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Judas Priest’s Rob Halford Talks Ronnie James Dio, ‘Man on the Silver Mountain’ + More

Rob Halford
Kathy Flynn,

Judas Priest‘s Rob Halford was the recipient of the ‘Man on the Silver Mountain’ award Monday night (March 17) at the 3rd Annual Ronnie James Dio Awards and Loudwire was there to catch the festivities.

While on the red carpet, in addition to giving us a big scoop on the next Judas Priest album, Halford talked about the honor and also shared some info about his contribution to the new ‘This Is Your Life’ tribute album rendition of ‘Man on the Silver Mountain’ and some personal insights on the late great Ronnie James Dio. Check out our chat with Rob Halford below.

Congrats on your award tonight!

Thank you.

Can you talk about what it means to be honored for your involvement with the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Foundation?

Well it came out of the blue. I mean it’s the icing on the cake for me. I was just thrilled to be involved in the ‘This Is Your Life’ album, to be able to join Doug [Aldrich] and Jeff [Pilson] and Vinny [Appice] and Scott [Warren], to be on this ‘Man on the Silver Mountain’ track. That was just a fantastic opportunity. And to also be involved with the raising of awareness for all forms of cancer and to get the cash flow going.

But then they told me that they want to give me an award and I’m like, ‘How better can the whole experience be?’ So I’m very honored and it’s a very moving opportunity to say thank you to the foundation and thank you to everybody who was involved and thank you to the fans.

You mentioned getting to work on ‘Man on the Silver Mountain.’ Can you take me into the sessions for that track and working with your amazing cohorts?

Well this is where I have to fess up. I was busy working with [Judas] Priest at the time, so through the great musicianship and talent of the rest of the guys, they put the instrumental version to me and sent the track for me to put the vocals on. I know it’s an unusual way of doing it, but we were on a time schedule and it was difficult to get everyone together at the same time. The guys were together, but they sent it to me and I was like, ‘Is it ready? Is it ready? I want to hear it, I want to hear it!’

When I heard the arrangement … it’s a fantastic arrangement, isn’t it? They’ve really done justice to it because when you’ve got a classic track like ‘Man on the Silver Mountain,’ it’s pointless doing a copy. You’ve got to try to put a little originality into it and give it a kick or whatever and that’s exactly what the guys did. They just made it a unique new moment. So I couldn’t be happier with the way the track turned out.

Ronnie was such a talented and beloved individual. Can you describe your first experiences with him and give us your personal insight into the man he was?

I’ve always said the first thing I remember about Ronnie was the approachable side of him. Some people in rock ‘n’ roll can be a bit difficult and Ronnie was always approachable. You could speak to Ronnie about anything at any time, and I’m not just talking about being a musician, I’m talking about the fans. The fans were the life force for Ronnie James Dio. He loved his fans with a passion and it was a genuine, genuine thing. So whenever I was with Ronnie there was always that was going on around him. He was rarely alone cause he was always talking to a fan or signing an autograph or what may be and that’s just one of the small components of Ronnie James Dio that makes him such a legend.

Our thanks to the legendary Rob Halford for taking the time to speak with us. Pre-order the tribute album ‘Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life’ at iTunes.

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