Rob Halford Weighs In on Judas Priest’s ‘Musical Excellence’ Award From Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The news metal fans have been waiting several years for has finally come – Judas Priest will be going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although maybe not how they expected. The 2022 induction class was revealed Wednesday morning (May 4), and frontman Rob Halford shared his thoughts on the band's pending induction and what he's most looking forward to when the big night finally happens on Nov. 5 at Los Angeles' Microsoft Theater.
Speaking with Billboard, the Priest frontman laughingly beamed, "All I want is a selfie with Dolly Parton," before starting to marvel at the company they'll keep now going in some of music's all-time greats.
“The other day I was just noodling on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame site … and when you look at the list of talent in there, it’s absolutely extraordinary. It’s a very, very important institution for recognizing various people that have been in music since music began, right from the beginning of rock ‘n’ roll. To be part of that is, like, wow," the singer continued, before echoing the thoughts of many metal fans in stating, “And glory hallelujah, there’s another metal band in now. That’s the blessing we’ve all been waiting for.”
Though Judas Priest are going in to the Rock Hall, they weren't among the names voted in by the Rock Hall's 1,200-plus voting body, but rather will be going in as one of two recipients of the Musical Excellence Award (the other being Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis). This is the same way in which Randy Rhoads was inducted to the Rock Hall last year, a designation chosen by a separate committee rather than the overall voting body. The official wording for the honor says that it comes in recognition of "artists, musicians, songwriters and producers whose originality and influence creating music have had a dramatic impact on music."
Regardless of how they are being inducted, Halford was thrilled. “That’s totally unexpected. That’s just a very extra thrill to have that,” the singer told Billboard. “They really look at you beyond the simple band that you are. They really dig deep as to this album and that album this song and that song. I think that really supports what we’ve always tried to do."
He added, “I think it validates the real musical adventure that Judas Priest has been on since Rocka Rolla (in 1974). We’re a band that has taken you through man, many different, many dimensions, of metal. We’ve always called ourselves a classic metal band, but we’re a hard band to pin down. One minute we can be your Turbo Lover and then we can be your Painkiller, and how amazing it is for a band to really search for those opportunities within the genre of heavy metal. So I think the acknowledgement of Musical Excellence is a really sweet addition.”
Within the chat, Halford said he expects past members to be welcome as part of the induction, adding, “They have every right to be a part of the event. I’m very pleased for everybody. There’s no bitterness. There’s no angst. There’s not that kind of stuff that’s lingering. If there is you have to push all that away. You have to push it to the side and just understand and accept and respect this wonderful opportunity and what it represents in terms of recognition and a celebration.”
As for the event itself, Halford admitted he's got plenty of questions. “When the office told me I went, ‘Omigod, I haven’t got a thing to wear!’ — like, gay drama," laughed the singer. "That’s the first thing — ‘What am I gonna put on?! Do I have to put on something for dinner? Do they serve dinner? Where do I go after? Do I have to dress just for press?’ It’s a big diva moment. I’ll be doing my three or four costume changes before I get in the building.”
The 37th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. The Induction Ceremony will air at a later date on HBO and stream on HBO Max, along with a radio simulcast on SiriusXM’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Radio channel 310 and SiriusXM’s Volume channel 106. Ticket on sale information will be announced at a later time.