If you have been a fan of Heavy Metal for any number of years then it is without question that you already know about Rob Halford, the legendary lead singer for the equally legendary Judas Priest. Their music has defined a generation of Metal music and formed its fanbase to record proportions. As a member of The Priest, Halford has recorded some of the genres most popular anthems and off the top of my head the ones that everyone seems to key into are “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”, “Breaking The Law”, “Living After Midnight” and “Hell Bent For Leather”. There’s a ton more and I know that I am annoying my fellow Judas Priest acolytes by leaving some “signature” tunes out, but this is just a musing and not a complete recap of the band’s history or their overall discography. After almost two decades with the group Halford decided to move on and front a band of his own design. The parting from Priest found him forming the band Fight, who were a brutalizing quintet when it came down to it. With Fight the singer would record two albums War Of Words and A Small Deadly Space. From Fight he would record with Trent Reznor under the moniker Two but this effort was very ill-recieved since it was not what the larger fan base had expected to come from The Metal God. When he had finished his plans with Two he jumped right back into the fray of Metal by forming and fronting a band very aptly labeled – HALFORD. These albums kicked new levels of ass for the singer and we would get two studio releases and a live album (Resurrection, Crucible, & Live Insurrection). The reception to Rob Halford’s revisit to Metal was met with great response and while we all anxiously awaited another studio album the news came in that he had reunited with his former band Judas Priest and a tour would be among the first things planned. The rest is pretty much recent music history with the exception of the fact that in late 2007 he would launch his own label imprint “Metal God Entertainment” and with this we would see a lot of great surprises released.
The first release would be Metal God Essentials Vol. 1 and its a combination Greatest Hits and DVD preview. We reviewed this on PiercingMetal.com when it came out so please check the link below to see what we thought of the album:
He would also release the never before seen documentary film “Fight: War Of Words – The Film”, which would be the story of how he built the band after he came to the decision to leave a band like Priest. Each of these three releases would come in a standard and a special edition. I had to say if this was how this enterprise was beginning I could hardly wait to see what would come from them over the months to come. As part of the promotion of these releases, Halford would be making appearances at some of the major retailers so he could meet his fans and sign their purchases. One of the stops was J&R Music World in NYC and with this store in my immediate area I just couldn’t resist the chance to go to take some photos and to meet the man himself if I was lucky enough to get the opportunity. I got there just before it began on purpose since tonight was a COLD night with a capital “C” to say the least. When I arrived there were already faithful Metal heads on the line and all were holding several different items each. There were records, CD’s, posters and photos that they had owned for years as well as the new CD’s and DVD’s that had just been released that day. Suddenly, the man himself was here and the place roared as he walked by and went up to the dais to sit down. The surprise was that he was also with two members of the band Fight (guitarists Russ Parrish and Brian Tilse), so they would also be able to sign the new CD/DVD set for the fans. There were posters from the film all around and enough extra for the crowd to take one home with them after they met the singer and his former band. I snapped a couple of dozen shots and have a link for you to follow should you like to see them, click away…..
As you can see Mr. Halford seemed in good form and the other guys in the group were not too shy about mugging for my camera while Rob talked to his fans. You will also notice that they were joined by none other than Metal Mike Chlasiak (Halford, PainMuseum, Testament, Sebastian Bach). There were a few hundred people in attendance by my count and while I would have liked to see some more tonight, this number kept the appearance short and allowed every fan who braved the cold to get their stuff signed and offered them all a chance to speak to the singer and pose for photos with him as well. I was happy to snap a couple of shots for some of the die hards that I often see in the front row at the shows I am shooting/reviewing. Dedication like this is what the genre needs my friends, so keep that in mind. The guys in the band were just as accomodating and seemed to be enjoying the chance to sign this newly issued Fight stuff. The K5 Demos are actually recordings taken from the bands first go round on their material before their debut album even came out, so it was a cool chance to hear how this stuff was being fleshed out.
As the crowd got down to its last person I asked them if they would mind my doing the same thing as everyone else had done. They kindly obliged me and I made sure to do it as official as everyone else had done and as I approached Rob I couldn’t help but being in a little bit of shock because this is “The Metal God” we are talking about and you don’t get to meet him every day. Since he had been meeting fans for about an hour and a half I kept my talking to him brief and essentially thanked him for all that he has done for the genre. He seemed excited about the new company and the future of his projects as well as Judas Priest and like a typical fan I replied that we could hardly wait for these things to see the light of day. There are a whole bunch of things on the plate for Metal God Entertainment in terms of music and video and I am sure that all of us will dig what they end up releasing. I had to make sure Rob got the PiercingMetal.com card since I was there and he took it graciously and read it aloud. “So this PiercingMetal is your magazine then Ken?” he asked, and I was like a kid as I replied “yes sir, I hope you have time to check it out”. He said that he would and one could only hope that he found a break to do so. I asked the store manager to snap my shot so here I am being all touristy and trying not to make an insane Metal face. It was an honor to meet such a legendary performer and I cannot say this enough.
I was in such a shock after this meeting that I didn’t do anything more than talk to Metal Mike, Russ and JJ while I should have stopped to take an additional photo. I have known Mike from these shows and events for a couple of years now and he told the guys about the site and that I was a writer/photographer. From there I think it was JJ who growled the site name and laughed saying how he liked the play on words as he saw my name. Of course I didn’t think to record these “sound bytes” for some kind of future use but alas hindsight is truly 20/20.
Judas Priest is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on their first-ever concept album which will be called “Nostradamus”. It has been said that this will be a double CD release and a tour will be done to support the release. I am interested in seeing how The Priest handles a concept release because these are often either good or bad with limited middle ground. See you at the shows Metal maniacs.
Official Website: http://www.judaspriest.com