Sometimes it’s good to not take “no” for an answer.
My first meeting face-to-face with “The Metal God” Rob Halford (Judas Priest), was thanks to determination and a big, fat chunk of luck!
I wasn’t home the day that he called, so my mother took a message. When I came home that day, there was a note on the kitchen table. I had to save that note, just because I could not believe that for the first time in my life, an opportunity had been given to me, to call the guitarist of my favorite band.
My mom, of course, didn’t have a clue who he was, hence the funny spelling. The note says:
“Daniela call – Sept 27, 1990, 12.30 PM, Spain (phone number) “Kej Kej Downing” (or KK Downing) Judas Priest.
I did the interview with KK, was so nervous I could die, but it went well. I have no idea where that tape is, when and if I find it, I’ll post it.
Here’s a short message from KK to the fans in Sweden, that was for my radio show MCB – if I find the rest of the interview, well, here’s where you’ll find it – eventually.
A few months later, Judas Priest were coming to Scandinavia with the Painkiller-tour. It was in February 1991.
I had been calling CBS like crazy to get a face-to-face interview with Rob Halford but they kept stalling and let’s face it – I’ve never been a big fan of record-companies. You often find yourself dealing with people who should never be allowed to even ever get anywhere near a musician. But what can you do, it’s the way the business works. Thank god they are not ALL like that. Some of them became good friends, but most of them are a pain in the B-hind…
I was tired of the “ifs” and “maybes” so when Judas Priest came to Copenhagen, I went straight to their hotel. I don’t even remember how I found out where they were staying, but it was right next to the train station. I had prepared a short letter that could be handed over to anyone in the band, whoever, crew, management, whatever, where I simply asked for a chance to talk to Rob.
I really didn’t know where to begin or what strings to pull, but I had to start somewhere. I knew what my goal was, and it was going to happen, one way or another. I never really saw another alternative. Rob was there, and I wanted to meet him – it was as simple as that.
So I went to the reception desk. There was nobody in the lobby, I must have picked a perfect time of the day to show up. I asked the guy if he knew of a rockband that had checked in there recently… guys with long hair…? I pulled out any name I could think of, but he was just shaking his head saying he didn’t know. I was in the middle of explaining what Rob looked like, “you know – bald guy? Leather jacket probably…? Rob, Robert…Halford..? No?” when a blonde lady with a long white/grey fur walked up to me. Apparently she had heard me.
– Excuse me – I overheard you. Who are you looking for? she asked.
I explained the situation. That I was a reporter from the newspaper Kvällsposten and I had been trying to set up an interview with Rob through CBS but they still hadn’t been able to give me a yes or no and I REALLY wanted the interiew.
She reached for her purse and gave me her business card. It said “Jayne Andrews”. Judas Priest’s management. There’s the miracle I knew would happen.
– Call me tomorrow and I’ll see what I can arrange, ok?
And you bet I called. This time from Stockholm, where Priest were playing – I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Like magic, suddenly, I was one of the few reporters that got to speak to Rob that day! I was also the reason why Judas Priest were late for sound check but that’s a totally different story.
I did the interview together with another journalist from Svenska Dagbladet, right after celebrity-reporter Anders Tengner had finished HIS interview with Rob in the bar.
Well okay, there is a whole story to that too, but there will be a part 3 here – with the actual interview (it’s long! I never realized that I had the un-edited version, cause I haven’t listened to it for the past 20 years!)
I might have to divide it into 2 segments for the upload-tool to accept it, but stick around…! :)
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 Christensen, 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:
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 down dead! There I was, 14 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, promised 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 it 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, 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.
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!
Bookmark the page, subsrcribe to it or add me on Twitter, MySpace or Facebook and get the updates as they happen. :)
By popular demand – the second part of the David Coverdale 2000-interview. The part where fans had a chance to send in their questions and also the part with the “template”-questions that I used to ask every band I met back then, as a reoccuring part of my artist-interviews.
[All photos by Staffan Eriksson]
Many rock-magazines back in the day used to have a section with this type of questions. Guess it was just a way to ease things up a bit and not always be so overly serious. Fans can appreciate something different than the usual “who-produced-your-album”-sort of questions too on occasion. :)
I wasn’t sure how David would react, which is why I saved these questions for the second part of the interview. As it turns out, he enjoyed it, maybe because it was a little bit different from what he would normally have to answer in his regular interviews.
I hope that Micke Eriksson (Deep Purple Forever magazine), who helped out with the dialog with the record company, and photographer Staffan Eriksson, read this, because this is a message for you guys:
I promised you a copy each of this interview as a thank you for all your help.
That was eleven years ago and none of you ever got it, which was simply because when my computer broke down I lost all addresses, e-mails and everything. I couldn’t get in touch and I’ve felt bad about that ever since.
I take pride in keeping my promises so I hope that I’ll find them sooner or later.
And with names like “Eriksson”…. If you live in Sweden, forget it, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.
If anyone knows these two super-nice gentlemen, please give them the link to this blog. :)
As for David Coverdale, I think he is a true artist in every sense of the word, not only as a performer, but he understands the business part of things better than anyone.
He remembers people, something that is so important in this business. He always remembers my name no matter where he sees me or when. It could be in a Whitesnake-crowd or at a press-conference. He won’t hesitate, he just knows. I appreciate and respect that
I think this interview got so popular because he was so open to it and didn’t think of himself as being above “stupid questions”. On the contrary, he enjoyed them and it was a true pleasure for me as a journalist and a fan, to have this conversation with him.
There is still a lot more Whitesnake-material that I will be sharing with you all, so please feel free to check back, or add me on Twitter where I will be posting all my updates: www.twitter.com/lita77777
Found my DAVID COVERDALE-interview from August 14, 2000.
Apologies for the first 2 minutes of this recording that, unfortunately, have been ruined after 11 years kicking around various drawers and boxes around the house.
The sound quality gets better after a few minutes. I’ve got the original recording somewhere….
It will be a nice surprise for me when I find it – someday…!
[David Coverdale and me in his suite at Sheraton Hotel, Stockholm, August 2000]
There was a transcript of it on my first website, but not this particular part of it.
The interview was divided in two parts – one for radio and the other one, which was a more relaxed version where there were no rules for what I could ask him, was for a website.
As it turned out, the “relaxed” version of the interview became very popular.
It was still the early days of Internet, as you can hear David mentioning in the beginning of this interview, that “Internet is becoming huge“. It still wasn’t back in those days.
So, when I published that online, every single Whitesnake-fan that had a modem, knew about it. I think it was actually linked from the official Whitesnake-site.
THIS part of the interview (the first one) was only aired once on the radio, no re-runs or anything.
So, here it is, back for Whitesnake-fans to enjoy – eleven years later! :)
I hesitated when I thought I should include David Coverdale and Whitesnake in this blog, because there is just way too much to look back on and remember. Tour-stories, interviews, David’s birthday-greeting, the Sweden Rock-kickoff press conference…
I love Whitesnake and David Coverdale is way up there on my list of heroes, alongside Judas Priest/Rob Halford and The Beatles.
There will be more – of everything Whitesnake-related! The second part of this interview for instance, with the “crazy questions”.
Bookmark this page or subscribe to it if you don’t want to miss it!
More to come….
The original diary-notes from that day, August 14, 2000
I checked my tape recorder and the microphone probably twenty times, went through the questions over and over again, tried to organize myself. I saw some people who looked like record-company people, but I didn’t approach them. You can tell which ones are record company people, managers, roadies – all that, it’s just written all over them for some reason. I could pick them out of a crowd anytime. Well, after all these years of doing this, I’d better…! :)It was 4 pm and my interview was 4.05! I called the record-company girl from the hotel phone and she went:
“I’m downstairs with your photographer, are you coming?”.I took the elevator and went downstairs. She looked at her watch and said:
“Well okay…! Let’s go!”
Before I knew it, we were in the elevator on our way up to David Coverdale’s room.Next thing I know, we’re outside room 520. She knocked and we went in. There were three people in the room, a girl and a guy, and a man sitting next to the door who turned around when we came in.
He looked at me and went:
-I know you from somewhere, don’t I?
– Yes you do – you put me on the guestlist in Southhampton!
– Oh, is that where it was? he said and smiled.
– Weeell, it wasn’t THAT long ago... he answered and smiled. Man, three years IS a long time for ME! I don’t even remember people I met last week!
We started talking about David’s new website, and he mentioned how they had met Kino* in Japan recently and how they wanted to collaborate with all the people who’ve had the “unofficial” sites up until now. [*Kino runs one of the unofficial Whitesnake sites]He gave me his business card with the “www.davidcoverdale.com” and I thought “finally!” there will FINALLY be an official site! We talked a bit about the people in the band, about Earl Slick about this and that.. He started to laugh, cause if we had continued, there wouldn’t have been anything left for David to talk about!
Everybody left and went into the room next door. It was only me and the photographer left, and I told him in a quiet voice that I was dead nervous…– You’re smart, I’m sure this will go just fine… he replied. I didn’t feel the least “smart” or cool, only extremely nervous…!!
I was the last one to enter the room. I went in there as quietly and discreetly as I could, stared down on my boots and tried to make myself invisible by standing behind everbody as far back in the room as I could possibly get.
Then I saw how David stretched his neck to see who just came in and said in a loud voice:
– Hey, I know you!
The guys who had just finished their interview with him looked at me, the record company people looked at me, I felt like some sort of celebrity or something.He wanted me to step forward, and when I did, I took his hand to introduce myself politely, the “journalist-way”, but he kissed me on my left, then my right cheek like “Uncle David kissing his niece“-kind of way! :)
– Nice to see you again!
The people left the room and I was left alone in the room with David.
He was very relaxed, leaned back and told me to have a seat.
– So what’s new then? he asked while I was preparing my taperecorder.
It sounded just as if we were old pals who hadn’t met in a few years.
The first part of the interview was for a Swedish radio station, so we just talked about his CD and what he had been up to the part three years, also a few questions about the Van Halen rumors and things like that.
The second part was a bunch of funny, stupid, unusual questions that I brought with me just in CASE I felt he was in a mood to answer them…! And he was. Not once was it even close that he’d look at me with a “are you totally out of your mind?“-glance. On the contrary.
It was one of the best interviews I’ve ever made.
The original 30 minutes that I had for my interview turned into more than an hour, and I wish I could have stayed there all day.
When the interview was done, he even thanked me and said:
– Thank you Daniela, this was some interesting stuff…
That really warmed my heart. He had enjoyed the interview… And I got it confirmed a few days later too when I received an email from EMI that said “David was very happy with the interview…“. I don’t think I could have gotten a better compliment!After the interview was officially over, we talked a little bit more about this and that, and suddenly he asked if I had seen the CD-cover. – Wait, I’ll show you! he said and got up from the couch.
– Hey Mikey, do you have the CD artwork here somewhere, I want to show her.
Then he came back with a few stapled A4-sheets with the idea for the cover printed on them.
His wife was the centerfold in the booklet and I spontaneously said:
– Wow! She’s beautiful! (where the hell does he FIND all those unreal women?? *lol!*)
– Thank you, he said and sounded proud.
He signed a few things for me and before I left he said in his “bedroom voice” (well, that deep voice of his always sounds like that…!)
– You look very glamourous in that picture, baby!
What…? Baby? Lol.
[The “glamourous” photo from Southhampton]
He did the “Uncle David kisses his niece“-routine again and said:
– A pleasure… as always! with a smile.
I gave his manager my business card, and left.I played my journalist-role until the elevator doors closed, THAT’s when I relaxed and allowed myself to just be the Whitesnake-fan that I am.