One of the more interesting Christmas Albums this holiday season is 'Halford III -- Winter Songs,' a collection of classic Christmas tunes and originals by metal god Rob Halford and his team of busy elves (guitarists Roy Z and 'Metal' Mike Chlasciak, drummer Bobby Jarzombek and bassist Mike Davis).
In addition to metallic renditions of seasonal favorites like 'O Holy Night' and 'We Three Kings,' Halford belts out the blazing new 'Get Into the Spirit' and the glam-bangin' 'Christmas for Everyone.' There's also the bluesy road rocker 'I Don't Care,' which was inspired by the 1987 John Hughes film 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
"I love that film," Halford tells Noisecreep. "I watch it every year around this time, 'cause it's what we all go through -- the craziness, of trying to get from 'A' to 'B,' and the weather's bad, and the car breaks down. I said to [producer and co-writer] Roy Z, 'Let's try and put that in a mix for a tune somehow if we can.' So that's kind of a light moment on the record. It's a really funny story, but it's got some real strong support musically."
As for his own ghosts of Christmases past, Halford recalls a time in the early days of Judas Priest when the then-penniless band was returning from a show in London, scanning the side of the road for a Christmas tree to hang in the house.
"We were going up the M1 freeway about two or three days before Christmas, and all along this one stretch of the motorway, there are these Christmas-type trees. And it's like, 2 or 3 AM, there's little traffic, it's freezing cold and there's a blizzard going on."
Despite the adverse weather conditions, the musicians decided to pile out of the truck and cut down a tree. "It was total heavy metal insanity," Halford says. "We're clambering up the embankment with saws and cutting away at these trees. I think we managed to get two or three down before the cops came. They let us go 'cause it was Christmas."
The police even let Priest keep their souvenirs, which were hardly the stuff of traditional yuletide cheer. "We went to put them up in the house, and some were too big, and some were just like the weirdest shape," Halford says. "And they were all covered in the grit, and the dirt, and the grime, of the freeway. All the car exhaust, and all this kind of rubbish that filters up and we breath in daily. So you can imagine I was the truest heavy metal Christmas tree you've ever seen. It was bedraggled and covered in crap. It smelled, it looked evil. But we still managed to get it up in the corner, and stick a few baubles on it, and get the Christmas cheer going."