One of the greatest photos ever taken (in my estimation anyway) shows Judas Priest hanging out with Andy Warhol in the band’s dressing room in 1979.
After playing a gig in 1979 at the Palladium in New York, Judas Priest would meet Andy Warhol after a second late-night show at the Mudd Club. According to Halford’s recollection of the evening now nearly 40 years ago, Warhol came backstage after the band had finished their set. Halford engaged the artist in conversation, or so he thought noting that it seemed that Warhol was fond of responding to his queries with only two words; “Oh?” and “Really?” This prompted Halford to have a little fun with Andy by removing his famous handcuffs from his belt and clasping one of them onto Warhol’s wrist and the other to his. Then Harford broke the “bad news” to Andy that he didn’t know where the keys for his handcuffs were to which Warhol coyly replied, “Oh really?”
If the words about this story had not come from the lips of Halford himself, I would have thought it was a heavy metal fever dream I conjured up after listening to British Steel all night in reverse. Halford told the story during his “Town Hall” interview on SiriusXM Radio with David Fricke of Rolling Stone recently, and after watching it I found a newspaper article with a short interview with Halford telling the story in a bit more detail:
I got Andy Warhol handcuffed to me in the dressing room. He was there as we were playing, he was taking pictures. Andy came backstage and I was messing around with chains and handcuffs and I go “I’m going to put these handcuffs on you, Andy.” And he goes, “Oh really?” And all about Andy would say was “Oh really?” about anything. And I put them on and we are both handcuffed together. And I thought, “This is really cool. I’m handcuffed to Andy Warhol. Somebody, please take a photo.” And the label photographer took a couple of photos. And then I said, “I’ve got bad news, Andy. I’ve lost the key.” Those were in my drinking days as well, so I said: “Looks like we are handcuffed together for the night!”
Halford would finally fess up to Andy that he had the keys for the cuffs and uncuffed Warhol before the pair took off for a night of partying at Studio 54. According to Halford, he never saw Andy again. If Rob Halford wasn’t already one of my heroes, this bit of mythology would change all that. It’s a good thing I have a long tradition of choosing my idols wisely. Photos of Andy and Rob looking like an alternate universe version of the Odd Couple follow.
A newspaper photo of Rob Halford handcuffing himself to Andy Warhol while guitarist Glenn Tipton looks on.
Rob Halford and Andy Warhol in the dressing room of the Mudd Club.
Another action shot of Halford and Warhol handcuffed together in the dressing room of the Mudd Club in 1979.
A short clip from David Fricke’s SiriusXM “Town Hall” interview with Judas Priest.
HT: SiriusXM Radio
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Metal Gods: Rob Halford of Judas Priest fronts Black Sabbath in 1992
Rob Halford of Judas Priest challenges his hero Freddie Mercury to a motorbike race, 1980
The time that Judas Priest looked like a hippie band back in 1975 (Rob Halford had HAIR. Lots of it)
Judas Priest’s racy photoshoot with a Penthouse Pet
Could this be the earliest live concert footage ever shot of Judas Priest?