News Segment


June 28, 2004

After 14 years apart, the seeds of reunion between Judas Priest and its former lead singer Rob Halford were planted, cultivated and harvested in just a matter of hours last year.

“We actually made the decision in a meeting about the British box set. We went into the meeting with no intention of discussing reformation and when we came out, we decided to do it,” guitarist Glenn Tipton tells “It was a completely spur-of-the-moment decision. We had offers for two or three years and as you know, Rob was doing his solo thing and [Priest was touring] with [singer Tim] Ripper [Owens], [so] we turned them down. But then we just realized that if we didn’t do it now, we’d never do it. It was that simple.”

With the mammoth five-disc (four CD/one DVD) career-spanning box set “Metalogy” having arrived in stores last month, Judas Priest is currently on tour in Europe, readying for its high-profile slot on Ozzfest 2004, which begins July 10 in Hartford, Conn. With a set list aimed directly at a new generation of metal fans, the legendary band is playing it straight this time out.

“It is not really a greatest hits [tour] but it is total classic Priest,” says Tipton. “We felt that after 14 years, that is what people not only want but deserve. So, instead of trying to be clever, or playing long-lost numbers or things that really people didn’t expect, we felt that for these summer dates, the set list should just include classic Priest. So, that is what we are giving them.” This includes “Breaking the Law,” “Living After Midnight,” “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” “Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown),” “Beyond the Realms of Death” and more.

Tipton says the band’s next disc, which is completely written and recorded with only overdubs outstanding, will be out later this year, with a follow-up tour on tap for 2005. The guitarist said he couldn’t disclose the title of the album, which will be released by Sony.

While he’s looking forward with Priest, Tipton can’t help but look back at what former frontman Owens provided the band.

“We consider the Ripper years [to be] great years,” says Tipton. “We did two fantastic albums — ‘Jugulator’ and ‘Demolition’ — and it proved a lot to ourselves and to the fans, and it proved to be very interesting, a slightly different angle to the band. And it was certainly commendable from Ripper’s point of view particularly, and I think [important] for the band’s survival through difficult years. So, I think it does make the reunion, I suppose, more nostalgic in that sense.”

John Benson courtesy of Billboard