Rob Halford Still Wants to Do a Blues Album: Exclusive Interview
With Judas Priest on the edge of their 50th anniversary as a band -- and nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you wouldn’t think that Rob Halford would be feeling the blues.
But as he told UCR in a recent interview, the success of his Celestial holiday album has him thinking seriously about making his next solo release a blues record.
“I’ve always had this yearning to do a blues album and I think that this could be the next step with my brother and my nephew,” he says. “I think the way that their musicianship [on Celestial] has been embraced, that’s a really strong signal to me. It’s only thoughts in my head at the moment. [But] there’s a good possibility that the next Halford and Family and Friends could be a blues record.”
In 2015, he revealed that the idea of recording an album of blues songs had been on his “bucket list” for a long time. “I don't know what kind of blues album I could do because there are so many different facets," he said at that time. "Maybe I'll just mix it up."
Blues, as he shared during our latest chat, has been a part of his world for decades, going back to his early days as a musician. “I used to play the harmonica really well. This idea about the blues album has kind of rekindled that, because just thinking back, probably in my very early 20s, maybe in my late teens, I started to play blues harmonica,” he says. “I would always listen to Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bessie Smith, the greats [and] the originators. It’s been wonderful, much like metal, to see how those very simple basic primitive displays of American South and Chicago blues have grown [into] all of the different varieties of the blues, like the different varieties of metal. It just seems like it’s calling me, so that could be the next step to consider.”
As far as the current Celestial album goes, Halford says he’d be open to the idea of performing the songs live and he’d be curious to see where the experience might lead. “I think if it we ever did a live show, it would be purely to support the Celestial music. Where we might go afterwards, is anybody’s guess. I think that’s what I love about live shows,” he explains. “That’s what I love about the transition of the music from listening to it on CD or from the cloud or vinyl or whatever, I love the transition from there into the live performance. Because something really special happens. Something very, very special happens when any artist plays live. It’s remarkably unique. You never, ever, ever are going to have that experience again. Even if you’ve played ‘Breaking the Law’ a million times, each time it is different. So yeah, everything is open.”
It won’t happen this year, because as the veteran vocalist notes, “time doesn’t permit, but adds that “there’s no reason why we can’t do it next Christmas, for example. Christmastime, it seems to be longer these days,” he chuckles. “Christmas is now starting in October! But it would be very cool to consider.”