 2011, let's embrace that rebellious spirit of rock music again and see where it takes us.

Who will take home the GRAMMY gold in the Rock Field? Tune in to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.
 

Judas Priest Announce 2018 Concert Tour Dates

Photo: Steve Jennings/WireImage.com

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Judas Priest Announce 2018 Concert Tour Dates

GRAMMY winners plot arena tour in support of their forthcoming new album, 'Firepower'

GRAMMYs/Oct 24, 2017 - 01:37 am

Judas Priest are ready to bring plenty of firepower, literally, to concert stages in 2018.


The metal legends, who are up for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination, will embark on a 25-date North American arena tour in support of their new studio album, Firepower, due in early 2018. The trek will kick off March 13 in Wilkes Barre, Penn., and conclude May 1 in San Antonio.

Firepower will mark Judas Priest's first album since 2014's Redeemer Of Souls. The group's prior studio album, 2009's A Touch Of Evil: Live, spawned the group's first GRAMMY win for Best Metal Performance for "Dissident Aggressor," a track from 1977's Sin After Sin.

A fan presale will commence Oct. 25.

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Judas Priest Take The Wheel
Rob Halford in "Freewheel Burning"

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Judas Priest Take The Wheel

Heavy metal icons serve up a slab of burning metal in this week's Forgotten Videos

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

Judas Priest
"Freewheel Burning"
1984

British heavy metal icons Judas Priest had reached the peak of their career. With their eighth studio album, 1982's Screaming For Vengeance, they finally shattered the platinum sales barrier, broke through to a mainstream audience (thanks to steady rotation of the video for "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" on MTV), and went on to become one of the acts at Heavy Metal Day during the famous US Festival in 1983.

Then came the all-important follow-up, 1984's Defenders Of The Faith. Even though it had taken the group nearly a decade to become metal superstars, Judas Priest were not going to play it safe. Rather than pick the obvious commercial track (the anthemic "Rock Hard Ride Free," for example), the group chose to release the speed-laden assault of "Freewheel Burning" as the lead single, making it clear that they were a loud-and-proud heavy metal band.

Priest's frequent music video director Julien Temple conjured a clip in which a young schoolboy is deeply immersed in playing a car-race video game called "Freewheel Burnin'." (Or for those who frequented arcades in the '80s, "Pole Position." Former arcadegoers may also recognize "Asteroids Deluxe" in the video.) As the boy roars through the virtual racetrack, sinister-looking frontman Rob Halford and his energized bandmates (guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, bassist Ian Hill, and then-drummer Dave Holland) deliver a thunderous, high-octane performance enhanced by a hyperactive laser assault. As the game progresses, Priest infiltrate and overwhelm the boy's game. The video's loose concept tied in to the growing arcade game frenzy of the day, and the images of gamers headbanging as Tipton unleashed his searing leads added comic relief.



Defenders Of The Faith
eventually hit No. 18 on the Billboard 200, quickly achieving gold status. No hit singles emerged, but that didn't matter. Metal was making an indelible mark on the masses, and Priest's loyal audience did not want them to follow trends (which, ironically, they did with the synth-driven Turbo two years later). A massively successful world tour proved that Judas Priest were here to stay, and the album became one of a string of gold-certified studio releases.

The band went on hiatus for several years in the '90s after Halford left to work on various solo projects, while Priest regrouped with frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens for two studio albums.

A reunion with Halford in 2003 got the metal fire burning once again. Judas Priest has subsequently performed on world tours, recorded two new studio albums (2005's Angel Of Retribution and 2008's metal opera Nostradamus) and received their first GRAMMY Award for Best Metal Performance in 2009 for "Dissident Aggressor." While Judas Priest are currently in the midst of a farewell tour, aptly titled the Epitaph tour, the band recently announced plans to record a new studio album. With their epitaph not yet finished, Priest continue to appeal to older fans while passing the metal torch to a new generation as evidenced by their performance on the 2011 finale of "American Idol" with finalist James Durbin.

Have you ever screamed for vengeance? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

Last week's Forgotten Video. Click on the "Forgotten Videos" tag below for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.