ROB HALFORD (Judas Priest) and the big fan Daniela
Weeell... The quality could have been better, but it's still proof enough for ME that the meeting actually took place..! :-) I was 19, or maybe 20 (as if I remember!) and thought I had died and gone to heaven. I couldn't sleep for two days after that!
Every Priest-fan has his or her own story of how they discovered the band or what Priest's music meant to them, and to me, they opened a whole new world.
I was 13 and my best friend Camilla had heard some guys play Priest-covers at her school. She wanted me to hear it, so we went to get a Judas Priest-album. Her mother worked in a record-store, so we went and borrowed "British Steel". I wasn't THAT impressed, cause at the time, I was a Beatles-fan.
But for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about that "new" kind of music I had heard. It was a totally different and new world. So, when I passed by a record-store a few days later, I decided to get a Judas Priest-album of my own.
I chose the one with the coolest cover - "Unleashed in the east". I still remember that day clearly. It was in the middle of the summer, the sun was shining and I had all the windows in the apartment open. My parents weren't at home. I put the pickup on the vinyl and a few seconds later, I had entered a new dimension...
I cranked up "Exciter" and felt my body flow with energy!! That day changed my whole world.
I changed from a nice little Beatles-fan to a wild heavy metal monster dressed in jeansjackets and studs, with tons of black eye-make up (there weren't too many female rockers around to have as role models so I decided to copy the Rock Goddess-look). Heavy metal became the most important thing in the world to me.
It was so important that I didn't mind that I had to take a lot of shit from classmates and people around me. I was a "defender of the faith"..! :-)
And in a way I think that's why I felt that I "adopted" heavy metal, it became mine, and I would never abandon it. Still haven't...
I read everything that had something to do with heavy metal, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, watched the few rock-shows there had on TV, went to concerts (when I was old enough to go. My parents wouldn't let me!) and listened to a Swedish hard rock radio show called Rockdepartementet (=The Rock Department). I started writing to one of the DJ's there, and when I was 15 she called me and asked if I wanted to come with her to interview Rob Halford!
You can imagine my reaction (first shocked, then dancing around the house!), but my parents wouldn't hear of it. I would have to travel to Gothenburg from Malmoe, and it wasn't a good idea for a 15-year old to do that all alone. I was ready to run away from home, but I had no money. Life sucked. Boo-hoooo! :-(
I was really depressed and couldn't get over it. I hated my parents. It was a small consolation that the lady from the radio (Marianne) asked Rob all the questions I had sent to her, and refered to me with my NAME, and I thought, "well, at least he's heard my name"...
The years went by and my interest for metal never faded. I just broadened my horizons as I grew older and learned to accept other kinds of music as well.
By the time I was 18 I was a walking heavy metal library! Everything I had read was stuck in my head. And my dream was to become a heavy metal journalist. I kept writing to this Swedish newspaper called Kvällsposten . One day they called and asked me to come to the editorial office "so we can talk"...
They wanted me to write for them. They needed somebody who knew the hard rock field and could write, and judging from all my letters, I was the person they were looking for!
It began in a small scale, I had a column every Friday. People kept writing to the editorial office screaming for more rock, so my column expanded to a whole page and some extra reviews, everything. I worked like a maniac to keep up with everything!
But I loved it, I'd never been happier!
At the same time, I was singing in a band (Spirit, but we had to change the name...), we did a few covers too, apart from the original material. "Breaking the law" was one of them. I guess it sounded different with a girl singing it...! We were doing good too, got great reviews in the papers.
One thing led to another and before I knew it I had my own radio-show too, Radio MCB (Malmoe City Broadcasting). It started out with an hour a week, and expanded to 5 hours a week. People were hungry for rock'n'roll, and life had never been better.
Did some TV-jobs, managed two bands...
But the BIG moment in all this was when I finally met Rob Halford...!! It was in 1991, and I was not 15 anymore... This was IT, this was what I had been waiting for since I was a teenager. Now I was a respected journalist who was about to do an interview with a rock-singer. But I knew it was so much more than that.
At first, the record-company said that Rob wouldn't do any interviews, cause there was too little time. Oh yeah..?? That was not the answer I was looking for, so I took the matter into my own hands. I went to Copenhagen where Priest were going to play two days before they came to Stockholm, and walked straight to the hotel where I knew the band was staying. The guy behind the reception desk tried to convince me that they weren't there, (like they ALWAYS do...). I explained to him that I was a journalist and that I knew that the band was there.
In the middle of the "wild" discussion, a lady in a fur coat walked over to me, and said that she could help me. Her name was Jayne Andrews and she was from the management. I explained the situation and she gave me her business-card and asked me to call her tomorrow and she'd set up a time for the interview. Bingo!!
She kept her promise. Before I knew it I was at Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm, feeling smaller and more insignificant than I had ever felt before. I was about to meet the man who, to me, was as close to a God as anyone could possibly be. At first I didn't see him, then I saw a bald guy with a jeansjacket over his leatherjacket. When I took a closer look I realized it was Rob Halford...!! The man who sang "Exciter" that had changed my whole world that summer day when I was only 15, the man who hit all those high notes in "Green Manalishi". It was very hard to maintain my dignified journalist-image...!!
Janye waved to me to come over, and when I did she introduced me. Once again I heard my name being mentioned to "God", but this time I was standing face to face with him! He shook my hand and showed me an empty chair.
It was all so unreal, total virtual reality. I should have told him everything, but I knew he had heard that story so many times before from other people and probably couldn't even understand why he would have that kind of impact on people. So I decided to play my role as a journalist. I sure earned an Oscar that day!
[PICTURE: The very first Priest-album I ever bought, "Unleashed in the East" was signed by the whole band - making it even MORE precious than it was before! If that was possible..!!]
Rob was a mix between polite English gentleman and wild rebel, very open and honest. I just bombarded him with questions, as if it was the first and last time I would ever have the chance to ask him anything (which is more or less true, cause I haven't had an opportunity to meet him again - yet!).
Later I was told that my interview was originally supposed to be only 20 minutes, but Jayne didn'twant to interrupt me. She had told the people from the record-company that I was SO caught up in what Rob was saying that she just couldn't tell me to finish up. She let us talk.
It was my fault that the band ran late, but I didn't know that at the time. I asked my friend Janet to take a picture of me and Rob, cause I wouldn't believe that this had actually happened if I did't have some sort of proof! I would wake up and think that I had just dreamed the whole thing. That picture is now enlarged and framed..!
Since the rest of the band wasn't there, Rob offered to take all my rare albums (including my very first "Unleashed..."-album which, to me, was more precious than those Japanese DJ-mixes I also had in that pile) and have the rest of the band sign them for me too.
And he did! Those are among my most valuable possesions.
Meeting Rob was... Well, no words could really describe it. He created the person I am today, he and Glenn, K.K, Ian and Dave. Well...Sort of.
I DID get a chance to tell one of the guys how much they had meant to me though, over the phone. That was when I did a phone-interview with K.K Downing. I thought that, well, he couldn't see me anyway, so how embarrassing could it be?!
He sounded more flattered than I thought he would be, and my interview was one of the best so far! He didn't sound like a machine who has all the answers ready, like a robot (some bands do and those interviews tend to become very tiresome). He seemed to feel very comfortable and told me about the problems he had had with his father for instance, that he didn't care much for him, about the relation between the guys in the band and stuff like that - I got a great "natural" interview.
The best thing of all was that I had his phone number - to his house in Spain! I wouldn't dream of using it, but it was like a trophy - I would look at it and know that I could call if I wanted to..! :-)
I'm 30 years old now, and I'll never forget how much Judas Priest meant to me - they gave me a rich life, something to believe in and live for. Those things don't happen to often in life.
Thanks Priest...! :-D
"The Priestess" ("Priestan")
If you have tried to do something
and failed, you are vastly better
off than if you had tried to do nothing