Although many JUDAS PRIEST fans felt singer Rob Halford's return was inevitable, Halford has revealed to Revolver magazine (August 2004) that he himself wasn't quite so certain. "I must admit, when [1997's 'Jugulator', PRIEST's first album with Tim 'Ripper' Owens] came out, I thought, 'Well, that's it, then. They're working with Tim, they're making music, and they're touring. Maybe we've gone too far, and now it's not going to happen.
"I must admit that those [reunion] possibilities crossed my mind," he continued. "I've never told anybody this before, but there was a time — I think it was around the first FIGHT release — where I approached someone about it. I'm not gonna say who, but I approached someone who was directly associated with the band and I made a gesture, something of a reach-out, and I was to some extent rebuked. I was rebuffed, but I think that's because emotions and feelings and everything else were still so much on the front burner.
"So as early as me outing together the first FIGHT album, I was having these moments of going, 'Oh, god, what's been created here?' All of those initial ideas of setting myself on different courses to fulfill some of those creative impulses suddenly crumbled around me, the fact that I created this horrific breakup, which wasn't my intent… Right from the get-go, I was having feelings that I should try to repair this. But having said that, aside from that one incident, I just appreciated that some time needed to pass before we could make the next move."
When Sony began hatching plans for a career-spanning JUDAS PRIEST box set — "Metalogy", a four-CD collection released this May — Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill got together to discuss which songs should be included. "We were over at my house in England," Halford told Revolversitting in my kitchen looking over the concept for 'Metalogy'. We were all there except Scott [Travis, the band's drummer since 1990], and we were talking about the box set. And I think it was Jayne [Andrews, PRIEST's management coordinator] who brought up the subject — 'Well, what are we going to do about the reunion? Are we going to get together again?' We all looked at each other and went, 'O yeah, I guess we might as well. If we're not going to do this now, we're never going to do it.'
"And that was it, you know? We all said, 'Okay, well, let's get together at such and such a time.' And then, five minutes later, everybody was out of my house and driven off in different directions. And I'm sitting there going, 'I'm back in the band, I'm back in the band.' Well, that was a bit of an anticlimax! Of course, I just felt so great. It was such a wonderful feeling of coming home, to be back in this band that I love so much."
Asked what he thinks it will be like to be the first gay icon to play Ozzfest, Halford saidWell, you know, I wish I was a gay icon, but I'm not! [laughs] I'm really *****ed off, because I thought I would be revered by the gay community and be a Madonna-esque figure, btu I'm not. I never see anything about me in the gay mags, or nothing!
"It's really funny, you know — if I walked into a bar in West Hollywood, hey'd go, 'Who's that old fag in the corner?' My gay friends go, 'I'll bet you get all these hot guys chasing you backstage now!' And I go, 'Are you kidding me? It's worse than ever! I never get laid!' "
Revolver magazine's August 2004 issue is out on the stands now. For more information.