IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT [NEW GUITARIST] RICHIE FAULKNER JOINING THE BAND HAS GIVEN YOU ALL A KICK UP THE ARSE?
Rob Halford [vocals]: “We’d be the first to say that! I think it’s great. He’s got tremendous charisma and we all feed off him. When Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and Richie are standing at the front, side by side, it’s magical. He’s making me work hard, that’s for sure!”
HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR THE UK TOUR?
“We have a few changes in the setlist that have been inspiring on the American leg. I don’t know who suggested Screaming For Vengeance, but we thought, ‘Let’s have a go!’ We kicked the tyres on it in Burbank recently and it sounded brilliant. We haven’t played that song live in over 30 years.”
THERE ARE SOME RIDICULOUSLY HIGH NOTES IN THAT SONG…
“Oh yeah. The challenge of reaching those notes was a little daunting but I’ve been able to do it. When you put vocal tracks down in 1980-something, you don’t think you’ll have to scream out those words in 2015.”
HAVE YOU EVER OMITTED A CROWD-PLEASING CLASSIC FROM YOUR SET AND RUED THE CONSEQUENCES?
“If we didn’t do Breaking The Law, Living After Midnight or Painkiller, there’d be hell to pay! Actually, we did drop Painkiller for a couple of tours and people were going mental for it, so it’s a fine balance to make it work. I think if our fans had the chance, they would ask us to play all of British Steel, all of Painkiller and then all of Screaming For Vengeance for an encore! Ha ha! Bless ’em.”
DO YOU STILL GET A BUZZ WHEN YOU COME BACK TO PERFORM IN THE UK?
“Any band that plays in their home country, you always get a buzz. We’ve never, ever stopped telling the world that we’re a British heavy metal band, flying the flag. It makes me count my metal blessings that I’m able to come back, four decades later, to where it all began.”