Judas Priest Are Planning 50th Anniversary Celebration
The British icons have notched up more than 50 million album sales since their foundation in 1969, with bassist Ian Hill the only member who’s been there since the start.
“We are, yes, yes,” Halford replied when asked by WMMR if they were going to mark the anniversary. “We're already having these discussions every now and again in the band and with our label and with our promoters and management. We have some ideas, and when we get close to solidifying something, we'll let you guys know. It's going to be a great year. What a celebration – another incredible milestone for Judas Priest that we're looking forward to sharing with everybody.”
Looking back over his career, Halford said he was proud to have created the leather-and-studs look that went on to define an era of heavy metal, and that it was an illustration of a member of the LGBTQ community having influenced a large-scale cultural movement often associated with male heterosexual expression.
“It was never in my mind when I thought about that side of who I am, or what I represent,” he recalled. “But it certainly was [an example of gay influence]. There’s a lot of weird stuff going on and we’ve got to try and avoid the temptation of getting too involved in that divisiveness. Encourage liberty, acceptance, loving one another, having a great time – these are all strong markets for Judas Priest and heavy metal.”
The band will soon start a U.S. tour with Deep Purple. Asked about the music fans would hear on the road, Halford joked that “we all put our boxing gloves on." "There are certain songs that are vital to any band with longevity," he said. "These songs are so important to your lives and to your fans’ lives. So there’s a little bit of everything. … We’re going to mix the set list up.”
Earlier this year, the veteran singer said the band’s longevity has been "just a glorious journey." "Judas Priest was born in 1969, and that just seems inconceivable," he noted.
"I cherish the fact that as a musician, I came from a whole different time of music. The people that inspired me really kind of set the tone and the template for me as a musician. But then you can fast-forward over four decades, and I meet bands all the time, and young metal bands reference bands like Priest — 'I heard that song when I was at school, and I picked up a guitar,' or, 'I grabbed a mic,' so we're all kind of passing the torch, so to speak."