WAR OF WORDS
"This isn't Priest Part II. It's a new
band with a totally different, modern vibe happening."
"I hate musical
labels. But Fight offers a new approach to the sounds of hard rock/metal. On
some of the new arrangements, for example, we've tuned our guitars down for much
"Fight is a gut feeling, these musicians don't want to be
chips off the old block. I want them to stimulate me."
Management: John Baxter, EMAS
Produced by Rob Halford
WAR OF WORDS was written and produced entirely by Rob Halford, though the band did add their own playing styles to the final product.
Attie Bauw was a sound engineer on the Judas Priest PAINKILLER album while working at Holland's Wisseloord Studios. he has in fact spent most of his professional life in the studio working with a diverse list of artists, including The Scorpions, Bootsy Collins, The Gathering, Simple Minds and many others. Rob Halford recognized and appreciated Attie's ear for mixing:
Attie is the only Dutch producer to have received Grammy nominations for "Producer of the Year" and "Best Engineered Album" for his production work on WAR OF WORDS.
Chart position: Billboard 200 #83
Packaging Design and Layout: Rob Halford and John Baxter
The seeds of Fight were actually planted as far back as 1991, when Rob experienced the refreshing and evolutionary metal sound of Pantera during one of the shows on their COWBOYS FROM HELL tour. Inspired, Rob invited the band to open for Judas Priest on the 1991 European leg of the PAINKILLER tour. This forged a relationship with the band and helped fuel Rob's desire for a more aggressive American metal sound.
Then as Priest began rehearsals for their Operation Rock 'N' Roll North American tour in Canada during the summer of '91, Rob took pen to paper and guitar in hand and began writing new material, influenced by the hardcore direction of American metal bands rising up in the new decade. No metal-monster or sci-fi fantasy lyrics; this was going to be about real life - where the fans lived every day!
What would have been nothing more than a solo project on the side soon became more complicated as Rob began to branch out with his new-found direction...
On March 3, 1992, Rob took the opportunity to join his new friends Pantera on stage in Irvine Meadows, California where they performed Priest classics "Grinder" and "Metal Gods". This led to the two parties collaborating on a song Rob had written called "Light Comes Out Of Black", which was released on the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer film soundtrack in July.
Light Comes Out Of Black
Innocence is calling
Let the fight begin
For Rob Halford, light did indeed seem to come out of black, but it was about to get darker before the dawn...
Independence Day, 1992: In preparation for Rob's own independence from Priest, Halford and personal business manager John Baxter form an artist agency called EMAS (Entertainment Management Advisory Services).
Things were moving at a fast pace for Rob as interest in Rob Halford the solo artist began to increase:
SUMMER 1993: Fight is formed
Many fans of Fight have wondered what Jay Jay's actual birth name is. By 1995, the true name was kept a secret to add to the rock star mystery persona:
But it wasn't always a "mysterious persona": A bootleg recording of the October 19, 1993 show from Frankfurt, Germany reveals Rob introducing the band towards the end of the show, introducing Jay Jay as "John Brown".
This was later confirmed by Jay Jay himself via email:
Jay Jay had moved from Ohio to the warmer climate of Phoenix, Arizona where he got a job as a skin artist at HTC Precision Piercing. One of his clients was local resident Rob Halford, who had been doing his own tattoos on himself...
Halford spent much of 1992 appearing with artists such as Pantera, Skid Row, Ugly Kid Joe and Black Sabbath, all-the-while writing and recording demos through the early part of '93. Then one day while Rob was getting a new tattoo etched, skin artist Jay Jay mentioned that he played bass in a local Phoenix, Arizona hardcore band called Cyanide (which had relocated from Toledo, Ohio). A few days later, Rob went to check out a performance by the group and at first, he offered to help the band out, but later he handed them the demo tape he had been working on. After hearing the demo, Jay Jay and fellow Cyanide guitarist Brian Tilse decided to join Rob in his new venture.
Added to the membership was Russ Parrish, formerly of War And Peace (with Dokken's Jeff Pilson). A graduate of the Guitar Institute Of Technology (G.I.T.), Parrish was brought to Rob's attention by a friend of Racer X guitarist and former G.I.T. instructor Paul Gilbert. Rounding out the lineup on drums was none other than Judas Priest skinman Scott Travis (also from Racer X with Paul Gilbert) and the band was named Fight.
A demo tape was soon cut at Vintage Sound Studio in Phoenix, Arizona and presented to another label under the Sony Music umbrella:
DECEMBER 1993: Rob sues EMI and Judas Priest
Rob's publisher, EMI April Music, claimed Rob still owed them two more albums per their contract. But Rob wanted to break all ties to Priest and have his music published under his own publishing company.
In order to protect his music, a lawsuit was filed on December 20, 1993 in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, by Halford, his publishing company Ebonytree Ltd., and Phoenix Music Ltd., which serves as the publishing company for his current material.
According to the suit, in 1982 and 1986 Ebonytree Ltd. agreed to give CBS Songs (purchased by EMI) publishing rights to Halford-penned songs on eight Judas Priest albums. The wording of the publishing agreement stated that if Halford made any records independently of the band during the term of the agreement, CBS Songs would get the publishing rights to all Halford-penned songs on those records. EMI claimed that since only six Judas Priest albums had been delivered before Halford left, the agreement was still in effect for two more.
Rob's lawsuit disputes this, arguing that according to the terms of the publishing agreement, if the band has not released an album in three years, has broken up, or no longer records under the name Judas Priest, the agreement is terminated. Therefore, since Halford left the band and it was unclear if the remaining members would make further recordings, the publishing agreement should be considered terminated. The suit asked for a judgment declaring the pares' rights and obligations...
A Columbia Records spokeswoman confirmed the remaining members were still signed to the label under the name Judas Priest, but Halford's attorney, Paul LiCalsi of Gold, Farrell & Marks, said that Rob had an equal share in the band, but that contact ended, so they could no longer use the name Judas Priest without Halford's consent. Fan magazines reported that if the band did go on, it would have to be called simply "Priest", or go under a completely new name.
It appears the lawsuit was never carried out and was more a ploy for Rob to retain his own music - it was never meant to tear down Priest. Rob did use his own Phoenix Music Ltd. to publish the songs on WAR OF WORDS, but has used EMI April Music ever since, and Judas Priest would eventually go forward under their full name. As for their view on Rob's ventures...
Early 1994: Russ Parish leaves, Robby Lochner's brief stint
Earlier in the year, Russ Parrish had departed Fight. Tired of the road and the thrashier street-metal style, he left to pursue other music interests:
After leaving Fight, Russ teamed up with Paul Gilbert and Racer X vocalist Jeff Martin to form a cover band/side-project called The Electric Fence:
In this setting, Russ played the bass while Jeff Martin doubled on drums. The Electric Fence have one recorded song together ("Heart Full Of Soul") on the Jeff Beck tribute JEFFOLOGY. Russ also continued with Paul and Jeff in the Paul Gilbert Band for a 1999 tour of Japan, that also had Racer X bassist John Alderete join them at one point.
Russ' career has since been mostly in and around the Los Angeles, California cover bands market where he has had gigs with heavy metal parody band Metal Shop (featuring former L.A. Guns' vocalist Ralph Saenz and former DLR drummer Ray Luzier - this band also played the role of "Danger Kitty", the fictional metal band in a 2001 Discover® Card commercial), Rush tribute band Moving Pictures and most notably, Van Halen tribute band Atomic Punks (featuring David Lee Ralph Saenz), where Russ started out on bass before moving to the coveted guitar spot.
Shockingly, this metal thrash guitarist has even been seen playing in a disco parody band:
Following Russ' departure in early 1994, guitarist Robby Lochner was hand-picked by Rob Halford to temporarily fill the vacancy in order to continue the band's WAR OF WORDS tour. Hailing from Tucson, Arizona, Robby had moved to Los Angeles, California and joined the Los Angeles band Razor. Having won the HotShot Guitar competition in 1993, the members of Razor suggested to Robby that he send a package to Halford's E.M.A.S. agency. Thus, with only five days to prepare and no audition or even a rehearsal, Robby Lochner was on the road with the Metal God and Fight!
But like Russ Parrish before him, Robby soon felt he also had better ground to travel, so he began to audition for some L.A. based bands, won several guitar completion awards in Arizona and California and has released three solo albums. He presently teaches guitar and has a band called Gillian's Crush who are seeking a label.
Meanwhile, Rob would take an interest in Australian thrash metal band Allegiance and his artist agency, EMAS helped the band release and distribute their first album D.E.S.T.I.T.U.T.I.O.N. on Polygram Records in June 1994. Without mainstream radio support, that album went on to top the WA charts!
Produced by Rob Halford
Attie Bauw's "Dutch Death" remix of "Kill It" was "Most Requested Remix on Radio in 1994" in the USA.
Art Direction: Stephen Walker
This EP CD was made in limited "Collector's Edition" quantity and features the only official live release of Fight tunes performed by the band (from a "Fight Night" syndicated radio broadcast ), as well as remixes of several songs from the debut album WAR OF WORDS.
In the Fall of 1994, Rob and guitarist Brian Tilse teamed up with Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, Obsessed guitarist Scott "Wino" Weinrich, and harmonica player Jimmy Wood to form the Bullring Brummies who recorded a cover of Sabbath's "The Wizard" on the NATIVITY IN BLACK tribute album to Black Sabbath.
Then, just in time for Christmas, Fight released a limited edition holiday promo-only maxi-CD single to radio DJs and program directors featuring "Christmas Ride" and a special holiday greeting from Rob Halford:
Though the promo was only distributed to radio stations, there was consideration of including it in the live set and releasing a live version commercially:
Into The Pit
• Nailed To The Gun
• Life In Black
• Immortal Sin
• War Of Words
• Laid To Rest
Bear witness to treason
Sig Sauer, victim of a systems non-control
Life in black
Torn by the wrath that burns like a
Congress shall make no law
You never gave me what I craved for
How can I begin to tell
It's all right, it's all right, it's
See a word of suffering
10. Kill It
Transgress your fake religion
Would I lie to you man
12. Reality, A New Beginning
This time when I'm leaving
The devil walked with me
All compositions by Rob Halford (© 1993 Phoenix Music, Ltd.,
Let The Fight Begin! World Tour
Rob Halford - v, Brian Tilse - g, Russ Parrish - g, Jay Jay -
b, Scott Travis - d
Rob Halford - v, Brian Tilse - g, Russ Parrish - g, Jay Jay - b, Scott Travis - d
SETLIST (Orange titles are from the current album)
From the August pre-tour warm-up Mason Jar show:
Into The Pit
From the November 19 Asbury Park, New Jersey show:
TOUR DATES 1994: Nailed To The Road World Tour
Rob Halford - v, Brian Tilse - g, Russ Parrish - g/Robbie Lochner - g, Jay Jay - b, Scott Travis - d
SETLIST (Orange titles are from the current album)
From the January 16 Limelight show:
Steel & Leather Productions, U.S.A.