JUDAS PRIEST's ROB HALFORD: 'Heavy Metal Cats, They Rule'

February 15, 2024

In a new interview with Kevin Vargas of El Paso's Best Rock KLAQ 95.5 FM radio station, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford once again explained why he posts so many pictures on his Instagram of him wearing cat-related t-shirts. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think cats are a perfect choice because they're fiercely independent. I love that kind of thing where you think you own your cat, but your cat owns you. [Laughs] My great friend Blasko [Robert Nicholson, bassist for OZZY OSBOURNE and ROB ZOMBIE], the bass player, he's also a cat-mad guy. And then you've got all these different Instagram accounts that reference cats as a great place to go and look at and look at and listen to and have fun with. But I just love, again, the variety of different kinds of cats. Cats are like rock and roll. They're all coming in from different angles and perspectives. The difference between a Persian and a ginger tom cat or a Sphynx cat, they're just great creatures. But I think that more than anything, I just love the independence. I just love the independence that a cat will show constantly when you have them. And they're beautiful creatures."

He continued: "To have any animal in your life as a person, to have a relationship with an animal is a truly beautiful blessing. Some people — cats become their kids, dogs become your kids, and that's how it should be because they're a family member. So there's all that, and then there's all the other great things that are connected to that world.

"I'm a big supporter of the late 'Price Is Right' [host and animal advocate] Bob Barker, [who always reminded audiences to have their pets] spayed or neutered, I'm a big believer in that. I've hooked up with Kitten Rescue in Los Angeles. The ladies there do a wonderful job doing the great work that they do. You can go to KittenRescueLA on the Instagram. There's a great opportunity to see the good work that they do. And anybody that really looks after animals should be acknowledged.

"So, there's my thing with cats," Rob added. "I love them. I don't have one at the moment. My last cat passed away from one of those horrible things that cats get. But cats are in my heart and, yeah, heavy metal cats, they rule."

Back in April 2022, Kitten Rescue, a Los Angeles-based non-profit, volunteer-run organization devoted to finding loving homes for unwanted, homeless cats and kittens, introduced a new litter of kittens for The New York Times-recognized kitten cam room, named by Halford. In appreciation for Halford's unending love of cats and kittens, Kitten Rescue asked him to name the cam room additions and he fired back rock 'n' roll-themed names. The Halford-named kittens were Taylor, Turbo, Angel, Starbreaker, Rocker and Mama Rose. Taylor, an orange-and-white male, is named in honor of FOO FIGHTERS' Taylor Hawkins; Turbo, a calico female, is named after JUDAS PRIEST's song "Turbo Lover"; Angel, a female white/cream, is named for the PRIEST song "Angel Of Retribution"; Starbreaker, Star for short, a male black-and-white, is named after the PRIEST song from the "Sin After Sin" album; and Rocker, a male orange kitty, was named for the PRIEST song "I'm A Rocker". To top it off, Halford named their Mama Rose for PRIEST's song "Last Rose Of Summer".

Kitten Rescue has been auctioning Halford's personal collection of autographed cat t-shirts, pictures of which he has posted on Instagram. Proceeds benefit Kitten Rescue and the lifesaving work they do on behalf of cats and kittens.

In a 2020 interview with the "Cobras & Fire" podcast, Halford stated about the cat-related pictures on his Instagram: "I think I have about a hundred cat t-shirts now. I used to have a beautiful kitty cat called Ben, who lived a long life and then suddenly passed, like they all do. It's like losing a family member. But it was kind of difficult, because I'm on the road all the time and there's nobody here at the house.

"As much as it's great sometimes for the cats to go into kitty jail [laughs], kitty vacation, my cat never liked that very much," he explained. "So I'm kind of making up for that with my cat t-shirts every Saturday on my Instagram, which is a lot of fun. I don't know how long that's gonna go on for. I think I'll run out of cat shirts [at some point]."

Asked if he has a theory as to why "a lot of heavy metal guys" really like cats, Rob said: "Ooh, yeah. That's very true. I only really started to figure that out [when] I saw things about books of photographs of metal musicians, particularly, with their cats. You get all these really strong guys and they've got their cats. Obviously, it's the power of pets, isn't it? Pet power. But it's great.

"There's a fun thread on Reddit about guys that hate cats, and then somebody brings a cat into the house, and the cat sits on the guy's lap and the guys instantly melts.

"They're beautiful creatures," Halford said. "I think the reason why we like 'em in our metal community is because they're fiercely independent. You think you know your cat, [but] the cat knows you better than you do. And they're so full of character and knocking things off the shelf and looking at you as if to say, 'Look what I can do.' But I love 'em for that. They're beautiful creatures," he repeated.

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