Eric Spitznagel of MTV Hive recently conducted an interview with vocalist Rob Halford of British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
MTV Hive: During the '80s and '90s, metal bands like PRIEST, METALLICA and OZZY were blamed for provoking teenagers with low self esteem to do bad things. In hindsight, does it make sense why metal as a genre was so frequently a scapegoat?
Halford: I approach this topic with a tinge of sadness, because unfortunately those incidents have always come out of this wonderful country, the United States. A country that has been so wonderful to JUDAS PRIEST and many other metal acts from different parts of the world.
MTV Hive: Blaming metal for stupid behavior is unique to the States? I didn't know that.
Halford: Circumstances like those have never happened in Europe, never in South America, never in the Far East. When metal has been blamed for violence, it's only happened in the States. I don't mean to sound bitter about that. It's just a reality, and it makes me really sad.
MTV Hive: It's been awhile since metal was considered a public menace. Has the music changed, or is it just less threatening to mainstream America now?
Halford: Metal hasn't changed. Metal is still the same. It hasn't changed at all, or at least the essence of it hasn't changed. But I do think the culture has changed. If you're on the outside and don't got a clue about metal, then I don't see how you can have an opinion until you've discussed it and investigated it. And those types of attacks generally came from people who were in the dark. It's a natural human instinct to put up a wall when you're afraid of something. You immediately go into protection mode. You don't let things come in.
Read the entire interview from MTV Hive.