JUDAS PRIEST have revealed more details about their upcoming first conceptual album, which is based upon the life and predictions of the 16th century French prophet Nostradamus. In a May 24, 2006 appearance on the "Rockline" syndicated radio show, PRIEST frontman Rob Halford and guitarist Glenn Tipton spoke about the songwriting process for the CD and their touring plans, which are expected to include a performance of the entire album from beginning to end at each show on the trek. A couple of excerpts from the "Rockline" appearance follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the songwriting process for "Nostradamus":
Tipton: "We've been considering a concept album for quite a while now, and our manager actually brought up the subject of Nostradamus, which we're all interested in. There's so many moods. The actual album is based upon his life as opposed to his predictions and things like that. It's all about his life, which is really interesting — full of incident and drama. We all felt very strongly there were so many moods there to tackle that it would make a great subject matter for a concept album."
Halford: "It's gonna be great, because, as Glenn was saying, he's [Nostradamus] a very mysterious character. We're gonna convey that kind of atmosphere in the music. Glenn, K.K. [Downing, guitar] and myself have already been writing back in England, and the early roots of 'Nostradamus' — they just sound incredible. We are doing some things differently. It will be a metal/rock opera-type production, so it will be strong. It will be everything you love about PRIEST. We're looking forward to it."
Tipton: "We're well on the way [in the songwriting department]. We've got a large portion of it completed on the writing side. I can safely say it's probably the most unique thing we've done. We've got an abundance of material, and we'll paste it all together and we'll shortly go into the studio and begin putting it all down."
Halford: "It's great. We're stoked. I can hear the songs in my head right now. It's gonna be incredible. The thing about Nostradamus is that, as difficult as it will be [to write a concept album based on his life], and it's a joy to face that challenge, it's a little easier in some sense [than writing a regular album], because you've got your plot. You've got your whole thing there laid out for you — you've got this real living, breathing person, who's now dead. But you've got the whole story of his life. And you just explore that and you try and find a way to kind of bring that about in a musical presentation. So the writing process is still the much the same. The three of us get together in a room, and we're talking about each particular moment in Nostradamus' life and we're trying to fit in the moods and emotions to those particular chapters."
"It's more about his life, because everybody knows him more about his prophecies. He's never really gone out of the news in hundreds and hundreds of years, and there are some that believe in his prophecies and some that don't. His life was a difficult life. He went through a lot of rough times. He was a brilliant doctor of medicine — he partly cured the great plague of Europe, he was able to save thousands of people, but couldn't save his wife and kids, which is tragic. And he was chased all over the country by the Roman Catholic Church. There's a ton of stories that you can really investigate musically."
On touring plans:
Halford: "Well, as ever, when 'Nostradamus' is completed, we're gonna go out and tour with that. It will be kind of unique, because we're intending and hoping that we'll be able to perform the complete 'Nostradamus' piece from front to back, which is something that PRIEST has never done. We were saying earlier today to our friends at VH1 that we're always looking for some new adventures and this will be one of them. So when we do go out with 'Nostradamus', that's what you'll experience — you'll have the whole recording from front to end. So it'll be that, and I dare say after that there'll be some more PRIEST touring covering all of our extensive back catalog of songs."
Tipton: "We wanna go out next time and do a completely different set, 'cause there's so many songs that people want us to play, and obviously there's only so much time we can play on stage. So we've got really a great setlist — potential setlist. We're going back to the real early days to draw songs from there. So we've got a lot of interesting projects ready to go."