Rob Halford is over-the-moon to finally get to call himself a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
It's been 48 years since Judas Priest's debut album; 23 years since the band first became eligible for the Rock Hall; and six years since the first time the band was nominated.
As Judas Priest tours in celebration of its 50th anniversary, Halford, who beat prostate cancer in 2020, is acutely aware of how fortunate the current/former band members are to get to enjoy the honor together.
Speaking with Billboard after hearing the good news, Halford called the induction a "blessing" and said the band has no appetite for drama between current/former members at the ceremony this coming fall. They're just going to enjoy their accomplishment.
"[Former members] have every right to be a part of the event," Halford said. "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."
Co-founding guitarist K.K. Downing has been on shaky terms with Judas Priest since leaving the band in 2011. Despite a few years of throwing jabs at his former bandmates, the guitarist said this winter that he would eagerly set aside his differences to make the most out of the Rock Hall festivities.
The Hall of Fame plans to induct current Judas Priest members Halford, guitarist Glenn Tipton, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis, along with former members Downing, drummer Les Binks and late-drummer Dave Holland. The band will be presented with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Musical Excellence Award.
“I think it validates the real musical adventure that Judas Priest has been on since Rocka Rolla [in 1974]," Halford said. "We’re a band that has taken you through many, 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.”
Halford has been insistent that Judas Priest's Rock Hall Induction would be a major step forward for heavy metal. Presently there are only a pair of bonafide metal acts in the Hall of Fame — Black Sabbath and Metallica — plus some borderline heavy rock acts like Deep Purple, KISS, Rush and Nirvana.
In the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class, Judas Priest is joined by Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, Carly Simon, Eurythmics, Eminem, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, fellow Musical Excellence Award recipients Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Ahmet Ertegun Award recipient Sylvia Robinson.