Rob Halford Podcast with Dr. Dot, June 21, 2021 (pardon any typo-errors please)
Dot: Oh, this is my first video-podcast Rob. wow. You look great.
Rob: Well, that’s a thrill to me because where would we be without these Zooms and podcasts to stay in touch as we are getting through the back end of this, uh,drama that we’ve all been dealing with over the last year or so? It’s been nuts, you know, so I’m just so happy to see your face again and, uh, can’t wait to see you in person. When we kick off the priest touring in September with Sabaton,
Dot: I would love to go to that one concert. I think it’s in Sweden, where they have a gazillion bands.. Wow.
Rob: Yeah. It’s what, it’s what keeps us motivated to know that we’ve got all these exciting things to get back into again. You know, it’s been such a challenge for all of us.
Dot: I was wondering, what have you been doing through this whole, I mean, apart from podcasts, because I heard you’ve done a lot of podcasts, but what have you been working out?
Rob: It’s Hollywood lighting. That’s what I call it. It’s the Hollywood lighting. I’ve been doing what I needed to do, like all of us, to get through this, business and staying in shape. For singers especially, our work involves all the physical parts of projecting your voice. So you’ve gotta keep the lungs, your heavy metal leather-lungs are gonna be kept in shape. So practically every night, including the current 120 Fahrenheit heat in Phoenix, we go out every night and we do like an hour’s walk in the hills, and then I do my swim for 20 minutes. You’ve gotta, for us in the music business especially, well for everybody really having the smallest amount of exercise is just so therapeutic physically and mentally. So yeah, I’ve been doing my walks and then coming home and having a big slice of cake and some chocolate.
Dot: Wait a second…
Rob: That’s my balance. Everything’s balanced. The only extreme thing I’ve got in my life is metal always will be.
Dot: Swimming is the best exercise ever because it tones up everything at the same time. And it’s good for your respiratory. So that’s why you look so, I mean, you weren’t unfit before, but most people during the pandemic spread out a bit and you’ve shrunk. How much does the leather jacket weigh that you wear on stage?
Rob: Lord. Oh, I just did a project, which I can’t really talk that much about it, but I just did a little project recently for Netflix. And I wore that big spiky jacket that Ray Brown made for me a few years ago. And I hadn’t worn that jacket for the longest time. And when I put that on my back, I thought, my God, I must have been crazy walking around the stage in this thing. Cuz it weighs about 50 pounds. You know, it’s a work of art. Ray Brown is a genius, and he’s been making Priest clothes and many other, many other artists clothes for decades. But when I initially went to him with this idea, he goes, I know what we’ll do. We’ll do like a heavy metal version of Tina Turner from Tina Turner’s acid Queen Tommy Opera, where she wears this red leather coat. I can see in my mind, okay. Right. Just go off and do it, you know. But, I tell you, my new clothes for the 50th anniversary tour are a little less, how can I say? intrusive on my back, because if I didn’t have my Doctor Dot massages a couple of times a week, when I’m on the road, I wouldn’t get through it. You know, it’s tough. Yeah. Big time.
Dot: Yeah. I miss getting your calls saying, Hey, I need a I need a massage. You know? And that’s so, so flattering that we can help you get out there and tour,because I missed the live shows. I missed seeing your concerts, you know?
Rob: And we miss seeing you guys as well. I couldn’t do my tours in Arizona. I know it’s being incredibly difficult for your business. Yeah. What you do is such a beautiful thing, but it maintains obviously touching and healing the body. And as I said to Thomas, when this thing kicked up, I said, God, I wonder what Dr. Dot’s gonna do because it’s just gonna crush all the hard work that she put into building this business. But I’m so happy for you that at least now you can get reestablished and back on your feet again.
Dot: Yeah. Slowly but surely, you know? Yeah. There’s a lot of restrictions. Dot Bots are wearing masks and thoroughly cleaning in between massage clients; in LA there are loads of bookings, Bruno Mars and lots of other artists are calling us for video shoots and Anthrax, like every day in a row they were recording something. So if you need a therapist in Arizona, of course we deliver like Ubereats, you know?
Rob: Sure. Yeah. Absolutely. I got your number. I’ve got it in my phone. Always.
Dot You’re so cute. I remember we met, I don’t know if you remember, I remember the first time I met you was backstage at Live Aid in 85 and you were the nicest one. I was there as a guest of Mick Jagger and his entourage there, his manager, everyone was in a hurry, uptight and kind of snobby. You took the time to talk tome and pose with me. And you look so cute in the picture, you’re smiling. How long we’ve known each other? 37 years so far.
Rob: I know exactly what you’re saying. That was an incredible day, wasn’t it? It was just unbelievable. Unbelievable. In many ways. There’s an episode in my book ‘Confess’ that began right after Live Aid when I went back to the Four Seasons and I met someone, which we talk about in Confess, but I know what you’re saying. The thing about shows is it’s such a privilege and it’s such a great opportunity to get out on stage anywhere in the world.
And I’ve always felt that that’s a grateful place to be in, you know? And I know it’s hectic and we’ve got a job to do. And I know we’re all kind of jumping from one pedestal to another, but it doesn’t take anything to just try and stay balanced and calm and just enjoy it, enjoy it, you know, have a good time. Most of us were already on stage for like 10, 15 minutes, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure. It was a big party. I loved it. It was a great, great thing to recall.
Dot: And you were, you were giving an interview to someone else on a little micro-cassette recorder, and I was patiently waiting to talk to you, you were so kind and polite. And I hope your fans understand that you’re not just a metal God, you’re also a really kind person. And I love that about you. I mean, I’m sure everyone knows by now on Instagram with all your cat pictures. You have a lot of cats?
Rob: I got a picture of Mr. Smokey up behind me. Mr. Smokey passed some time ago. And because Thomas and I are so busy on the road, actually, I guess I’m making excuses because we could have taken in some foster kitties, you know, but we get so attached we wouldn’t want to give them back. You know, have another house full of cats. But we do support the great work that cat shelters and animal shelters do. And we have some connections with a couple of places in California and up on the Upper East Coast and around Seattle. So we do what we do, what we can do. You know, animals are people too.
Dot: I know. I have a little cat. I love her. That’s my fur baby. Like we have a rhythm. She gets me. I get her. I don’t even wanna think about what’s gonna happen when she’s gone. I will be crushed.
Rob: Well, it’s unconditional love with, with animals, you know.
Dot: Well, cats are not so unconditional. They’re nice after they get their food.
Rob: Yeah, I know what you’re saying. Cats can go, what’s this expensive vase over here? I just push it up this ledge. You know, they have that tendency to be so,I’m in control. You know it’s a privilege to have me in your life. That’s kinda the deal.
Dot: They crack me up. So I have some questions. So you’re in Kentucky?
Rob: Outta the blue. Yeah. It’s a great organization in Kentucky. I’ve only just recently found out about it, but they like to make these wonderful gestures to people that have had involvement in the state of Kentucky. And Priest have played in Kentucky a bunch of times. We’ve got a massive show coming up with our good friends, Metallica. If you can try and get to that show, please do. Because Metallica and Priest in one show, it’s just who opening. It’s a great festival. As soon as it was confirmed, Lars was texting me going, “oh my God, I’ve just found out that we’re gonna be on the same stage together.” Cause you know, he’s like the biggest heavy metal maniac in the world. So I think as a result of all of this, they send out these little recognitions, and it’s a little bit like the Shriners as well. They do tremendous work for all varieties of charities and organizations. So it was a blast.
They sent me this thing in the mail. They sent one to Thomas as well, because he’s a highly decorated veteran. We are both Kentucky Colonels, you know, and that’s really sweet.
Yeah. There’s a bunch of stuff they’re going to send me in the mail. I’ll be striking a pose with that stuff at some point on Instagram, on Facebook.
Dot: That’s funny. Ok. I have a personal question. I know it’s probably stupid and the fans are gonna say, she’s so stupid. But I saw that film ‘Rockstar’ a long time
ago, which I think is the Best Rock documentary. I thought Almost Famous was cute, but Rockstar really nailed it about what it’s like on the road and what happens when you’re famous and there’s drugs and alcohol around and how you get in this bubble and someone has to wake you up. Was that based on you at all? Cause some people say it was, and some people say it wasn’t.
Rob: I think the issue of the guy going in the band was a close reference. But it’s a shame really, because if you take away all the critique, if just watch the film,firstly, Mark, he’s a tremendous actor. And everybody did a wonderful job, but for some unknown reason it just got attacked by the music industry, which I thought was really unnecessary. But the core of the story, that’s what it is. There are so many elements where as a musician watching this movie, I’m like, yeah, that’s me.Yeah. Been there, yeah. Had that experience. So it was quite almost like a real life documentary to a certain extent.
Dot: Because then they took somebody from the audience and he became the singer. Was that realistic? I don’t even know.
Rob: I think that there was some references there that you could kind of put on a parallel with Priest. Not entirely true life, but as we know, you get these instances where, like Dave will pull somebody outta the crowd . Well, I pull somebody out on the stage and your mind is blown by these incredibly talented fans. Yeah. So I can understand the possibility of that.
Dot: But I mean, but that never happened in your band. Some people are like, oh, that’s totally based on Judas Priest. And I’m like, I don’t recall Rob Halford being plucked out of the audience and becoming the singer.
Rob: No, it’s just the way things kind of get. Urban myths, it’s rock and roll, full of urban myths, that’s the way it is.
Dot: But that movie is so realistic as far as what happens backstage.
Rob: Yeah, it is.
Dot: And you were sober when I met you at Live Aid, you’ve been sober for so many years, right?
Rob: It was just before you saw me. You saw me at probably just after that. I began the downward spiral. This is the great, it’s not great, but this is the way that addiction can play a kind of fake card. What I mean by that is when you see a person and you interact with the person, as you and I were interacted, you give the impression that everything is under control.
And it’s not, you know, I’m sure you and I had a great conversation because even though, I was probably blitzed at the time cause it was an early show, I was about to take the big deep dive down. And so I look back at that and I used that as a reference that when you have..
Dot: A great smile on your face in our pictures, you’re like, Hey.
Rob: Yeah, yeah. It was a great day. It was a great day. And I loved my booze and drugs. I loved them. I loved them. It made me feel great, but it took control over my life. It took control over my decisions. It took control over my ability as a musician. It was stunting part of my creativity. And I didn’t realize that Dot until I began sober journey, because suddenly I had this great clarity. I have this great clarity as a musician, my lyrics, I feel got better.
My singing got better. Just everything about me as a person with a job to do in Priest improved. And that was just making that life changing decision. You know,my friend Gary Hall from Slayer Exodus has just announced the same journey. He’s realized, that it creeps up on you.
It it’s very insidious, if that’s the right word, in the context, the way that booze and drugs or any addiction creeps up into you, into your life. You have no intention,but these things happen. Yeah. And this is a great, you I could talk for hours about our mental health, our mental well being. That it’s so important in our lives.You’ve constantly gotta take almost a daily check daily, a daily mental thermometer, check about how you feel, don’t suppress anything.
Dot: Right. You’re isolated and everyone’s offering you drinks, especially when you’re young. Hey, they want to be indispensable. So they’re like, I’ll get him hooked on this and then you have to keep me around. And so they offer drugs and alcohol and the artist is like, oh, wow. Free stuff. I’m partying. And what they don’t realize is they’re hurting the artist when they do that.
Rob: And I’m sure some of it’s unintentional and there’s a lot of peer pressure in our work cuz you’re trying to catch up with somebody else that’s getting success and they’re there with a bottle with champagne or whatever, and you go, oh, I’ve gotta do that. And you don’t really, it’s all about finding your own path and journey to get to the best place that you wanna be at without hurting yourself and hurting other people. And so we’ve lost so many people in music, for lots of different reasons. One of them is you need somebody in your life to go stop doing that.
I’m telling you now, stop.
Dot: Who told you?
Rob: To stop? I didn’t really have any kind of intervention in my life at all. As I recall. I talk about it in the book, it got to a really desperate, desperate place …a plea to help. I tried to take my own life. And I think that is the most expressive way of being at a place that is so lonely and desolate. I’m in this great band and I’m successful, blah, blah, blah. And yet I’m the lostest person that I know. So I had to make the choice myself in recovery. We tell each other that really all of our beautiful family, friends, relatives with our fans can keep telling you this, this, do this, do this.
But until you say, okay, I’m gonna make this choice now today, I’m gonna quit this, I’m gonna quit that. So you are responsible. It’s your responsibility. This is your life. You know, everything that happens in life to a great extent is your responsibility. Don’t attack me by saying, well, this happens or that happens that if you control, it’s like this is outta your control. You know what, from the moment you wake up to the moment you gotta sleep. Anything can happen in the day. But what I mean by that, as far as accepting your responsibilities as a person, it’s important.
You’ve gotta, you’ve got to really find that place. You know, it’s not about handouts, it’s just being able to discover that all of us have this incredible resource of strength and in the power that’s just waiting to be untapped. And when you get to a sober place, it’s just endless. It’s just an unbelievable stream of whatever you need. You can take it from what’s already inside of you.
Dot: Yeah. You can’t control the world, but you can control your reaction to the world.
Rob: Exactly. That’s the thing. You are in control of your emotions. If somebody makes you mad, it’s not their fault. You are taking what they’re projecting to you and you are making the madness and issue out of it. You know? And so that’s another thing I’ll learn in my sobriety. Sobriety is just accepting responsibilities for reactions. Every action has a reaction. So when somebody yells at you or somebody’s angry about something before you lash back, process the information.
That’s a thing about Twitter. People are twittering. They’re not thinking, you know? Yeah. You’ve really gotta think about the choice that you make in the reaction that you give back. And some of us, including myself, have made bad choices and bad reactions. But that’s life. Life is about learning.
Dot: So are you actively tweeting?
Rob: Oh, no, I can’t tweet. I wouldn’t tweet because I am opinionated. I’m like the next person and I try to practice what I preach. I love my Instagram, I love my Facebook. Where all my beautiful fans around the world that love to stay in touch through that process.
Dot: Angry place anyways. Twitter’s angry. Right?
Rob: I think it can be, I think it’s a great tool for instant kind of addiction itself. You can get just as addicted to social media as you can to anything.
Dot: However, social media can act as some kind of work. You know, a lot of people, use social media for work.
ROB: Yeah. It’s important. I use it as well. Now the the amount of influence that you have as a public person, some people kind of wait to see what you have to say about something, and so you really have to make sure that the information that you’re sending out is good and strong and positive, you know?
Rob: Can’t stand negativity. It has no place in life. It just brings pain and suffering and heartache. Negativity is just like a black hole in space. It’ll just suck everything in. Just watch the news. If you want negativity, just watch the news. You know?
Dot: Speaking of negative things, I have a really cool question from a fan. I just recently joined a Facebook Judas Priest group so that I could get some questions for you. Right. And there’s, there’s 15,000 people in this group and I was like, Hey, I’m gonna call Rob. Do you guys have any unique questions? Cuz I wanna hear what they have to say. Lots of cat questions, but I had to narrow it down. One of ’em I like is from Eric Sabahi from McKinney, Texas.
I don’t believe there are any curse words in Rob’s or Judas Priest lyrics. Curious if that was by, by design. And if so, I would like to know the background on that decision. And he says, kudos, by the way.
Rob: Thank you. That’s a good question. I love to swear, but I use it in an expressive way, getting your emotions out. I don’t really think that it has much of a place in our world in Priest. I mean, I see it, I see and hear it a lot in certain types of music. That’s your thing. It’s your choice that the great thing about music and all art should not be censored in any one shape, form or whatever. Everything, when they start censoring art, it multiplies and it becomes a very dangerous thing to do.Again, it’s all about choice. If you don’t like something, don’t listen to it. If it’s something on the TV, it’s making you angry, change the channel. Something that makes you angry on the social media. Go somewhere else. For me to use explicit language in a Priest song, I don’t think I’ve found the moment yet. I have a lot of friends in metal that utilize that the power of those words. If that’s the word that really emphasizes the part of your message, then by all means you, you should use it. Maybe on the next Priest album, I might effing blind, as we say in England.
Dot: I know that the Brits love to swear in a different way than we do. Cause I lived in Germany half my life, and I would be in an Irish pub and Irish or British guys would say to each other “hold my beer cunt, I’m going to have a slash” They just call each other cunt all the time.
Rob: Right. Yeah that’s a beautiful – people in town (in Arizona) get so freaked out over the C word, but British say, oh, come here cunt. Gimme a hug. And it’s just a word and it’s used in a really, again, it can be used in a great context. It’s that to say something like that to a person, is like affection as crazy as it sounds.
Dot: I have a question from Phil Collen of Def Leppard, I met him before you, he was my first rock star client in 1983. Aging myself here. Anyways, he says “in the early nineties, Def Lepp were playing in Phoenix and Rob lived there. He volunteered to drive me around Phoenix and then drive to the airport and pick up my then girlfriend who was flying in from France. But I noticed what an insightful and knowledgeable host he was and wondered if he’d ever secretly craved being a documentary host, having had a similar travel experience that I’ve had based on being in a traveling rock band. The reason I ask is I’ve definitely fantasized about doing a kind of Sir David Attenborough meets Bear Grills type thing. It just never came up. John Leks did something like that”.
Rob: Wow. That what a great story. That’s beautiful. Love you Phil. We have such a great friendship, of love and mutual respect for each other in Def Leppard. I think Leppard went out with Priest when some of the guys were still in their teens. I think it was a European tour we did together. So, that’s a great question.
The thing about the thing about life is it’s never too late to do anything. You know, I’m about to turn 70, but that doesn’t mean I should stop putting the blocks on things. You know, you fulfill, fulfill your dreams and, and your ambitions wherever you may be. And so, who knows, maybe Phil and I’ll do it together, who knows? Or maybe Phil can do it Phil can do his documentary.
Dot: In between his workouts. Have you seen him without his shirt off? I mean, he looks phenomenal. He’s in great shape and such an inspirational person for staying fit and healthy and sober. Like you.
Rob: Yes, exactly. So, yeah, I think again, just because of who we are and and the place that we have to talk out about these types of things, he’s a really great inspiring person for that.
Dot: It’s great that there’s so many metal people like you and Phil that are sober and you get massage and take care of your health and everything. I always say “your health is your wealth”. And it’s true, isn’t it?
Rob: It’s very, very true. And I tell you, I’ve seen it because, I’ve been doing this for 50 years, and now when two buses pull up, the guys will jump up the bus and open the bay doors and they’ll pull out weights, and they’ll pull out ropes and whatever it is, they’ll work out when they can. You sit on a bus for six hours, you get out and you wanna run out on the stage, but you get your cardio going, you get limber, you get ready for work. And that’s what they do.
Dot: So it’s great to see that, particularly in younger bands. Younger bands are very knowledgeable, and they know that, you really have to get an understanding that being healthy on the road, pay dividends. If you’re not healthy, you’re not gonna be on the road. You’re gonna, end up dead in the backseat of a car or something.You have to take care of your health.
A fan named Matt Miller from Ottawa, Ontario asks “who is the best new band you’ve heard in the past 10 years? And do you think Priests might take out any younger openers as part of your 50 anniversary tour?”
Rob: That’s a cool question. It seems impossible to catch up now. I check my three or four social media sites that I go to every day, part of my ritual and the amount of bands. It, it’s just great. It’s just an endless supply of talent all around the world. Everybody’s really going forward and wants to be successful. And we wish all of them well. There’s a local band, in my hometown called Wolf Jaw Wolf, and then Jaw Wolf Jaw. They’re a three piece, they’ve got a great vibe about him and I think that they put an enormous amount of time and effort already into making a good band. And maybe they’ll be ready to go to that next level soon. Its endless opportunities to be there for each other. So, you know, the door is always open.
Dot: Have you ever heard of a band from Belfast called ‘The Answer’? Because I thought they were pretty good as far as new bands.
Rob: No, but I’m gonna check ’em out now. What kind are they, Metal?
Dot: They opened for AC/DC on one whole tour, I was massaging both bands and I was like, wow. I mean, they kind of strike me as, I don’t wanna compare them too much to Led Zeppelin, but they’re like a groovy, harder Zeppelin. It’s hard to explain. The singers sound like Robert Plant and his youth, somehow.
Rob: That’s what I love about Greta Van Fleet. When Greta van Fleet, burst out on the scene, said that they love Zeppelin. And I thought what was great about that,here’s the thing about a lot of these newer bands, they’re referencing bands from the past, like we all do. When we started as Priests, we didn’t have a reference. We didn’t have a metal reference, we were there at the beginning, but a lot of bands will say, oh yeah, it was Priest, or it was Sabbath, or it was Maiden, or it was Mal Head, or it was Scorpions, or it was this band from 30, 40 years ago that we listened to as young musicians.
Rob: It’s a great compliment. Yeah. Some of the greatest music, in my opinion, came through the back end of the sixties. The seventies was a great turbulent type of decade, but by the time we got into the eighties and the nineties, some of the greatest things were happening in music. And they still live with us today.
Dot: I see so many people slagging them off. They hate Greta, you know? Oh, wait, why are they bad? Because they all play instruments. They all sing. They write their own stuff. Give them a freaking break. At least they’re playing instruments and they’re not just rapping to some beat or something. Like there you gotta give them a chance. You know what I mean?
Rob: Here’s the thing about that Dot. Once people start attacking you, you’re doing something good <laugh>. It’s always the bands that are really gaining traction and becoming successful. It’s just a bizarre thing. Instead of lifting people up, there’s a portion of people that just start trying to bang them down, you know? And it can affect you in a bad way, it can really affect you mentally and psychologically. Psychologically. You’ve gotta push that away.
Rob: Push it away. He has no merit. Yeah. He has no merit. He has no value. If anybody’s attacking you, hey, that’s their choice. That doesn’t mean you’re not doing good things. You’re not making great things happen, everything has its context. My witnessing over the decades I’ve been in music that some of the greatest bands will tell stories of people said we sucked and we’re never gonna make it. We’re never one of the first ever reviews of Judas Priest was Don’t give up your day jobs.
Dot: Yeah, exactly, when I lived in Germany, I brought out a book in 99 and I was upset at some of the reviews. They were all from women mostly saying, talking about my tits rather than the book. And I was crying. And my German friends, some of them came to me and they said, listen to me. There’s an expression in German, which means everybody can get sympathy or praise, but envy must be earned.
Rob: Yes, exactly. Envy must be earned. So when you got the haters coming at you and they’re envious of you, you earned that. That’s it. That’s a great way of looking at that kind of situation online. It’s pushing back, turn it back into a log, because that’s the best thing you can do.
Dot: You gotta take it and use it as fuel. I got a question from Earnest Herrera from Houston, Texas: “When you retire, would you consider being an actor? Since you do have a little theater experience from your teenage years, you would want to, you would make one hell of a villain in a James Bond movie“.
Rob: This is so cool. This questions so cool, because Thomas and I have just finished watching this amazing new production that Robert Downey Jr. and his wife put together on the graphic novel Sweet Tooth. You have to watch Sweet Tooth on Netflix. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a beautiful story about love and reconnecting, but there’s a guy, there’s a villain. There’s a villain in Sweet Tooth called Abbott General Abbott, and he’s got this full on beard and he’s got the ears and everything, and Thomas goes, that could’ve been you!
We’ve all dipped our toes in the water. I did a thing ages ago for the movie Spawn, a Netflix project that comes out later this year. Just a little, little something. It’s little bit like when you’re making a music video, if you look at some of those early music videos Priest made. And we worked with directors like Julian Temple, he would put an outside story context within the music. So you do a little bit of acting per se.
He wasn’t really acting as such, but you know, the physical gestures of getting outta the gold Cadillac in Soho, were getting out the car and going into a bank, and after midnight where I pull up outside of City Hall on the bike and I’m high, it’s all that kind expression. I have nothing but praise for actors because to see them work and I’ve been able to see them work, to go from a conversation like you and I are having then to go into a really dark place for a scene or to be angry or to be crying the way they act, they’re able to switch this on. It’s just, an extraordinary talent, you know?
Rob: And I have a few friends in the business that are able to do that. And I’m just amazed by what they can do. I’m nowhere near that league, it interests me. I love it. I love it because all music is fantasy. All music is escapism. Even if it’s got a strong real life message. We go to shows to escape, we go to shows to escape what’s happening in our lives. We’re together as metal maniacs for that show for that night.
It’s just the most incredible thing that we can unite with. And that’s escapism. That’s where we go to the movies, that’s where we go to see a play. That’s why we go to see a show. It’s escapism.
Rob: This new Priest tour, all of that. We worked hard to maintain that type of balance with Priest. You’re going to see something that gives you a memory. And we’ve always worked hard in Priest leaving with a really strong, heavy mental memory. And the last thing you ever see the Priest show is the Priest will be back, on the big screen, that’s what we’ll be doing soon.
Dot: It’s an experience. I have a two-part question. So before you answer it, you gotta hear the both parts. Bill Shaw from Pennsylvania – “Diamonds in Rust as a Metal ballad was absolutely brilliant and one of the songs that made Priest my favorite metal band, what inspired the band to want to cover a Joan Baez folk tune?And when did you had you realize just how brilliant it would turn out to be?”
Hang on. Then one of my best friends, Jim Norton, who’s a comedian, I called him today. I go, “you’re a metal fan. You must have a question for Rob”. He goes,okay, “I wanna know, did you ever get any feedback from Joan Baez on Diamonds And Rust, what was her opinion? And did you hear any feedback from them?” So it was so weird that he had a similar question.
Rob: So I’m gonna now blow your mind and tell you something even weirder, because the day you and I met at Live Aid in Philadelphia was the day that Joan Baez is walking to the trailer that I’m doing interviews, finishing interviews with, and Joan Baez is walking towards me waving and I’m going, oh my God, she’s gonna come and kick my ass about the way we treated Diamonds and Rust. And she goes, Rob, give me a hug. We’re hugging each other. I’m so, so excited and thrilled.
Rob: God, you’re a legend, Joan, you the things that you’ve done. And she goes, blah, blah, thank you so much. I just wanted to let you know that when my son knew that I was gonna be playing on Live Aid and you were gonna be performing as well, he said, please tell Rob and the guys from Priest that I loved their version of Diamonds in Rust, better than my mom’s version, I just thought, how sweet is that?
How cool is that? So the quick story on that was the band was slowly making marks in United States, and our label had said, guys, if we can get a song that we can send to rock and roll radio, that’ll really give you a boost.
And we didn’t really have anything. So that’s when somebody at the label suggested this song. And the first time we heard the track we were in a very famous studio called Rockfield Studios in Shire in the UK. And we knew this song was coming.
It was a 45, we all sit round a record player and put it on, and then Joan starts singing. And then we go, are they having a laugh in England? Are you having a laugh? What is this? And then we listened again, and then we got it. Oh yeah, now we got it. This is an incredible song. This song will take the Priest interpretation.So that’s what we did. And we also did that with the Fleetwood Mac song.
So you look for opportunities like that and still do it now, bands that are doing well will suddenly decide to do a cover, whether it’s David from Disturbed with Sounds of Silence, and the guys from Death Punch will do a Bad Company song. There’s millions of songs out there just screaming for a new interpretation. Elton John understood it.
But what I’m saying is all these great opportunities help you just open the door a little bit wider just to bring people in. It’s an homage to the original song, but it’s also, what else have you got? You know? And then people will go to the music that you are making.
Dot: Plus sometimes a cover can turn out to be better than the original. Like Tina Turner’s Proud Mary.
Rob: Absolutely. You know, endless, endless things like that.
Dot: A Little Help From my Friends. I mean, have you ever covered a Beatles song or a Frank Zappa song?
Rob: I love Zappa. For the longest time I was a Zappa head.
Dot: The Beatles and the Zappa are my favorite. I love Zappa. That’s how I got the Dr. Dot name. I went on his 88 tour massaging him, and I was just called Dot.And at the end of the tour, he would go Dot, where’s the doctor? Come here, Dr. Dot, do my hands. I’m busy. He, he, so I stole it. I mean, I took it from him. I was like, okay, I’m taking this, I’m gonna run with it.
Rob: I never knew that. And where’s the book? Because you must have a million stories. I know you, I know you are a respectful person because in our world,there’s a kind of an unwritten law about what you see and what you hear and how you take that in. But I know you, you must have a million stories. Like I have that a lot of people would love to check it out.
Dot: I did a people book in Germany in 99 in German. I’m not German by the way, but I talked the book and a German guy wrote it. And I write as if the star is reading over my shoulder, I would never bite the hands that feed me. I make it funny. The writer didn’t even know who Frank Zappa was. I was like, really? You’re gonna write my book? And you don’t know who Zappa is. That’s ridiculous. So I’m going, I talk my book on the podcast, Rob, I don’t have time to type cause I have an eight year old son who drives me crazy every day. He’s in the backyard screaming, hear him? Anyways, I talked the book on my podcast just in case I croak, there it is. Out on the internet.
Rob: I’m gonna check it out, that’s gonna be on my list of things to do. Yeah. Right now.
Dot: And then I’m going to do it chronically. I’ll do a book because I’m going to forget otherwise. I got question for you, Dennis from Richford, Vermont: “What’s Rob’s go-to comfort food?”
Rob: Oh, I’m obsessed with lemon slices at the moment. I don’t know where this comes from. I think it’s from my dad. Cuz we just have a rusty soul. I’m just obsessed with the taste of lemon sliced cake and Thomas went to the store to fill the fridge and the shelves. Cause he demolishes the food, the food’s gone in one week and in his stomach by the end of the week. Don’t forget the lemon. Don’t forget the lemon slices.
Dot: You don’t mean like actual lemons, sucking on them? You mean lemon cake?
Rob: It’s a cake. Yeah, it’s kinda a cake with a type of texture. It’s like a lemon texture and a short cake shortbread base. And it is absolutely delicious. So I mean that’s right now. I’ve always had a sweet tooth. When you quit drinking, you realize that because there’s so much sugar in alcohol, that’s what the booze comes from.So I’ll really have to watch myself. I love my sweet tooth cakes and stuff.
Dot: Your skin looks good.. And sugar is evil. Sugar is really evil.
Rob: It’s small measures. Small measures for everything. Yeah.
Dot: I was in a rabbit hole. I went to Google how to do a Zoom call and all this other stuff and I ended up, what does alcohol do to your liver? You know how it distracts you on the side and you get pulled in. I didn’t know sugar’s bad for the liver. Yeah, it is bad. Anyways, I always ask everyone during every podcast, please pick two songs, one for the beginning of the podcast and one for the end. So what would you choose for your two favorite songs?
Rob: Ooh, wow. I’m gonna kind of go into two directions, let’s do something heavy. Let’s just do, Iron Man. Okay. Because I love that song. I love that song and is connecting me to Robert Downey Jr. again and Iron Man. And let’s just go out with Diamonds and Rust by Priest as we’ve talked about that. I could give you a list as long as the day, but those will work for now.
Dot: I also asked, let’s say you came to New York and you miraculously had a night off and I dragged you to a karaoke bar. What would you sing?
Rob: That’s a great question. We should do some karaoke together. You and I should do some karaoke. Something completely insane. Like anything from The Wizard of Ours, which I believe that’s one of the greatest movies ever made in terms of just the story. It is the most beautiful story about love that you can everimagine. But the songs, Over the Rainbow, We’re Off to Meet to Wizard and all these different beautiful songs, I love a lot of it, it’s a gay thing.
Dot: <LAUGHS!> I don’t know any show tunes. I could do Rocky Horror Picture Show, I’ve seen it 300 times. I used to play Janet in the movie theater when I was younger. But I love karaoke. It would be so fun to see if anyone recognized you and you’re belting out a show tune I would make a video that would go viral. Oh my God.
Rob: I tell you, this has just been so much fun. It’s been great to see your lovely face again. I can’t wait to see you and give you a real hug. I’ve been giving virtual hugs for a year. Give you a real hug, in person. This has been really cool. I love these questions from the fans. I rarely get this opportunity for this type of format,we’ll have to do this again. We’ll have to do. Yeah, definitely. Chapter two, volume two.
Thank you. So love you Dr. Dot. Thank you so much as well. It’s been a blast.
Video of the Podcast: