JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford, who celebrated the 34th anniversary of his getting sober this past January, spoke to U.K.’s GQ magazine about how his life has changed in the decades since he kicked the bottle.
“I have a clarity now on everything, especially when it comes to my work,” he said. “I’m able to perceive my music more clearly, with a lot less clutter and that’s important as a musician, particularly for me, particularly because I love what I do and I love JUDAS PRIEST so much. I like to feel that being clean and sober has made me able to do my work much more efficiently; I look back on some of my lyrics and they are a touchstone. If you look at the lyrics on ‘Nostradamus’, they are some of the best I’ve ever written. I’m proudest of that and I doubt very much I’d have achieved those if I had a joint in one hand and a bottle of Jack Daniels in the other.”
Asked if he ever misses the wild old days, Halford said: “Absolutely. I was watching something with Thomas [Editor’s note: Halford‘s longtime partner] recently and saying that I just loved those drinking and drugging times. I loved them. Even though the end game was total self-destruction, at the time, yeah, it was great. In your youth that’s what you do, isn’t it? You have a weird party and do crazy stuff and it’s a rite of passage. I have fond memories of those times, even though it got pretty dangerous for me and I don’t look back at it all and have regrets. I have never had regrets. I think you learn from your mistakes, but I don’t regret anything. It’s gone, so utilize it, if it’s of any use to you, and move on.”
Halford previously credited his belief in a higher power for helping him in his recovery. “When I got clean and sober, that was a major change in my life,” he said during an appearance on HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta‘s official podcast, “The Jasta Show”. “And part of my recovery is just having this higher-power belief. And it works. It works, man. It really, really is important.”
Halford added: “There probably will be people listening to [this] podcast who don’t have anything like that in their life, and that’s great; it’s all about acceptance. But I always say to people, if you’re thinking about it, the simplest thing I do is I pray. I pray quite a bit, actually. And even if you don’t believe in prayer, just have a go. Pray for a good day, or just pray for your friend, or whatever it might be. And it’s amazing, man, ’cause it absolutely works. I guarantee, it genuinely does work. And now I’m sounding like [American evangelical Christian evangelist] Billy Graham, but I’m just trying to express some of the things that are important to me on a day-to-day basis that make me able to walk out on that stage each night and do my work.”
Halford‘s autobiography, “Confess”, will arrive on September 29 via Hachette Books. The book has already been described by the U.K.’s The Telegraph as “one of the most candid and surprising memoirs of the year.”