Here's what Judas Priest is looking forward to during Corpus Christi stop
Since the 1970s, heavy metal band Judas Priest has been tearing up the stage in Corpus Christi.
Making its way back to the Coastal Bend, the English band will perform at Concrete Street Amphitheater as part of its 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour on Saturday.
In a Zoom interview with the Caller-Times, lead singer Rob Halford said he's looking forward to returning to the Sparkling City by the Sea and remembered performing at the Memorial Coliseum with Mahogany Rush's Frank Marino decades ago.
When Halford learned the building is no longer intact, he was disappointed but said it's a "thrill to be coming back."
He described the tour as cinematic and "a little trip through the metal memory lanes." He said the band's follow-up to its 2018 album, "Firepower," is almost finished (though Halford still has to record his vocals, he said, calling himself a "slow [expletive] queen"). "It's written and it's great and it's got everything you love about Priest and more," Halford said.
This interview has been edited for length.
John Oliva: "Firepower" was y'all's highest-charting album in the U.S. It's been nearly 50 years since Judas Priest released its debut, "Rocka Rolla." What does that achievement mean to you?
Rob Halford: It's just remarkable, it really is. We're so blessed and grateful. Are we having the times of our lives still? No, but that's the wonderful part about Priest: the hunger and the joy and the excitement and the energy this band has been making for as long as we have been making it. It's never dissipated. The conviction and the dedication is still with us. You can feel that and see it as we play these shows on our 50th anniversary tour.
JO: What is the inspiration for y'all's next album?
RH: We never really know. I don't think we've ever made a plan, per se. We did a little bit with "Firepower" because we wanted to explore our other classic elements with Priest. I think the only other time where we had a kind of blueprint was "Painkiller." We wanted "Painkiller" to reinforce the ferocious metal power this band possesses. Besides those two, everything is just whatever happens. We get together, as we have done for all these albums, we meet at a studio, everyone brings their ideas — somedays we start with nothing — and then we end up with a song that will live forever. It's just joyous. We always try to make an album that stands alone.
("Firepower") was so well-received and critically acclaimed. It was kind of like, "Is that it? Should we leave it there? Should we leave the party now?" But that record, along with the reception from our friends and in the industry, gave us even more energy and more determination to make another Priest album. And make one that's a strong piece of work to come after "Firepower."
JO: What is your favorite song to perform live on tour?
RH: Oh, Lord. When we decide to put the setlists together, everybody has to be 100% committed to every song. I'll ask, "Does everybody want to play this song? Because if one of us doesn't, there's no point." Everyone has to be in the zone as you perform.
My answer to your question is every single one of them. I do like the way we're very serious upfront, and then we get looser at the end. The fun starts in the encore phase. Our audience even gets loose a little more. It's a timeline and it's like a time machine. I'm sure some of our friends in Corpus Christi have seen us many times. I'm sure when they'll hear "Living After Midnight," it'll suddenly be 1980 again for some people. They'll be transported back to school, back to work or in their car with their significant other. It's all these memories that music contains that attach itself to you.
JO: What are you looking forward to once the tour wraps up?
RH: (Touring) becomes such an important part of your life and who you are. You only really feel alive, in the truest sense, when you're out on the road with the band and your crew and you're constantly roaming around the world like a machine. It's been a pretty tough tour this time around with the amount of shows we've played. We're grateful for every one, though. I don't think I'll make it that tough next time because my old bones can't take it as much as it used to.
I'm looking forward to the best time of the year. I love the holidays and Christmas time. I'll be with family and friends. Then I'll get my vocals done and then we're off to do some work with Ozzy (Osbourne) in the early part next year. Then we'll start digging into the preparation on the release of our next album.
JO: You said you've been coming to Corpus Christi since the ’70s. Do you have any plans on checking out any local attractions when you're down here?
RH: I'm a big foodie. I love food. I live up in Phoenix and I've always loved Mexican food. I'm going to go burrito-mad and fajita-mad and eat some of that beautiful Corpus Christi food. I like to take a walk along the promenade — in America you call them boardwalks. I'll bump into people and meet the fans and hang out. I have a lot of fun and emotional memories of Corpus Christi. It's nice to come back and rekindle them once again. It's a beautiful city and we're looking forward to coming back. It's such a thrill to be coming back. It's going to be a fantastic show.
JO: For good Mexican food, I would recommend Kiko's Mexican Food Restaurant.
RH: Kiko's? OK, where's that?
JO: It's in the city on Everhart Road.
RH: I'll remember Kiko's. I'll take my other half, Thomas. We're both foodies. We'll be sure to check it out.
More:What's missing from Corpus Christi's concert scene? Venues, fans weigh in
Freddie Records: Meet the family behind the Corpus Christi music company
John Oliva covers entertainment and community news in South Texas. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @johnpoliva.
Consider supporting local journalism with a subscription to the Caller-Times.
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Five questions with Judas Priest's lead singer Rob Halford