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Rob Halford on Judas Priest’s “Musical Excellence” Entry Into Rock Hall of Fame: “I Was Pissed”

"It's like, 'Great. Everybody else got that and we got shafted with this'"

Judas Priest's Rob Halford on Rock Hall
Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, photo by Steven J. Messina
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    Judas Priest are set to be enshrined into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this fall, but not in the traditional performer category usually reserved for legendary bands like themselves. Instead, they are getting in via the “Musical Excellence Award,” which doesn’t exactly sit well with frontman Rob Halford.

    When the Rock Hall’s class of 2022 was announced earlier this year, it did seem odd that Priest were listed separately from the main inductees, which include Eminem, Dolly Parton, Eurythmics, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, and Pat Benatar.

    Per the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website, “The Award for Musical Excellence shall be given to artists, musicians, songwriters and producers whose originality and influence creating music have had a dramatic impact on music.” Sounds prestigious, yet it feels like a consolation prize of sorts.

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    Asked by Arizona Republic about their enshrinement under the “Musical Excellence Award,” Halford responded, “Why haven’t they given us the the same title as all of our friends. Black Sabbath, for example. There’s a different tag, isn’t there?”

    He continued, “Yeah, I was pissed. I was a bit pissed. At the end of the day, does it matter? Some days, I go, ‘No, it doesn’t matter. We’re in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Be grateful. Shut the hell up.’ And then there are other days where I’m like, ‘God damn, why did they give us the Musical Excellence Award?'”

    The metal legend went on to say, “It sounds very, you know, grandiose. ‘The Musical Excellence Award, reserved for blah, blah, blah.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I want to be with that bunch of musicians over there that have got the performance or whatever it is that they’ve got.’ I don’t know why they gave us the Musical Excellence Award. I have no clue.”

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    When the reporter wondered if getting the “Musical Excellence Award” ruled Priest out of being enshrined as a regular performer in the future, Halford replied, “My thinking exactly. I don’t know. It’s as though we got this far. We’re, like, one step away, you know? I know it’s silly, but it’s just frustrating.”

    Halford concluded, “It’s like, ‘Great. Everybody else got that and we got shafted with this.’ [Laughs] Judas Priest are still the Rodney Dangerfield of heavy metal. They can’t get no respect.”

    Nevertheless, Judas Priest still have a lot to celebrate this year. The iconic band continues to commemorate its 50th anniversary, recently announcing a fall 2022 US tour with support from Queensrÿche. Tickets for the outing, which kicks off in mid October, are currently available via Ticketmaster.

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    Priest have allowed for a few days off from the tour for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will take place on November 5th at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and will air on HBO at a later date.

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