THE INTERVIEW: Metal God Rob Halford

Rob Halford with Rock writer Ralph Greco Jr.

Yes, he is the quintessential metal god, Rod Halford, lead singer/songwriter/main visual stimulant of Judas Priest, leader of his own blisteringly heavy solo band Halford, music mogul of the Metal God label and now the driving force behind Metal God Apparel. I happened to get a few minutes to sit down with the bald tattooed lead singer who turned out to be one of the nicest “English gentleman” I could have found.

How did Metal God Apparel come into being?

It happened really, it seems like over night because when we put together the Metal God Entertainment Company, this is one of the ideas we had, we wanted to go into apparel, clothing, we didn’t really have a time frame.

And you were touring with Judas Priest at the time, right?

Yes, all the main team of the Halford stuff had been working feverishly, the office, Mark Sasso (designer) and me in the middle going around the world having all these emails coming through. It was probably 12 months really to get it together, maybe less, and I guess now is as good as any for the time of the launch.

It seems a logical extension of the visual style you’re famous for with Priest, with all your live work.

That’s part of the history of what I do live, with Priest and my solo work, making it visually interesting beyond just the music. More than ever it’s so difficult to keep people’s focus, attention, cause we live in the world of the sound bite. You got to keep your audience fixed to what’s going on or they’re in the bar.

It does seem quite a few music people, rap, pop, rock are getting into clothing.

Right, I’m not the first person in the music business to branch out into this opportunity and you do it for lots of different reasons. I love it from a fun element; I love wearing the stuff. We wanted an everyday T-shirt, then going from that idea, to where we are now.
(According to Rob’s press, the shirts are available now online, at http://www.metalgodapparel.com/, and then in the Spring for as-of-yet unnamed retailers, then in the fall with possibly 30 shirts in all!)

Well you certainly seem to be the kind of artist that is the ‘captain of your own ship’.

Well it is a big metal ship, lots of people on board, but I wouldn’t say I was a captain as I am the ballast of the ship. I like to think I am strong and resilient, after 40 years in the business. And I’d like to think what I’ve got to offer is unique, or as unique as what everyone else seems to offer with their particular brands and pursuits. The most important thing is profile; you have to do something like this when the profile is there.

Now beyond the T-shirts, you have a new album coming out (Halford III-Winter Songs hits stores on 10/26)

I’ve always wanted to make a seasonal record. I don’t really want to say Christmas, that kind of boxes me in, but a celebration of the end of the year when people of all faiths celebrate and enjoy. I absolutely love that feeling and that time of year and I’ve always enjoyed the songs that are popular. We tried to be selective and go with some of the songs that would probably not be at the top of the list. So there’s seven traditional tracks and then originals on the new one Winter Songs.

So solo work with Halford, your high visibility with Judas Priest, and now Metal God Apparel, you keep pretty busy.

I always work to maintain visibility. I’ve been back with Priest now a number of years and that is the band that will always lead me in my life. But I still feel strongly connected to my solo endeavors and that’s something that means a lot to me. And it’s a time thing as well. I like to be prolific, but once something’s done it’s done for me. I’m always looking forward to what else is next. I feel good that I haven’t lost that kind of attitude. I’m always excited about the endless possibilities.

Ralph Greco Jr.

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