Rob Halford is not rejoining Judas Priest as rumored, says his current manager, but he has, at least to a minor extent, made an attempt to kiss and make up.Longtime Halford associate John Baxter reports on Halford's official Web site that while his client hasn't requested a return to the band (or vice versa), the singer has sent conciliatory letters to Priest's three original members in what's referred to as an attempt to recapture a 20-year friendship. The singer left under less than amicable circumstances almost nine years ago, and he hasn't spoken to his bandmates since the divorce. Baxter, responding to faked reports on the rowdy (but official) Judas Priest message board, took the opportunity to state his client's terms if a reunion was ever to take place, bringing to mind the old "If elected, I won't serve" joke. He wrote that Halford will never agree to return to Judas Priest as long as the group's current representatives are looking after the band's
affairs, and that a mutually-agreed-upon management group would have to be selected by all four original members.Representatives for Judas Priest were not available for comment at press time. Oddly enough (or not), Baxter is stepping down from handling the music end of Halford's affairs. He will stay on as the singer's business manager; meanwhile, Halford is finalizing a deal with Sanctuary Management, the company behind Iron Maiden and (suspiciously) the recent Iron Maiden-Bruce Dickinson reunion (see "Dickinson, Smith Rejoin Iron Maiden"). After leaving Judas Priest in 1991, Halford formed Fight and most recently the industrial-tinged Two, a band he co-anchored with guitarist John Lowery, who later left to join Marilyn Manson. The singer is currently recording a new solo project which he's calling his first heavy metal release since leaving Judas Priest. According to posts by Halford on his site, he hopes
to have the album finished by February and released by May, although he has yet to announce a new label after parting ways with Trent Reznor's Nothing Records (see "Rob Halford's Two Previews Demos; Judas Priest Writing New Album").Roy Z, who produced Bruce Dickinson, is at the controls, and Halford has also mentioned plans to collaborate with Judas Priest producers Tom Allom and Attie Bauw and songwriter Bob Halligan. The remaining members of Judas Priest went on to hire a Halford impersonator from a Priest tribute band, a saga that's currently being fictionalized and turned into a major film, albeit without any involvement from the Judas Priest camp (see "Mark Wahlberg Weighing 'Metal' Role For Next Film"). That group is currently recording a new album which is expected out this spring, likely around the same time as Halford's.