People who claim to be in the know about Rob Halford’s personal life — Halford being the Judas Priest front man — say that he lives in San Diego these days. Tales of numerous Halford sightings follow. When I tell him this by phone on his tour bus, he laughs, but it turns out to be true. Halford has lived here on and off for the past dozen years near Balboa Park, and he says that his regular haunts include Mission Hills, Banker’s Hill, and Golden Hill. “Those are my neighborhoods,” he says. “San Diego’s been a home base for me for quite a few years now.”
At present, Halford is touring minus Priest in support of his new solo release. It’s called Made of Metal, and it’s a record on which he sounds every bit as powerful today at age 59 as he did in 1974 when Judas Priest was new. It takes a lot to sing in front of a heavy metal band, let alone do it for 35 years, and he has no idea what keeps him going. “I’ve been saying recently that if I could put it in a bottle, I’d be doing those 3 a.m. infomercials, selling two bottles for $9.99.”
Judas Priest’s public career began with a bombastic cover of a Fleetwood Mac song. Eventually, most forgot that “The Green Manalishi” had ever been a Mac song in the first place. For the next decade, Priest owned heavy metal with stunning arena shows and a string of radio hits. Halford left in 1992; Judas Priest would not reunite for another dozen years. How much longer does he think he can keep up the pace? “This is what I was born to do,” he says. “I try not to think about the end. I really don’t want to think about that.”
Philm and Warbringer also perform.
ROB HALFORD: 4th&B, Saturday, December 18, 8 p.m. 619-231-4343. $30 to $55.