JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford publicly voiced his support for Ukraine in its war with Russia during the band's concert in Poland earlier in the month.
While performing the song "Blood Red Skies" at the Mystic Festival in Gdańsk on June 3, the 70-year-old British-born singer said into the mic "never surrender" and repeated the phrase "Free Ukraine!" three times, as can be seen in the fan-filmed video below.
A little over two years ago, Halford was asked by one of the readers of U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine if politics have a place in metal. He responded: "Absolutely they do and I've been putting my two penn'orth into PRIEST's music for most of my life, but it's concealed by smoke and mirrors. Take a song like 'Evil Never Dies' [from 2018's 'Firepower' album]. I make some digs there and I know what I mean, but here's the thing, especially for a band like PRIEST: music is about escapism.
"If I hear one more thing about Brexit, I don't know what I will do. To me there's a place for politics and I applaud bands that make it important in what they do, but with me the clues are there if you want to look for them."
Back in 2018, Halford told Newsweek that he was "not a Donald Trump supporter," explaining that the then-U.S. president's policies had turned political divides into chasms and alienated minority groups like the LGBTQ community.
"It's a very shaky time right now," Rob said. "I have so much faith in this country. But it does seem as though the brakes have been slapped on. It's indeed disturbing, and it's such a shame, because throughout the Obama administration, tremendous things were achieved on the basis of human equality. That's the issue here. Treating one bunch of people this way, and treating this bunch that way. You can't do that. You have to give everybody the same rights."
Halford acknowledged that many PRIEST fans won't agree with those views, saying that "there's a ton of metalheads that are supportive of [the Trump] administration." But, he added, "That's great. That's okay. You're not bringing that to the show. We're there to all join together, and that is the beautiful thing about a free, transparent society — which we don't appear to have right now. Some fans are completely opposite to me politically. But we can still be in the same room and have a good time and hopefully have a good discussion while respecting each other's opinions."
JUDAS PRIEST kicked off its spring/summer 2022 European tour with an intimate concert on May 31 in Berlin, Germany. For the gig, which was held at the 1,600-capacity Huxleys Neue Welt venue, Halford and his bandmates ditched their traditional leather-and-studs look in favor of a more stripped-down appearance.
JUDAS PRIEST will receive the Musical Excellence Award at this year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, which will honor Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
The induction ceremony will be held on November 5, 2022 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. It will air at a later date on HBO and stream on HBO Max. There will also be a radio simulcast on SiriusXM's Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Radio channel 310.
According to the Hall Of Fame, the JUDAS PRIEST members that will get inducted include current members Halford, bassist Ian Hill, guitarist Glenn Tipton and drummer Scott Travis, along with former members K.K. Downing (guitar),Les Binks (drums) and late drummer Dave Holland.