Rob Halford Left Judas Priest by ‘Miscommunication’
He quit the band in 1992 after a tumultuous period. Judas Priest were accused of placing subliminal messages in their music, leading two fans to shoot themselves. The resulting trial forced them to delay the release of their 12th album, Painkiller. Once the record was out, they embarked on an exhausting world tour.
Halford announced his departure afterward, but in a new interview with Cleveland.com, he said he thought he had no choice. “It was just a miscommunication,” he said. “It was just a very fragile place. We went through the Reno trial and were somewhat victorious, and then making Painkiller and that world tour. I think we should have all sat down together, and said, ‘I’m going away for two years now. I’m disappearing. I’ll see you in two years.’”
While wanting a break from Judas Priest, he also wanted to make a solo album. “I was told I’d have to leave the band to do that, and that wasn’t the case,” he said. “It was a miscommunication and breakdown that lasted a decade. That’s a long time. So, I say to bands now, especially younger bands, stay with your bands as long as you possibly can. It’s important.”
Halford returned to Judas Priest in 2003, meaning that his replacement, Tim “Ripper” Owens, had to bow out. Halford said he never listened to Jugulator or Demolition, the records Priest recorded with Owens. “To be brutally honest, I’m just not interested," he noted.
Of the band’s future, he said, “We had a fantastic writing session at the start of the year. We got so much stuff down it was unbelievable. … We just wanted to get motoring along and get a couple writing sessions under our belt and then go into pre-production.” Halford added that a new album and tour both depend on the coronavirus pandemic for now. “We’re just gonna have to wait like everyone else before we make the next move," he said.