Why Devin Townsend Turned Down Offer to Audition for Judas Priest
Judas Priest haven't cycled through as many musicians as some other metal bands have, but they did undergo a couple of lineup changes, and were in the market for a new vocalist in the mid-'90s. Devin Townsend was actually asked to audition to be the group's singer, but he turned the offer down, and explained why in a new interview.
Of course, Rob Halford has been mostly known as Priest's vocal powerhouse, but he left the band for a little over a decade in 1992. Tim "Ripper" Owens fulfilled the vocal duties for a time after Halford's departure, but during this period was when Townsend was approached to audition as their singer.
"Technically, yes that happened, but it wasn't like they were knocking down my door. Basically, they threw out a blanket thing to a bunch of singers — Warrel [Dane] from Nevermore, myself, a couple of other people," Townsend recalled to The SDR Show.
"But I also remember thinking that singing was this thing that happened to me because of my involvement with Steve [Vai], because I never really set out to be a singer," he continued. "I learned to sing because I was a guitar player. Most of the singers I auditioned, I didn't relate to."
Townsend's plan, at that time, had been to learn to sing until he found someone who was a good fit, but it eventually just became his gig, in addition to playing the guitar.
"But, as a result of that, the technique that I had was so shoddy, that had I gotten to a situation with that level of expectation, to sing like Rob Halford... dude, I'd be crucified."
Watch the clip from the interview below and, further down the page, hear Townsend's cover of Priest's "Sinner," which appears on the Tribute to Judas Priest Volume II: Delivering the Goods album.
Halford reunited with Judas Priest in 2003, and they've been going strong ever since. As of now, their next scheduled performances will take place this spring in Europe with Ozzy Osbourne. See the dates and get tickets here.