Rob Halford Recalls His ‘Obnoxious’ Johnny Rotten Moment
Judas Priest singer Rob Halford reflected on the “insulting” behavior he displayed when the band interviewed producer Dennis MacKay in 1977.
They'd go on to create Stained Class, a groundbreaking album that’s regarded as a key moment in the band’s development. Released in 1978, it was the first of three LPs to feature drummer Les Binks and the only Priest album to include writing contributions by the entire group.
That success might have been different if MacKay reacted more negatively when first he met Halford and his bandmates in a London bar. Anxious to secure the job, the producer pulled out a resume of his work and began reading from it. Halford grabbed the paper, tore it up and said, “Fuck that! What are you going to do for us?”
“I must have had one too many pints under my belt,” the singer told Classic Rock in a recently published article. “Those were my merry medieval drinking days. ‘Give me a flagon of mead and all will be well!' ... It’s very insulting when I think about it now. Absolutely obnoxious. Who did I think I was, Johnny Rotten?”
Guitarist Glenn Tipton remembered that Halford "probably had four or five vodkas. The next question to Dennis was, ‘Let’s see how many pints you can drink.' Actually, on that account Dennis used to be very good. That impressed us more than his [resume].”
With all that behind them, Judas Priest set to work on Stained Class. “We were embracing the double bass drum for the first time in a more adventurous way,” Halford said. “It’s really vital to the overall texture of the record. Les was extremely technically proficient, a very clean drummer. You can really feel the separation, even on the fast tracks, and the definition of the beats.”