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Home > Music

Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Fanny On The Way Out

Rock and Roll is stranger than fiction. And the story of arthritic rock gods, Uriah Heep, has just taken a strange new twist.

Charlie Skelton

15 July 2003

Rock news:

Rob Halford is rejoining Judas Priest.

This fact means NOTHING to me. The closest I've ever come to knowing anything about Judas Priest is buying Uriah Heep's album Live In Moscow at a car boot sale. I thought it was rubbish, and - by extension - I think Judas Priest are rubbish too. It seems only logical.

So anyway, Halford is back in Priest (having been in a band called Halford for a while - one of the worst named bands of modern times, surely?)

This is Rob Halford, rock star and gay icon:

what a dick.jpg

There's one aspect of all this which I do find fascinating: it's that with Rob Halford returning, the other members of the band have decided to fire their replacement singer, Tim "Ripper" Owens. Ripper used to front a Judas Priest tribute band 'British Steel'. The story of how he became the lead singer of Priest inspired the Wahlberg/Aniston movie 'Rock Star' (2001).

So, what now for Ripper Owens? Poor bloke. He's having his greatest dreams suddenly become un-true.

"He's been fantastic, " said Tipton [the guitarist]. "We told him last week, and he's been a real gentleman about it."

Let's talk about being gentlemanly, shall we? You can't just *dump* the guy - he's been the lead singer since 1996 - that's nine years. That's like Keith Richards saying to Ronnie Wood: "oh, sorry Ronnie, we've decided to reappoint Mick Taylor. You're out." It's a horrible thing to have done.

I think Ripper should join Halford. If ever a band needed a new lead singer...


You know, I think I'm starting to fall in love with Glenn Tipton. First of all, I love his name. It sounds like a cheap whisky, the kind alcoholics buy from Netto at 11am with a two litre bottle of cola. Second of all, I love his words. I love it that when asked how the band Judas Priest got its name, he says: "We always say a big hand came out of the sky and wrote it in rock."

And: "We are all normal guys in Priest, but we become something special when we don the leather and go out there and play, you know. We become the Priest machine..."

That was from a 1997 interview, in which Tipton talked about the band's new album, Jugulator. He describes the album as: "very brutal and between the eyes." He is obviously rather pleased with this description, either that or his short term memory has been shot to pieces by noise and groupies, because a while later in the same interview, he says of Jugulator: "Itís brutal and between the eyes."

NB. In a different interview, also in 1997, Tipton describes the music of Priest as: "Very brutal and between the eyes."

The phrase has its roots in Tipton's remark, made in February 1997, that the new album, Jugulator, will be: "brutal, right between the eyes."

In 1998, an older, wiser Tipton can look back upon Jugulator and reflect: "it's a very between the eyes album."

It's okay Glenn, we get the idea.

In 2003, with the triumphant return of Rob Halford to the band, it's good to see that Tipton isn't lost for words:

"The old writing trio of Tipton, Halford and Downing will be back together, and that should make for some classic songs... We want to let people blink a couple of times, fast-forward to 2004 and go, 'God, look. There it is again. There's the spectacle. There's the power and the passion. There's the bike'."

I only wish I knew what he meant.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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