Ben Lammas of Express & Star recently conducted separate interviews with JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford, Rob's sister Sue, his brother Nigel and Rob's parents Barrie and Joan (both of whom are in their 80s). A few excerpts follow below.
On the possibility of a hometown performance — in Walsall, a large industrial town in West Midlands County in England, U.K. — one day in the future:
Rob: "If someone came up with an idea and we could get everyone there in the same place I would never say never to performing back in Walsall, you can't beat a local gig."
On retaining a house in Walsall which he tries to return to a few times a year from his base in America where he spends most of his time in San Diego:
Rob: "I miss good chips or a curry, I still have my British accent and I love my home town. I come back two or three times a year for flying visits and always for Christmas and New Year.
"I would hate it if I could not come back and push my trolley around The Saddlers centre. I think it must be terrible for these people who are hugely famous and can't even do that sort of thing."
On how Rob Halford came to join JUDAS PRIEST:
Sue (Rob's sister): "The original JUDAS PRIEST had split up and were looking for a singer. I was going out with Ian Hill [JUDAS PRIEST bassist] at the time, who plays bass, and I met Ken [JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing] through Ian.
"Rob was in his own band at time but had a reputation already and Ian and Ken were asking me about him.
"I went to meet Rob with Ken and with a little gentle persuasion he agreed to join as long as he could bring his drummer John Hinch with him. So I like to think I had a bit to do with their success. The lineup has stayed pretty much the same but the drummers have changed over the years."
On never tiring of playing in a band:
Rob: "I still love being in a band — even when PRIEST was at the height of its success in the '70s and on 'Top of the Pops', we always kept our noses to the grindstone and never put our feet up. I think that is a Black Country sensibility.
"I never really had any other ambition when I left school I went to work at the Grand Theatre at Wolverhampton and would stand at the side of the stage and watch the magic of those shows. That would really be exciting and gave me added determination to be on stage.
"I used to play at venues in Freer Street and at the town hall and working men's clubs.
"The thing about JUDAS PRIEST was we never turned down a gig and we had some bizarre ones."
On when Rob's family realized he had made it big:
Nigel (Rob's brother): "There is a bit of an age gap between me and Rob but when I was at Frank F Harrison School some of the metal fans put two and two together and realized who I was related to and it was only then I really realized how famous he was."
Barrie (Rob's father): "Success hasn't changed Rob at all even though he's known throughout the world as The Metal God."
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