ROB HALFORD Says JUDAS PRIEST Song 'Raw Deal' Was 'Like A Coming-Out Experience' For Him
December 2, 2019
In a recent interview with Nikki Preston of 96.7 KCAL Rocks!, JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford spoke about his involvement with the LGBTQ community. Halford came out as a homosexual during an MTV interview in 1998 and has long since been an outspoken advocate for gay rights. The legendary singer recently expressed his frustration with the state of the LGBTQ equality battle, especially in America, where he feels "there's still a long way to go."
"I urge people, LGBTQ, any of us that are still trying to find that moment to break down the door and step forward and say, 'This is who I am' and 'I'm proud of who I am. I'm not going to be intimidated. I'm not going to live in fear. I'm not going to put everybody else before me,'" he said (see video below). "It's an unusual thing because I think that one of the most beautiful things you can do in life is to share your life and give as much as you possibly can. You can't really do that if you're kind of locking yourself away in this thing we call the closet. If you have the chance, please step forward because two things happen: First of all, you become extremely powerful because you're in control; not that I think you can be in control in life, but you know what I mean. You claim your life for you and not for other people. This is my life and I'm going to live my life on my terms. I'm not going to stop being this way or dress this way or talk this way for you. I'm going to be me. That's incredibly self-empowering and takes a lot of strength. And then you don't have to lie anymore. You don't have to hide. You take away the innuendo, the whispering. It's all gone. It floats away. I tell you, it's the best thing you can do for yourself and you. You live a much better life after you've stepped forward and proclaimed who you are."
Halford was then asked whether the subject matter of his lyrics has changed after he came out. In spite of his very public persona, the singer has largely stayed away from lyrical topics that addressed his sexuality within JUDAS PRIEST.
"I don't think it really went into that side of me, no," he said. "Firstly, because I'm known for being the lead singer of JUDAS PRIEST. That's my thing; that's who I have always wanted to be and only want to be. I have the great joy of stepping away and doing these other projects, but I've never really utilized that side of me in the lyrics because I try and speak for the band in terms of the messages that we send out. What I mean by that is everybody looks at these lyrics before we put them out. Everybody agrees on the content of what we're doing represents the band. I've never really pushed that apart from one song."
He continued: "There's a song off the  'Sin After Sin' album called 'Raw Deal'. When I wrote the lyrics to that song, I'm sure there wasn't an agenda on my part; it just felt like a very natural thing to do. But this is like the third album PRIEST ever made. It talks about Fire Island, which is the big gay hangout in New York. And I talk about these guys in the bar and everything and when I presented these lyrics, my feeling was, 'Oh, this is just too much.' But the guys were, like, 'This is great. The words fit with the mood and the atmosphere with the song.' But you listen to that song, it really is almost like a coming-out experience for me. And it never really registered. [Laughs] It's only been in recent years that people have picked up on that song. That's the one. But what I will say has been very, very strong through all the PRIEST years in terms of the message is this idea of good overcoming evil. It's kind of a common theme in metal, that you take on adversity and you turn it around and you triumph. I think that is what's so special about ourselves as metal maniacs, as metalheads."
Halford recently released his second holiday album, "Celestial". The disc sees the "metal god" joined by a supporting cast of those very close to him — his brother (Nigel) on drums, his nephew on bass (Alex, son of PRIEST bassist Ian Hill),his sister (Sue) on bells, and twin guitar tandem of Robert Jones and Jon Blakey.
This past October, it was announced that JUDAS PRIEST is among the nominees for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's class of 2020. The top vote-getters will be announced in January and inducted May 2, 2020, at a ceremony at Cleveland's Public Hall. This is PRIEST's second nomination, having previously been up for induction in 2018.
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