War of Words (Epic)
An interview with screecher Rob Halford
by Joe Hacking
Not many bands during the ’80s moved the earth like Judas Priest. With their guitar-heavy, metallic sound and Rob Halford’s screeching voice, they changed the course of popular music forever. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that Rob Halford expects great things from his new band, Fight.
“We want to create a reaction,” declares the godfather of heavy metal. “I’ve had this need to push and stretch and explore all the available arenas of music within the framework of metal and hard rock. I’m finally able to fulfill all the extra possibilities that I’ve been carrying around inside me.”
For his new band, Halford shunned the all too tempting choice of going with an all-superstar lineup of veteran musicians. Instead, he hooked up with some young talent through his tattoo artist/bass player Jay Jay. Guitarists Russ Parish and Brian Tilse, ages 20 and 22 respectively, carry out the essential guitar duties with a more contemporary sound than Priest’s Downing and Tipton. Sticking with Halford for his new band is drummer, Scott Travis, who worked on Priest’s last album, Painkiller.
“I am stating quite publicly that I have no intention of returning to Judas Priest,” says Halford. “My desire is to introduce people to music that will take metal to new heights.”
Fight’s debut, War of Words, accomplishes this goal to a significant degree. Merging the familiar wailings of Halford with a grungier, ’90s sound takes Fight’s music to the new heights which Halford aspires to. Gone are the heavy metal loner character studies and anthems of Priest. Halford’s lyrics concentrate on social themes and problems on War of Words. From “Nailed to the Gun,” which deals with gun violence, to the title track, “War of Words,” which deals with First Amendment issues, Halford shows the intellectual side of his psyche.
“We want to make people think about many topics,” states Halford. “Music is a very powerful medium for people. It has the ability to change culture and civilization.”