When I interviewed Rob Halford in advance of Judas Priest’s double-header at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver this week we got to talking about a mutual favourite subject: Black Sabbath. He’s performed with the band three times, so we chatted about his fave Sabbath tune to sing (“Black Sabbath“) and how Priest is currently using “War Pigs” as its walk-on number before shows.
Playing the devil’s advocate somewhat–because it is Sabbath, after all–I asked Halford how he felt about Ozzy Osbourne continuing to front the band in concert when the quality of his vocals has been heavily questioned in recent years.
The “metal god” wasn’t having any of it.
“You know, I saw Sabbath," said Halford, "I think it was last Christmas, over in the U.K., and Ozzy was amazing, ’cause he was just really hitting all the notes.
“It’s so easy to criticize people, isn’t it Steve, and I think credit where credit’s due, and to me Ozzy’s singing stronger now than he ever was.
“I saw him a couple of weeks ago at the Epic Fest in Los Angeles, he went on and did like a 20-minute, 30-minute set. It was just like a private event for people on the Sony label. And very cooly, Sharon invited the fans to get into like a raffle deal where a couple of hundred fans had won a pass. So I was there watching Ozzy with all the fans, and it was just great. I mean, he just went out there.
“And again, I love him because he gives his fans each cent, you know. His heart is so strong and real. He loves his band, he loves his fans. And that’s just Ozzy in his own right.
“So when you put him on the stage with Geezer and Iommi, it’s just…it’s crazy. It’s such a really important thing to go and look at and listen to.”
Alright. You heard it from the man himself. Better get those Sabbath tickets now.
And while you’re at it, snap up the last of the Priest tickets too!