During an August 15 appearance on Fox Sports 910 AM's "The Freaks With Kenny And Crash" radio show in Phoenix, Arizona, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke about the discrimination that the LGBT community still faces despite the broad social acceptance of homosexuality and the legality of same-sex marriage in some parts of the world.
Halford, who revealed he was gay nearly twenty years ago, said (see video below): "I just get so frustrated and I get angry that here we are in 2017… I mean, growing up as a kid and suddenly realizing about my preferences… Well, it's not really a preference — it's who you are. You don't make a choice. I am who I am. And because of the society that I grew up in, and to a still great extent today, we have this tremendous pushback in equality.
"I always kind of felt, as I was going through my teen years and my twenties and thirties, things would be better, but they're not," he continued. "There's still a long way to go in America, and in my home country. And in some parts of the world, people like me get thrown off buildings, people like me get hung, just because of who we are. So the injustices that are put against gay people, much like the injustices against people of color, or people that have tremendous difficulties with accepting religions…"
Halford added: "It's a crazy world, isn't it? You'd think that by now we'd have just figured things out and live and let live and love each other and just accept each other for who we are. Life is short."
Asked if he thinks his position as the frontman of JUDAS PRIEST has opened the door in positivity for some, Halford said: "That happened to me… I'll try and condense this as quickly as I can… I was away from PRIEST at the time, I was fronting a band called TWO with John 5, who's now with Rob Zombie. And [in 1998] I was doing an interview with MTV and talking about music and blah blah blah, and very off the cuff, I said, 'Speaking as a gay man in metal…', blah blah blah. Well, the guy dropped his clip, the producer, because it was big news at the time. In reflection, would I have said that while was in PRIEST?
"The thing about gay people is that until we come out of the closet, we're always protecting other people: 'I can't do this, because it's gonna hurt so-and-so,'" he continued. "We're trying to live the lives of other people, and that's the worst thing you can do. You've gotta learn to love yourself and live your own life. Then you can go out in the world and try and figure everything else out.
"So I said that thing [during the MTV interview], and I went back to the hotel, and I thought, 'Oh, what have I done? There's gonna be a fallout.' [But] I'd never seen such an outpouring of love from people in all my life — the letters, the faxes, the phone calls from everybody in the metal community: 'Rob, we just don't care. We want you to be who you are. We want you to sing those songs. We wanna come see you.' And that was a tremendously uplifting moment for me. And it was also a tremendously uplifting moment for metal. Because, for the longest time, metal was the underdog in rock and roll, metal was never getting any respect, metal was always at the back of the line. And so I thought, 'Well, isn't this great?' This just goes to show you that we in the metal community, as we call ourselves — probably because of the pushback that we felt because of the music that we love — we are the most tolerant, if you wanna say, the most open-minded, the most loving, the most accepting of all the kinds of music that we know in rock and roll. So it was a great moment."
After the release of JUDAS PRIEST's 1990 album "Painkiller", Halford wanted to do a solo record, but the rest of the group wouldn't let him. So he left the band and did it anyway, while his bandmates continued without him. PRIEST recruited vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens in 1996 and released two studio albums, 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition", before reuniting with Rob in 2003.
JUDAS PRIEST is putting the finishing touches on its long-awaited follow-up to 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" album. Helming the sessions for the new disc are the band's longtime producer Tom Allom, acclaimed British knob-twiddler Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT) and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH).