By Steve Newton
When I asked him if there were any newer metal bands that had blown him away lately the 64-year-old “metal god” went off on a bit of a tangent.
“They’re all over the place, Steve,” he replied. “It’s a different world though isn’t it now? I mean, you know I have some fun with Five Finger Death Punch, I think they’re kind of leading the charge. Those guys have been around for a while.
“You know, you’ve got to put in at least 10 years. I know this for a fact because I’ve been doing it this long and I know just by my knowledge: you’ve gotta put in at least 10 years to get traction in music. All these bands that are so-called overnight successes are not–they’ve been out there, they’ve been playing the clubs, they’ve been gettin’ in the van, you know, they’ve been gettin’ no sleep, nothing to eat, but they’ve gone on stage and played night after night.
“So, you know, having said that, it is a different world, the music world, from the ’80s–or even the ’90s. Especially with the advent of the Internet. Everything was just turned on its head when the Internet came along. It’s very tough now for young bands, isn’t it Steve, because they have to give it all away. They have to do these 360 deals, you know, because of the way that the Internet has really attacked and almost destroyed the record companies. There’s a handful of labels left. Thank god we’re with Sony, Epic/Sony. You know, because you do need a global reach, and a strong label will work wonders for you.”
Halford then went on to give a shout-out to some of the old-school metal and hard/rock bands that have stayed the course over the last three decades or more.
“It’s also cool that the bands that have really been able to stand the test of time are still here. Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, KISS. Metallica even, you know. Slayer. There’s a list of bands, probably less than 20 bands, that are still significant and powerful–and they’ve all been around for 30 years or more. How cool is that? I wonder where the bands that are doing so well and so strongly now, where are they gonna be in 30 years time, you know?
“I mean it’s just a hypothetical thought. Does it really matter? Not really. But I’m saying that the bands that I’ve just mentioned came from a different time. And it’s really cool also that the younger metalheads are still finding a connection with these bands that I’ve just mentioned. There’s all these hundreds and hundreds of bands to choose from, and they go, ‘You know what: I’m a Priest fan. I’m totally into Priest. That’s where I’m gonna stay. That’s where I’m gonna be a fan.’
“And that’s really heartwarming, and it’s also kind of scary, because [laughs], when I go into my Instagram and I see like a 16, 17-year-old metalhead from somewhere in the world who now starts following me I’m going, ‘Oh please God, can I just have another 30 years to do what I love?’. You know. ‘Cause I know that the clock is ticking.”
For more from Halford–including his thoughts on newest Priest member Richie Faulkner and the Redeemer of Souls album–stay tuned.