Rob Halford gives good carol about the holidays, being a diva and one Idol
Heavy metal god. Gay hard rock legend. Christmas caroler?
One of these doesn’t seem to fit, but Rob Halford can go three for three comfortably. When he’s not doing the Judas Priest bit, he’s headbanging with his other band, Halford. This year, they pulled off a surprise Christmas album that works in mysterious ways. Winter Songs may not be a perfect holiday album, but it has heart.
Halford called to chat up his newest album as well as offering a couple of surprising insights.
Dallas Voice: The obvious question is: What made you do a holiday album? Halford: More than anything, IÊ¼m seeking moments that IÊ¼ve really not had a musical adventure in. IÊ¼ve been trying to find the opportunity to do something like this. Everybody likes the Christmas holiday and that seed was planted a long time ago.
Was it difficult to translate songs that have been around forever into your sound? HereÊ¼s the deal: A good song is a good song. It will take any kind of translation.
Having said that, these being in the Christmas flavor, we worked at keeping within the context of thesongs. ThatÊ¼s pretty tough to do with a heavy metal band. But when I listened to some of arrangements, the instrumentation was first class. The band took the very original arrangement and made it metal. Traditional songs mean a lot to everyone and thankfully these songs lent themselves to be translated into a different manner.
Did the band look at you crazy when you approached them with the idea? They were like, "Has he completely lost his mind?" [Laughs] It was very much a team effort and it had been seven years since our last release. They loved the idea themselves. Why not see what we can do by stepping out of our box. Besides,weÊ¼re not heavy metal Grinches.
YouÊ¼re voice is legend in the genre. Was it restrained at all covering some traditionals? IÊ¼ve always counted my blessings. This voice can do many things and I see it as a gift. I just finished reading Adam LambertÊ¼s review and it appears to be a fantastic record. First, thank God for Adam Lambert. We need someone like this in music and the gay community. His voice does many great things.
Do you have a particularly gay audience? I have my gay metalhead fans all over the world. Sometimes they are so obvious from stage but itÊ¼s still a wonderful surprise.
How cool is that? Some of these songs get into the Pride spirit and could even be a gay anthem like "Light of the World."
ItÊ¼s been more than 10 years since you came out. How has it been since? It gives me a lot of comfort and it was a weight off my shoulders. There is a lot of phobia in metal music, but me coming out chips away at that wall, bit by bit. It just crossed my mind that I had no negative feedback. Fans were cool, and that speaks volumes for the better world weÊ¼re in. We have come forward by leaps and bounds.
What would surprise us about Rob Halford? People think with my leather and studs look that IÊ¼m part of that community. ItÊ¼s just a look — IÊ¼ve never been involved with the leather community personally, but I respect and support peopleÊ¼s choices and decisions.
Oh, and I can be a diva. I just wanna show up and record.
I have my episodes, too. Sometimes the band just thinks, "Oh, sheÊ¼s having a drama moment."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 4, 2009.