JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford says that he kicked a cell phone out of a fan's hand during the band's May 25 concert in Rosemont, Illinois because the fan was "physically interfering" with his performance.
The incident happened six songs into PRIEST's set at at the Rosemont Theatre where the group was playing as part of its North American tour with URIAH HEEP. According to eyewitness accounts, Halford's frustration appeared to stem from the fact that the fan had the flash on his phone on while filming the show, making it harder for the singer to focus on the performance. As a result, Halford decided to take matters into his own hands and kicked the cell phone away while the band was playing the song "Judas Rising".
After fan-filmed video of the incident went viral on social media earlier today, Halford released a statement to Loudwire in which he said: "The facts are we love our fans and you can film us all you like and watch our show on your phone rather than in the flesh. However, if you physically interfere with The Metal God's performance, you now know what will happen."
A number of other artists have reacted to the presence of phones at concerts in recent years, including SLIPKNOT's Corey Taylor, who smacked a cell phone out of a distracted fan's hands, and IRON MAIDEN's Bruce Dickinson, who lambasted a fan for texting during a show, calling him a "wanker."
Last year, GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna spoke out against cell-phone use at concerts, saying that there's "something really magical that happens when" you are not experiencing live performances through a "little four-inch screen."
Former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach in 2015 urged fans to keep their cell phones at the bottom of their pockets and just watch his performances. "Be in the moment," he said. "You're distracted and it's distracting to the performer as well. Like, put your fuckin' cell phone away, dammit! You're never even going to watch that footage."