Judas Priest's Rob Halford: "when disco came along, the entire industry turned its back on metal"

Rob Halford and a disco ball
(Image credit: Getty)

With over fifty years of heavy metal history under their collective belts, Judas Priest know a thing or two when it comes to seeing trends come and go. One of those was disco, which emerged from the 70s US nightclub scene and dominated mainstream music across that decade. As a result, many other genres found themselves briefly swept to the side - and according to Priest frontman Rob Halford, metal was no exception, having felt the double whammy of disco and the emerging punk scene taking up column inches. 

“When disco came along, the entire industry seemed to turn its back on metal," he explains in the new issue of Metal Hammer magazine. "It was tough for a lot of us, particularly when we were making [1977’s] Sin After Sin, because everyone was telling us metal was dead, it’s all about punk, but we just took a wait-and-see approach. Now, globally, metal is mainstream in ways they’d never have predicted, and it’s inspiring people around the world.”

“By the time we reached [1980’s] British Steel, we’d started to feel more confident about who we were and what we were doing," The Metal God adds. "Finally, we could pay the rent and afford a bottle of milk for our cereal! For that first decade, everything we earned went back into the pot. Through sheer determination and self-belief, we got to the tipping point, but we never ever reached a point where it was like, ‘We’ve made it lads so let’s relax.’”

Indeed, Judas Priest are still going strong in 2023, having just announced their first UK headline tour in almost a decade last week. The dates, which will also include fellow metal royalty Saxon and Uriah Heep, will kick off next year, starting in Glasgow on March 11.

See the full list of dates below, and pick up the latest issue of Metal Hammer to read more from Rob Halford's exclusive interview.

Judas Priest UK tour dates 2024

March 11: Glasgow OVO Hydro
March 13: Leeds First Direct Arena
March 15: Dublin 2 Arena
March 17: Bournemouth International Arena
March 19: Birmingham Resorts World Arena
March 21: London OVO Arena Wembley

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site. 

With contributions from