James Durbin Recounts the Night He Had Dinner With Judas Priest
Most of the general public came to know James Durbin as the “metal guy” on 2011’s season of ‘American Idol.’ The 23-year-old Santa Cruz, Calif. native was one of the show’s most popular finalists, showing off his expansive vocal range on songs by the likes of Aerosmith, Sammy Hagar and Queen.
But it was on the ‘American Idol’ finale this past May, that Durbin lived out a metalhead fantasy by performing a medley of ‘Living After Midnight’ and ‘Breaking the Law’ alongside Judas Priest. “What can I say about that night? It was beyond anything I could have expected when I tried out for ‘Idol.’ I still can’t believe it,” Durbin tells Noisecreep.
During the epic performance, Durbin traded vocal lines with Priest mainman Rob Halford, owning the stage with the Metal God himself. It looked like the two singers were old friends. “Actually, the night before the ‘American Idol’ finale, I had dinner with Judas Priest at an Italian restaurant in West Hollywood. It was a place on Santa Monica Blvd, but I can’t remember its name.
“Anyway, I’m in a cab, on the way to the restaurant, and I think to myself, “What the hell am I doing?!” I couldn’t believe that I was going to be sitting at a table, eating dinner, with Judas motherf—ing Priest! I didn’t know what to expect. Were there going to be strippers and blow there? Was there going to be a goat’s head on a pole, with blood splattered all over the wall? How about a pentagram on the floor, surrounded by fire? Cause if that’s going to be the case, I should just turn around and go back home, cause that’s not my scene at all,” laughs Durbin who recently released ‘Memories of Beautiful Disaster,’ his debut solo album.
Watch James Durbin and Judas Priest Perform at 2011 ‘American Idol’ Finale
“So I get there, and I ask one of the waiters, “I’m looking for Judas Priest.” He takes me to the back of the restaurant and I see the band sitting at a table and Rob Halford pacing around the room. I later found out that he has a lot of trouble sitting in one place. He needs to stay busy.
“When it comes time to order the food, the band gets crab and lobster. Oh, and they’re all sipping on tea. They were all so mellow and nice to me. We talked about life and music for hours. I can’t remember what we talked about specifically, because I was just living in the moment. I’m thinking to myself, “This is the band for me!” It’s one of those moments where you’re reminded that you never know what to expect. Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Durbin and guitar vixen Orianthi will be performing a concert on Friday, March 2nd hosted by Center Staging in Burbank, Calif. The Help Kids Rock! event is a fundraiser for the Rock School Scholarship Fund that is open to all ages. Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased for $15 at www.rockschoolfund.org.
Watch James Durbin at Grammy 2012
James Durbin’s ‘Memories of a Beautiful Disaster’ is in stores now via Wind-Up Records.