In the metal world, Rob Halford is a man of important influence and inspiration. Halford, along with the band Judas Priest, paved the way for metal. Judas Priest stands among the godfathers of metal, like Black Sabbath, earning them high respect in the metal world. Musically, they took heavy guitar to a new level and perfected the power metal scream.
There’s Judas Priest. And then there’s Halford.
When I was a kid I was awed by him. His heavy, spiked leather jacket and jaunty police hat that he always wore blew me away. I was fascinated by the style and aspired to one day be able to pull something like it off. Years later, as I went on to high school (and got a leather jacket), I came out as gay. Not much later I happened to read in a book about Halford’s coming out. This surprised and enthralled me, causing my already high respect for him to only grow more.
Homosexuality is sparsely represented in the metal world now. In the late nineties, when Halford came out, GBLTQ representation was even less. And though his proclamation surprised some, it mostly confirmed what others already knew. Despite his own concerns, fans remained loyal, and he has remained a respected part of metal history. Halford helped reinforce the idea that sexuality doesn’t, and shouldn’t, change how people view the individual.
From his vocals, to his sense of style, to his overall way of being, Rob Halford is a man of great influence. Personally, I feel that his being openly gay has helped me embrace my sexuality and not feel so self-conscious. Though I fear judgment, it has lessened significantly due to the success I have witnessed. Overall, I’d say he is a symbol of hope and confidence for me and I believes to others as well.
In my own experience, I must say, being a gay gal in the metal community is odd, to say the least. Like in every group, there has been a few (very few) that have made me feel unsafe, but the overwhelming majority has been so kind, welcoming and non-judgmental. I would like to attribute much of the openness and respect to Halford, who blatantly proved that you can be both gay as hell and metal as fuck.
— Starla Fifield
Judas Priest’s “Heavy Metal” will always be a favourite. It was the first Priest song I was exposed to and it will always hold a place in my heart.
And then I also love “Beyond the Realms of Death.”
As for other artists that I look up to, I would have to say Marilyn Manson, for the reason of his originality. He has an ability to just be who he wants, whether people like it or not. My favourite songs by him would be “Dope Hat” and “Nobodies.”
Judas Priest released their latest full-length studio album, Firepower, on March 9, 2018.
Recommended further reading:
The book referred to above – SOUND OF THE BEAST: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal by Ian Christe
A recent interview with Rob Halford – “The Enduring Humanity of Rob Halford, Metal God” by Kim Kelly