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Back in the Day

Rob Halford Predicts JUDAS PRIEST’s Future in 1982: 'I Think We've Still Got a Few Years Left in Us'

Rob Halford 1982 Photo: Pete Cronin/Redferns

Though he was joking, hearing Rob Halford say, in 1982, that the mighty Judas Priest still had a few years in them, sounds ludicrous today as 39 years after this interview, the band is still going strong. And, if we can all continue to get vaccinated (as Halford has urged fans of the band and everyone else for that matter), we might even be able to see the band live once again later this year. Devil horns crossed!

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As far as this intimate footage of Rob Halford being interviewed in Coconut Grove, Florida, it is full of highlights, much like Judas Priest's and Rob Halford's storied careers. Rob and JP ended up hanging out in Coconut Grove, a stone's throw from Miami, to put the finishing touches on Screaming for Vengeance at both Beejay Recording Studios (go ahead, get it out of your system), and Bayshore Recording Studios. Rob speaks highly of the band's work on Screaming, as the track "Pain and Pleasure" chugs away in the background saying they were "very happy" with the finished product after nine longs months of recording in Ibiza. 

The fun starts with attempts to mic Rob properly, who is naturally clad in black leather, studs, and chains top to tails, while he takes a couple of slugs from a bottle of Budweiser. There are so many Metal God highlights in this endearing seventeen-minute clip that makes it worth watching–Rob's jovial banter with the crew on the set and his producer Tom Allom (then a resident of Coconut Grove), is downright charming making it impossible to not smile along to. In addition to giving us a few laughs, Halford is, as always, beautifully precise as he reflects on heavy metal's appeal and how he hopes it would finally break through larger audiences.

Turns out, Halford's prediction was as accurate as an electric eye. All you have to do is take a look at the cavalcade of genre-defining/smashing metal albums released not only in 1982 but in the subsequent years 1983 (Kill Em' All/Metallica), Holy Diver/Dio, Piece of Mind/Iron Maiden, Show No Mercy/Slayer, in 1984 (Ride the Lightning (Duh), Fistfull of Metal/Anthrax), No Remorse/Motörhead. Other seminal metal releases would follow in 1985 (Killing is My Business/Megadeth), 1986 (Master of Puppets, Peace Sells but Who's Buying, Reign in Blood) and for years to come before Grunge temporarily lowered the hammer on heavy metal. So, as it turns out, it does appear that Rob Halford can see the future. 

I don't want to reveal much about this footage as it would undoubtedly take away from the enjoyment of watching it. I will, however, say this; in the interview, Rob is very transparent about his sexuality. A full sixteen years before he officially let everyone know what he believed was obvious, especially as it pertained to many of JP's lyrics. He was a gay man and the leader of one of the greatest heavy metal bands ever with a vocal range that would stop you dead in your tracks. For any fan of Judas Priest, this footage is about as good as it gets, nostalgia-wise. 

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A throwback interview with Rob Halford from 1982 filmed just before the release of 'Screaming for Vengeance.'

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