A few weeks ago I was killing time between flights at big box-y retailer who shall remain nameless, and though I’d originally ventured inside to purchase a car charger for my phone, I ended up dropping $16.98 on the new Judas Priest double CD ‘Nostradamus’. The cover sticker claimed there was a coupon good for a free general admission ticket to see Priest, Dio-fronting-Sabbath, Motorhead and Testament, and I figured even if the concept album was just as rotten as I suspected, this was still a good deal.
WRONG WRONG WRONG. As it turned out, Mr.-Has-No-Loyalty-To-Indie-Retail got karmic payback up the rear when he failed to read the fine print — “WHILE SUPPLIES LAST”, etc. No free Priest ticket. One $16.98 pair of ugly coasters. Let this be a lesson to you all — if you’re gonna buy terrible records, the least you can do is buy them from a record store and not some fucking refrigerator warehouse.
With that intense experience behind me, I was pleased to read the following interview with Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, as conducted by the LA Weekly’s Skylaire Alfvegren.
L.A. WEEKLY:Rob, how are you?
ROB HALFORD:I’m fine. Did you survive the earthquake?
I was in Northern California at a UFO convention.
Oh, for the band?
No, not the band.
The things in the sky?
The things in the sky.
Well, I’ve got some stories to tell you. I’ve had one or two encounters in England, not close encounters, but things that have totally freaked me out. It absolutely fascinates me. I think maybe just because it’s an artistic thing. People that are in tune with their emotions and creativity, I think that a lot of us are prone to that almost sixth-sense phenomenon. Having said that, people from all walks of life see those things in the sky, you know. But I think it’s something very bizarre and it’s been with humanity forever.
Ezekiel’s Wheel, Zoroaster, heck, Muhammad, the Dogon tribe … I’m curious. Do you feel certain camaraderie with Nostradamus because he was basically exiled, somewhat like heavy metal, and ultimately triumphed when he gained the patronage of Catherine de Medici and wrote the quatrains?
Yeah! Thank you for picking up on that! You’re one of the few journalists that has. But that was one of the appealing parts of the man’s character. You know, in metal, we talk about rejection, and running up against people that attack us. That’s exactly what that guy went through. He was looked upon as a bit of a freak, and he had this gift, this uncanny ability to have these visions and prophecies, and he was looked upon as being someone — at least by the Catholic Church — dabbling in the black arts.
I definitely see a parallel between your music and the man’s life.
Oh, but it was a terrible time to live, the 16th century, to a certain extent. There were still remnants of the Inquisition going on, which was hideous. He dealt with all that, and we thought, man, this guy led a bit of a metal life with some of those emotional elements, but he stood up for himself and he was triumphant in the end, and that’s just a great story.