METAL WORKS 1973 - 1993
WORKS is not meant to be a 'Best Of' nor is it by any means Judas Priest's
Greatest Hits. The track listing was put together by the band to commemorate
20 years of recording and performing. A varied selection of songs has been
taken from the back catalog which represents such an era. It includes many
Priest classics but also a few personal favorites which may have been
overlooked by all but the most ardent Priest fans."
Re-mastered by Judas Priest and Tom Allom
Cover based on an original idea by Judas Priest
Just as the album contained a 20 year history of Priest songs, so too the cover was a collage of the main elements from each of the album covers spanning those two decades. The album cover even made a cameo appearance on film:
In the movie Wayne's World 2, Wayne and Garth go to their local radio station to promote their "Waynestock" concert. While in the station's lobby talking to the receptionist (played by Drew Barrymore), a framed cover of the Metal Works album can be seen hanging on the wall! Speaking of Drew Barrymore, she shows up in the Charlie's Angels Full Throttle movie wearing a Judas Priest T-shirt as well:
MAY 1992: Rob leaves
Many thanks to Metal Andy for help with putting the details together!
At the peak of their career in 1987, Glenn Tipton had never in his wildest dreams envisioned a day that his good friend and fellow defender would ever leave the greatest and most dedicated band in metal...
But three years later, as Rob addressed the attendees of the Third Annual Foundation's Forum, his statement would echo back and become a reflection of his own personal struggle over the next couple of years...
But there was more going on behind-the-scenes than just Rob outgrowing the music. Judas Priest had become a corporate machine, with management and record execs calling the shots. And the Reno trial still wore heavily on the emotions of all the members.
Rob Halford was not a demanding person; he actually prefers working in a group setting, but now it seemed to him that his ideas were no longer considered a valid part of that Judas Priest team and Rob began to distant himself from the rest of the members:
Rob did however come to his senses in recognizing his edgier American metal ideas were not appropriate for the traditional British metal of Priest and once the tour was over, Rob made a request of the band: During the band's long break, Rob could still satisfy his musical urges by making a solo album on the side - to which his band mates agreed.
Drummer Scott Travis was still new to Priest and became a good friend of Rob's, so he opted to join Rob on his solo venture during Priest's down time. Everything seemed to be in place: Rob, with Scott, would record a solo album of hardcore modern American style metal and then return to Priest when the break was over and it was time to write the next album...
Though Rob got a lot of the basic writing down on tape during the 1991 PAINKILLER tour leg in Canada, Priest's label rejected it outright:
Columbia Records' rejection only made Rob push harder to shake the industry with something fresh:
Glenn claims that Rob then asked to take four years off to pursue his venture before returning to Priest:
Whatever Rob meant to communicate, it didn't sit well with manager Bill Curbishley:
In spite of the turmoil brewing, Rob managed to stay busy, making a guest appearance with Skid Row on HANGIN' WITH MTV to perform "Delivering The Goods" and recording backing vocals to the track "Goddamn Devil" for Ugly Kid Joe's full-album debut AMERICA'S LEAST WANTED. Then Rob was given an ultimatum: Judas Priest was not going to wait around for Rob to do his thing; if Rob chose to continue on his own, he could not come back!
On September 7, 1992, Rob Halford was legally no longer a member of Judas Priest. Accusations were made by the band that Rob had quit the band in a very impersonal way:
Rumors soon followed in the press, claiming Rob made a request to be extracted from his contract via fax, rather than contacting his close friends of some 20 years, directly. Fans were shocked and many alienated when they read of their metal icon being so cold-hearted in his conduct. But the rumors were an untrue twisting of the facts. Rob and Glenn have both said they talked during the split, though it was limited for legal reasons. Most things were handled through their lawyers...
When Rob made his decision to leave Priest back in May '92, it was kept quiet until the legalities could be settled. Finally in the early part of 1993, Judas Priest broke the silence to confirm the rumors that were already making the rounds:
Band members, including Rob himself, were in the dark over why it had come to this. Ultimately, egos were hurt and a war of words became the norm in the press throughout the '90s:
NOVEMBER 1992: Black Sabbath - Making rock 'n' roll history!
Only two months after the devastating break up, Rob had a rare opportunity to perform with his icons of metal, Black Sabbath!
Well, for two nights anyway. Yes, for two nights of the Dehumanizer tour, the Metal God joined forces with the legends of metal to make rock n' roll history!
The shows took place on November 14 and 15, 1992 at Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, California. Ozzy Osbourne was proclaiming his '92 No More Tours tour was to be his last, and he wanted to play with Black Sabbath one last time to end his career. Then Sabbath front man Ronnie James Dio stated that he didn't think Black Sabbath should have to open for anyone, not the least of which was their own former lead singer, Ozzy, so Dio refused to do the shows. Tony Martin was then asked to perform at these two shows, but Wendy Dio, in charge of Sabbath at the time, refused to sign his work visa to come to the States. Ronnie would never support a belittling of his work, knowing it was a set-up for the Ozzy reunion, nor would he allow Tony Martin to come back and make matters even worse for both singers.
Left with little options, the remaining Sabbath members scrambled for a solution:
The metal masters convened at Vintage Sound Studios in Phoenix for a quick rehearsal:
The shows were truly a historic moment in metal, but they weren't without their flaws:
The history-making line-up consisted of:
Rob Halford (vocals)
The first night's set list was as follows:
While the second night's was the following:
Then Sabbath Mach I (Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer
Butler, Bill Ward) did a special reunion to close the show with a short 4-song
set featuring: Black Sabbath - Fairies Wear Boots - Iron Man - Paranoid
Interesting to note, during the shows, Rob announced from the stage that he and the Priest would be back. Seems Rob felt that a return would soon be at hand.
Members of Black Sabbath, along with Rob, did a Rockline interview the following day, but it was never intended to continue with Rob as their lead vocalist beyond these dates, or was it?
Rob did record a track with members of Sabbath for a tribute to Ozzy Osbourne in 1994. Dubbed the Bullring Brummies, the band consisted of Rob Halford on vocals; Geezer Butler on bass; Bill Ward on drums; Scott "Wino" Weinrich (St. Vitus, The Obsessed) on rhythm guitar; Brian Tilse (from Rob's band Fight) on guitar and Jimmie Wood providing harmonica. They covered the old Black Sabbath song "The Wizard" for their contribution to the Ozzy tribute, Nativity In Black. Tony Iommi was also slated to be on this recording, making for what would have been a full Black Sabbath reunion with Rob Halford on vocals instead of Ozzy, but troubles with Tony's record label kept him from appearing on the album, even though he did record his un-submitted part...
After leaving Judas Priest, putting a demo of personal ideas together and jamming with some great legends in metal, including his teen idols Black Sabbath, it was clear that Rob was a free man, happier on his own. Both parties were bitter over the situation, but the METAL WORKS package was being put together and required assistance from the two sides. Rob participated and fulfilled his contractual duties from a distance, contributing to song selections and liner notes, and making separate appearances apart from the band when filming the video.
It is reported that after finishing METAL WORKS, in spite of his new-found musical freedom, Rob actually made a final attempt to return to Priest in June of '93, "for the sake of the fans", but the break had been too much; Priest had moved on and Rob would have to do the same:
Yes indeed, K.K. said they would seek a new singer and DRUMMER! The truth is, Scott was never out of Judas Priest. The guys had discussed the possibility that Scott could be busy with Fight at the same time that Priest got into the studio again and they had a couple of drummers in mind, just in case, but once the guys got together with Scott on the issue, it was clear to them that Scott was only doing his thing with Fight during the break - he was a full-fledged, dedicated member of Judas Priest first and foremost!
As stated above and in the liner notes, METAL WORKS was not intended to be a "Best Of", nor a "Greatest Hits" package. It was simply a collection of Priest classics, radio hits, and personal favorites of the band members to showcase their 20 years they were together recording and performing live. Due to Gull Entertainments holding the rights to the first two albums, instead of paying Gull's license fee, Sony and Priest opted to use the live version of "Victim Of Changes" to represent that era, as it also showcases the band at their classic best in a live setting.
With Rob gone and the future of Priest at question, this was the package that would leave a lasting memory of the band, whether as a memory of the past or as a bridge to the next era. Unfortunately, the gap to the next era lasted longer than hoped, and for many, METAL WORKS is the last thing they know of Judas Priest. But their story does continue...
Featuring clips from:
With appearances from:
Rare and previously unseen video footage and photographs from K.K. Downing's meticulously kept scrapbooks lend visuals to the story of Judas Priest's 20 year history, as told through interviews with the band and those they've touched along the way. Though Rob Halford was already out of the band and launching his debut with a new band called Fight, he did take the time to participate in the interviews. Highly insightful and highly recommended!
Steel & Leather Productions, U.S.A.