ROB HALFORD – my memories (part 1)

As I was digging through my boxes of old cassettes, I found another, rather precious tape last night: My very first ROB HALFORD (Judas Priest)-interview!

I was so nervous, I could barely breathe that day. I was only 21 when that interview was made, and to this day, I still think of Rob as a “Metal God”. My love and respect for the man cannot be described in words.

But the truth is that the 1991 interview wasn’t really the first one I did with Rob. Indirectly, I “spoke” to him already 27 years ago, in 1984.
I was a 14-year-old fan and I used to listen to the only hard rock show there was on Swedish national radio back in those days – Rockdepartementet. I got in touch with one of the hosts, Marianne Christensson, and we became penpals. I’ve still got most of her postcards with the Rockdepartementet-logo on, and the letters.

I knew that Priest were coming, so I sent her a letter and asked her if she could maybe ask Rob some of my questions.
One evening, the phone rang. I still remember that grey plastic phone we had in the kitchen, it looked exactly like this:

Dialog (telefon) – Wikipedia

It was Marianne. She said that she was meeting Rob in Gothenburg and figured why don’t I just come along and ask Rob whatever I wanted, myself?!

Seriously, I almost dropped dead! There I was, 13 years old, a HUGE MEGA SUPER-FAN of Judas Priest…A school-girl with no connections to the rock world whatsoever, other than sitting alone in my room listening to records in all my spare time.

And she tells me that there is a chance to actually MEET this guy? That was unbelievable. Her offer was like winning a million bucks in the lottery, but better!

My legs were shaking when I asked her to hang on for a second, as I went into the living room where my mother was watching TV.

– Marianne….Rockdepartementet….Rob Halford… Judas Priest… interview…. Gothenburg. Can I go?

– No you can’t. Are you out of your mind?? she said.

I begged and pleaded, promising that I would do ANYTHING if she just let me go. The answer was a coldhearted NO, she thought I was way too young, I could not just travel alone and that was the end of that discussion.

To this day, I still haven’t forgiven my mother for that. If I had had my own money, I probably would have eloped and met Rob anyway. But I was totally helpless, had no money and I realized I would not be able to go.
I went back to the phone and told Marianne that I was very grateful for her offer but I was not allowed to go.

God, I still remember how heartbroken I was. It was terrible. So close, yet so far away.

Well, Marianne was super-cool. She asked Rob every single question I sent her. The ones that hadn’t been on the air, she wrote down as a transcript and sent them to me. I was happy anyway.
It was quite a feeling to hear my name mentioned on the radio for the first time ever, in the same sentence as Rob Halford! I couldn’t sleep for days!

Here it is… Rob Halford, 1984. Note how he states that he’s 32 years old! And now, in 2011, it’s time for the Epitath-tour and for Judas Priest to retire. It’s been a long journey. Not just for Priest but also for many of their fans, myself included.

Listen on Posterous

So far, I’ll be seeing 6 Priest-shows this summer. I just hope they will be back in the fall to do an arena tour as well.

I can’t believe that I’ve loved this band for 27 years. And their music still moves me, goes straight to my heart. Seeing Rob at Madison Square Garden back in December was fantastic. I was so glad to see him on stage again, I was crying throughout his whole set! I don’t do that with any other band or artist. But there’s something that triggers it when I see Rob live, I just love that music so much and it has meant the world to me.

Part two coming up soon – my very first in-person interview with Rob, done during the Painkiller-tour 1991. It was amazing finding that original tape – because I had a Judas Priest special on my own radio show that year, where the interview was included.
I’ve only been listening to the edited radio version of it ever since, cause I didn’t want to wear out the original tape. This is the FIRST TIME I listened to the original since then, and I realized that there was still a lot more that I hadn’t been able to include in the show because of the time limit. I don’t even remember most of this, and nobody else has ever heard it either!

So – 20 years later it sees the light!

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  1. Ronnie Soo

    Wonder is that remark about Maiden the reason that Maiden and Priest never got along for years? Cos they were never about satanic lyrics either and ‘the Number of the Beast’ was if anything, against it!

  2. Daniela

    I don’t think Rob really knew what he was talking about at the time, something was definitely a huge misunderstanding. I wouldn’t call Motley Crue “satanic” either, I mean, their “Shout at the devil” with the stupid pentagram and shit was just a way of selling records. It’s not like they were Venom or Merciful Fate. I guess we didn’t have access to that much information back in those days – before Google and all! :)

  3. Ronnie Soo

    Even Venom just used it as a tool to get publicity… I must get around to uploading a chaotic ‘interview’ they did for Sky Channel in 1985 where they just acted the goat all the way through. Back in the 80s, there was a notorious interview in Kerrang mag with King Diamond – the journo (Dave Dickson) knew more about the occult than KD did at the time and proceeded to paint him as a know-nothing poseur! Mind you, nowadays the likes of Akercocke can be quite open about being satanic and nobody gives them any heed! As for Mötley Crüe, that notice on the back of ‘Shout At The Devil’ was hilarious – ‘This Record May Contain Backward Messages’. It either DOES contain backward messages or it doesn’t – even the most brain-dead PMRC member should have seen through that!

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