JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke to Mark Strigl of SiriusXM's Ozzy's Boneyard about his just-released book, "Biblical: Rob Halford's Heavy Metal Scriptures". In the follow-up to his 2020 autobiography "Confess", Halford runs his lively eye over all facets of the hard rock history and the heavy metal world via bite-sized reflections, opinions, and memories in scores and scores of areas, all linked by a biblical theme.
Speaking about how the idea for "Biblical" came about, Rob said: "I had so much with 'Confess', and [co-writer] Ian Gittins, who's my guy, I just sit and talk, and he does all the hard work putting it all together in the manuscript sense. So we finished 'Confess', and much like everything that we do in the creative sense, I already had like a little idea for this next book to make. And I said, 'Ian, can we be blasphemous?' He said, 'Yes, be blasphemous.' I said, 'Can we take the Bible [laughs], can we take the beautiful Bible and take sections of the Bible, like Revelations and Temptations and this and that and the other, and utilize it in a way to take everyone through a story of my life in music but from a different angle, not the autobiographical sense?' Let's talk about what you've gotta do to make things happen, to make the connections, to get the record deal, to get the managers, to get the accountants, to get the lawyers, all that stuff. He did a marvelous job, amongst all of the many anecdotes that we put together for 'Biblical', to make what I think is a really cool, funny, interesting book full of the inside stories which you may be interested in learning about how the machine works, how the rock and roll machine works."
Several months ago, Halford publicly revealed that he battled prostate cancer during the pandemic. He previously mentioned his cancer battle in the new chapter added to the updated paperback edition of "Confess". In "Confess", Halford revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer after experiencing symptoms for at least a couple of years.
In July 2020, Rob underwent prostatectomy, an operation where the entire prostate gland is removed plus some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles. After more cancer was found last year, he went through radiation treatments in April and May 2021 and eventually got then all-clear in June 2021. He also had an appendectomy after a tumor was discovered on his appendix.
"Confess" arrived in September 2020 via Hachette Books. Co-written with Gittins, the book offered readers a compelling, heartfelt and honest look at the struggles Rob has faced with addiction and his sexuality as well as exploring his music and his many brushes with controversy.
Earlier this year, Halford told the Phoenix, Arizona radio station KSLX-FM 100.7 about "Confess": "I was approached in my 30s. 'Rob, do you want to do a book?' I'm, like, 'No, dude. I've got more of a life to live.' And then there's a little bell [that] goes, 'Ping! It's time to do it.' So we put that together while the pandemic was going on.
"Thank you to everybody that took time to get into the book," he continued. "It was a real journey of self-discovery. 'Cause Ian Gittins, who is my guy — Ian did the Nikki Sixx 'Heroin Diaries' and a multitude of other great books. He was the master of taking it through the various parts of my life. And we got it done at long last."
Halford went on to praise Gittins further, saying: "He's great. He's a researcher. He pulls his stuff from all these different resources. Once you put a light on in my head, the lips start flapping… So, I'm relieved that, through my sobriety, I thought I had lost so much of this stuff in those murky years, but he was able to get me through that time, which we included in the book. So, yeah, we didn't miss anything; we didn't cut any corners. The difficulty came when we sent all these hundreds of thousands of words to the publisher, and then the editing team goes in. I'm, like, 'You cannot take that out. It's gotta stay in.' We had quite a bit of material left over — for the right reasons. That's why editors edit. So we're utilizing that in another project that we'll be talking about later on this year," he added, apparently referring to "Biblical: Rob Halford's Heavy Metal Scriptures".
In "Confess", Halford discusses in detail what it was like becoming the first metal icon to announce he is gay in 1998 during an MTV interview, despite knowing about his sexuality since he was 10. Although his bandmates and their management knew he was gay and were accepting, he was advised to be discreet given the macho hetero nature of the metal world. He also opens up about surviving sexual abuse, as well as his struggles with depression, substance abuse, sobriety, and the suicide of one of his former partners. He also talks about how his own suicide attempt in 1986 led him to the rehab program that saved his life.
Two years ago, Halford told Sonic Perspectives about the Confess" book title: "I would like to feel there are parts of this book which are relatable to others. Everybody is the same, as we all share similar life experiences. There are so many things that happen to us; we are almost identical no matter where we are from. I've traveled the world and seen how our music can touch people from all walks of life and professions. Confessing these stories or episodes is important, and it gives the reader a look-see into this guy that you only see from one point of view."
Halford is not the first member of PRIEST's classic lineup to release a book. Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing released his autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", in September 2018 via Da Capo Press.
In 2009, original JUDAS PRIEST singer Al Atkins released his autobiography, titled "Dawn Of The Metal Gods: My Life In Judas Priest And Heavy Metal". JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill penned the foreword to the book, which was written with Neil Daniels — a freelance rock writer and heavy metal fan who befriended Atkins during the writing of Neil's book "The Story Of Judas Priest: Defenders Of The Faith" (Omnibus Press).