GLENN TIPTON and ROB HALFORD Discuss “The Chosen Few”: We Know What They [Fans] Want

Kenneth Partridge of AOL’s Noisecreep spoke with Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford and guitarist Glenn Tipton about their new album, The Chosen Few CD and keeping up with new music. Portions of the interview appear below.

NC: What’s the status on the new album. You’ve said in other interviews that you’ve got several songs finished.

GT: Yeah, we started writing in January and February, and we’re going to get together with [new guitarist] Richie [Faulkner] and do some writing now, which is going to be exciting. We just need a little bit of time so we can get back in the studio and do some writing. That’s the difficult thing, because the schedule is so heavy.

RH: Everybody is coming to us now because there’s a sense this is the last world tour. So we’re getting offers we didn’t get before to go back to certain parts of Europe. Russia is a gigantic country, and we’ve been asked to go to certain places we’ve never visited, and that’s exciting for us. We just did Venezuela — Caracas — and we’d never been there before. It was insane. We love that. We love going to a new country for the first time, because some of the fans are in tears when they see us. “I waited 30 years, and you’re finally here. If it wasn’t for the fact you came to me, I would never get a chance to see you play life.” So that’s very emotional, very empowering.

NC: Are there bands that gave you that same feeling when you were growing up in Birmingham?

RH: I think when I saw [Jimi] Hendrix at the Isle of Wight, or the Who at the isle of Wight, in whatever year that was — ’71 or ’72, something like that. I was just [thinking], “God, I wish I could do that.”

NC: Being a veteran band must be sort of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re already well established, so you have nothing to prove. On the other hand, any new album will invariably be compared to your classic work. How do you approach a new record?

GT: We never plan it. We just write what comes naturally. We don’t sit down and contrive it and say, “We’re going to go this way or that way.” We obviously did more of that with Nostradamus, because that was a conceptual album, but we’re just going to let it roll this time and let the dice fall where they will. It will be an album Priest fans want. We know what they want, and that’s what we’re going to give them. Part of the album is a thank-you to the fans. We’ve done a couple of anthems, and Rob has great lyrics saying “thank you” to the fans for all the years. We’re just going to let our instincts drive us on the rest and compose as we go along.

NC: Your new Chosen Few record comprises Priest classics picked by some of your famous fans. Did any of their selections surprise you?

GT: I’m citing Geezer from Sabbath choosing Living After Midnight. I thought he’d go for something really dark and evil. Apparently, when we did the Sabbath-Priest Ozzfest tour some years ago, that was the song he’d come from the dressing room to check out.

NC: People were all over the place with their picks — old stuff, new stuff, etc. That must have been gratifying.

GT: That’s what’s so cool about this release. All of these friends of ours, they listen to music, obviously, when they’re on the tour bus [or wherever]. Who knew that Ozzy likes The Ripper? It’s a funny sense of timing. It’s exciting.

NC: On this tour, you guys are playing with everyone from veterans Thin Lizzy to relative newcomers Hatebreed. Do you still keep tabs on new metal bands?

RH: I check the iTunes charts every few days, and I’m always listening to snippets on there, the top 100 albums. That’s informative, and it gives you a little bit of a cross section of what the world is listening to. It’s cool to see that Anthrax is in the top three with their latest release.

NC: Your last album was a concept record about Nostradamus. Do you think this one will be more personal and maybe incorporate the feelings associated with staging a farewell world tour?

GT: Not really. Part of it is a tribute to the fans, and our way of saying thank you, but the rest of the album can go any way. We’ve got loads of ideas, and we’ll just see how they all turn out.

RH: It’ll be who we are, basically. The subject matter can be anything we choose to go for and go with. The essence of it is turning out to be a really great classic Priest metal record.

Read Noisecreep’s entire interview with Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton by clicking here.

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