Rob Halford Interview: Judas Priest, Heavy Metal, Coming Out as Gay

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The Metal God also shares advice on staying sane during social distancing and coming out as a gay metalhead
"There was a time when 'heavy metal' was a dirty word," Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford says. "But we have always said that we fly the flag of British heavy metal. It's something that we're extremely proud of. We take it seriously."

For nearly half a century, Halford has been the voice of Judas Priest, screaming for vengeance against nonbelievers. His razor-sharp shrieks have always blended perfectly with the band's two-guitar assault on classics like "Breaking the Law," "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," and "Heading Out to the Highway," and his studs-and-black leather biker outfits defined the look of the genre for years to come. In 1980, the band released the song "Metal Gods" on their classic British Steel LP, and the title became a nickname for him that has stuck. Rob Halford is the Metal God.

He's also one of the most intriguing men in hard rock, having risen above many obstacles. He overcame drug and alcohol abuse in the Eighties, long before many of his peers. After taking a break from Judas Priest in the Nineties, he recorded harder-edged metal with Fight and embraced industrial music with his group 2wo on a record that Trent Reznor's label released. Around that time, he also came out as gay, which could have been a risky move since metal was still ruled by machismo. But fans embraced him nevertheless. Once he reunited with Judas Priest, he and the band have continued putting out genre-defining metal; their 2018 album, Firepower, ranked third on Rolling Stone's best metal albums list that year. Halford will detail his full life story in his upcoming autobiography, Confess, due out September 29th.

This year, the band was supposed to be celebrating its 50th anniversary on the road supporting Ozzy Osbourne, but nature had other plans and the coronavirus pandemic forced Judas Priest to stay home. Despite this, Halford is in good spirits when he speaks with Rolling Stone, since he's been spending his time listening to music and making inspiring videos and…
Kory Grow
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