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Rob Halford Reunites With Judas Priest for 2004 World Tour

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Rob Halford and the original members of the pioneering heavy-metal band Judas Priest will reunite for a world tour and a new album next year.

The definitive Judas Priest lineup of Rob Halford, lead guitarist Glenn Tipton, lead guitarist K.K. Downing, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis are back. The original band members have been re-establishing their personal and professional relationships since 1999 along the way sparking hundreds of reunion rumors. Next year's reunion tour will also celebrate the band's 30th anniversary.

After a 12-year solo career, Halford disbanded his self-titled band and rejoined the group that cranked out metal classics such as "You've Got Another Thing Coming," "Living After Midnight" and "Hell Bent for Leather."

"All the grace, majesty and power you experienced with Judas Priest is about to happen again," Halford told The Associated Press Friday. "We want to go out there and slay people, and have them walking out of the building going, `Oh my God!'"

Ripper Owens, the vocalist plucked from a Judas Priest tribute band to replace Halford, approved of Halford's return. "He's been very understanding and very cool with the whole thing," Halford said.

Halford, who is gay, said speculation that he's HIV-positive is "a very distasteful rumor."

"I have lost close friends to HIV and it's a disservice to them," the 51-year-old singer said. "I want everyone to know that I am 100 percent healthy and I've never felt better."

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