Express & Star

Rob Halford: Walsall's Metal God on life, Judas Priest, homophobia - and being proud to be a Yam Yam

He's known as the Metal God to his fans, but his friends in the Beechdale estate in Walsall simply call him Rob.

Rob Halford has been at the forefront of heavy metal for five decades

Rob Halford has come a long way since his childhood growing up in the Black Country, having toured the world with Judas Priest for more than 50 years and been regarded as one of the greatest metal frontmen and singers of all time.

With 19 studio albums and countless awards behind them, Judas Priest are one of the seminal metal acts of all time, but have not rested on their laurels and traded on past glories and are, instead, getting ready to tour the world again after releasing their latest album "Invincible Shield".

The band are touring after releasing their 19th studio album "Invincible Shield"

This latest tour includes a night in Birmingham, on March 19 at the Resorts World Arena NEC, and has brought Rob Halford and his bandmates home for rehearsals ahead of the 28 shows that will take the band across the UK, Europe and the USA.

Even now, more than 50 years after the release of Judas Priest's debut album Rocka Rolla, Rob Halford is able to sit in his house in Walsall, which he splits time in alongside his home in Arizona, and say that he has enjoyed great fortune over his life and career and is always thankful for the continued love and support of the fans.

He said: "I think it's the same elements for anybody that's had the great fortune and luck and destiny and fate, whatever you call it in rock and roll.

"The heart of it is your music, the substance of your longevity is the quality of your music that you make, coupled with your fans - because you're nothing without your fans and we've just had this incredible hardcore following of fans all over the place that has kept us going so strongly.

"The relevance of Priest right now is as strong as it ever was as everybody around the world wants to see Judas Priest, and that's really remarkable half a century later and if you think about it too much, your head would go up in smoke.

"I just love it for all the simple true elements of maintaining this fantastic band called Judas Priest, all the compassion, passion, dedication and conviction which have gone into who we are and what we do and which are probably stronger today than they ever were before."

Rob said that the fact that the band were getting ready to do another world tour was still a thing he said could have been for someone else, but was a story he found remarkable.

He also said that the fact the band was still recording new material was important to the survival of the band as it honoured the fans' commitment and love and allowed the two to experience something new together.

He said: "19 studio albums later and the fact that all of your fans demand to be acknowledged in a way that is vitally important and after playing Breaking The Law, Living After Midnight or You've Got Another Thing Coming, do you need to make new music, experience new sounds and a new adventure?

"Well, yes, because that's what we've done for 50 years and whenever we make a record, the next opportunity is to go on tour and that's our routine of making a record and going on tour.

"It's part of what makes this band special."