Judas Priest’s Rob Halford unknowingly gatecrashed AC/DC’s compound at Power Trip festival: “I look around and there’s Brian, sitting on a couch having a cigarette.”

Phots of Rob Halford and Angus Young of AC/DC
(Image credit: Future | Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Talking exclusively to Metal Hammer, Judas Priest singer Rob Halford has revealed that he accidentally gatecrashed the compound of AC/DC at the 2023 Power Trip festival.

The incident took place following Judas Priest’s set at the three-day California festival on October 7. Before AC/DC’s performance later the same day (their first in eight years), Halford wanted to say hello to the band and visited their camp with his tour manager Gideon Hogan.

“It was just me and Gideon, and I said, ‘Stop the buggy, I’m just going to go in and say hi to the guys,’” Halford remembered, talking to Hammer journalist Joe Daly.

“I still had all my stage clothes on. So they’re behind this big blacked-out fence and Gideon says (to the security guard), ‘He’d just like to say hi to the guys.’ Whoever was on the gate said, ‘Yeah, it’s cool, go on in but just you – nobody else.’ So I walk in and it was deserted. There was nobody there! I looked at Gideon and he’s like, ‘Go on! Go on!’"

Halford continued: “I should have known better! Everyone was preparing; this was the first live show that the band have done in a long, long time. So I’m about to turn around and I hear, ‘Rob? Rob?’

“I look around and there’s Brian [Johnson, AC/DC vocalist]! Brian’s sitting on a couch having a cigarette. I go, ‘Brian!’ and we give each other hugs and everything. I said, ‘Man, I’m really sorry, I shouldn’t be here,’ and he said, ‘No, it’s fine. We just want to keep it calm.’ So I had a brief chat with him and that was about it, really. I said good luck and give my love to Angus [Young, guitars] and everybody else, and I left.“

However, the seemingly pleasant visit quickly ruffled feathers in the AC/DC camp.

“10 minutes later, Gideon’s like, ‘God, the shit’s hit the fan!’ I go, ‘Why?’

“He says, ‘That guy shouldn’t have let us in because Angus gave strict rules that nobody was allowed backstage. Nobody!’”

Completely empathetic towards the panic he caused, Halford then said to Hammer: “It’s an important show. Everybody has to be focussed, no interruptions whatsoever. And I totally respect that! It was my bad for not really giving it second thoughts. But you know, me, I’ll just burst into anybody’s dressing room! Ha ha!

“However, it was great to see Brian and give him a hug, and the band were on fire, and what a beautiful moment to see them as they are now and still knock it out of the ballpark.”

Judas Priest released their new album, Invincible Shield, on Friday (March 8). Hammer journalist Rich Hobson gave the record a glowing 9/10 review.

“[W]ith Invincible Shield, they have once again beaten the odds,” Hobson wrote, “and by the time the curtain falls on [closing song] Giants In The Sky – a tribute to Dio and Lemmy – there can be no denying it: Judas Priest have produced an album worthy of their own legendary status, still showing the rest of the world how it’s done.”

Halford appears on the cover of the latest issue of Metal Hammer, which contains an interview where the Metal God talks all things Invincible Shield, as well as Billie Eilish, performing with Dolly Parton and giving advice to a young System Of A Down. Order your copy now and have it delivered straight to your door.

MHR385 Cover

(Image credit: Future)
Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.

With contributions from