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Rob Halford of Judas Priest handcuffs himself to Andy Warhol, 1979
04.10.2018
10:30 am
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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?

Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.10.2018
10:30 am
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Rob Halford of Judas Priest challenges his hero Freddie Mercury to a motorbike race, 1980


Rob Halford and Freddie Mercury.
 

“I’ve always found it ironic that a certain aspect of gay culture has also chosen to dress this way. I’m not into that kind of thing though. I guess it’s whatever floats your boat y’know? I’m what you’d call a very vanilla kind of gay guy.”


—Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford on his fashion choices.

Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford is known for many things. Aside from being one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time, Halford’s cultivated image of head-to-toe leather and spikes is synonymous with heavy metal itself. In fact, when the band performed on Top of the Pops on January 25th, 1979, Halford’s badass bondage-style getup spread like wildfire across the world and would soon become the go-to look for headbangers. Another thing Halford is widely known for is his love of motorcycles and if you’ve seen Priest live, then perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to see Halford ride out on stage on one. Which brings me to another mythical story involving Halford and a man he refers to as his “ultimate hero,” Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury.
 

Rob Halford circa 1979/1980.
 
The year was 1980 and Queen had just released their eighth record The Game in June. Audiences went completely bananas for the album and showed a particular affinity for two songs you likely know all the words to, “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” The band would later earn a reputation for releasing unique videos for their songs, and the video for “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is no exception. In the video, Mercury is dressed up like an outlaw biker in a stage production of the 1961 film West Side Story complete with an authentic but stationary motorcycle which Mercury straddles along with his blonde video girlfriend. And Rob Halford was having none of it.

According to Halford, after he saw the video he went on BBC Radio 1 and challenged Mercury to a real “motorbike race.” I know I’m not going out on a limb saying if the event had actually transpired, it would have been one of the greatest moments in TV history. Sadly, Mercury never responded to Rob’s challenge. Here’s more from the Metal God who walks among us on that:

“I never heard back from him. Freddie is my ultimate hero. The closest I ever got to Freddie was in a gay bar in Athens on the way to Mykonos with some friends from London. We kind of glared at each other across the bar, in a kind of smiling, winking way. When we got to Mykonos, I was determined to track him down, but I couldn’t because he’d rented this huge yacht. It was festooned in pink balloons and it just kept sailing around the island.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.09.2018
10:17 am
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Metal gods Judas Priest cover Joan Baez, Fleetwood Mac, and Spooky Tooth
04.11.2017
06:58 am
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Defenders of the faith, Judas Priest.
 
If you’ve found yourself with a bad case of the heavy metal bed spins after reading the title of this post, you have my sympathy fellow headbangers. And I’m going to tell you right now that you are not alone as many Priest fans are completely unaware that the epic 1978 jam most would credit JP for, “The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown),” was originally done by Fleetwood Mac in 1970 while guitarist Peter Green was still with the band. According to folklore surrounding the song, the influential Green has said that it was the product of a drug-soaked dream involving a green dog. While the revelation that “The Green Manalishi” isn’t a Priest original might be a surprise to some, Green’s drug use, especially the psychedelic variety, was well-known. Shortly after the release of what the guitarist referred to as his “least appreciated” song, Green would succumb to the side-effects of his overuse of party favors and mental illness and bow out of Fleetwood Mac.

Interestingly, after Rob Halford returned to Judas Priest in 2004 following his departure in the early 90s, bassist Ian Hill said that when the band finally got to perform again the first song they would rip into was “The Green Manalishi.” Nice. So how did one of the heaviest bands from the NWOBHM get the idea to put their own spin on Joan Baez’s devastating, “so long love” song about her ex, Bob Dylan? Vocalist Halford recalls it happened like this:

It was 1978 and I remember we were all together and someone from the label or the management came in and said, ‘Listen to this song. The label would like you to consider covering it.’ And when we put it on, all we heard was Joan Baez singing this song with the guitar, and your knee-jerk reaction is, ‘Are you fucking crazy? We are a heavy metal band.’ But again, typical of Priest, we’re like, ‘What’s the logic behind this?’ And then after a couple of listens, we decided it was a good song. And a good song will take any kind of interpretation. It opened the door for us in radio in a lot of ways, and I think that for the first time, a metal band was able to get the kind of accessibility.

 

Dylan and Baez in happier times.
 
So what did Baez think when she heard Priest’s version of “Diamonds and Rust?” She loved it, just like I do. Now, let’s get on to JP’s cover of a Spooky Tooth song found on the final album from the Carlisle band with their original late-1960s lineup, “Better by You, Better than Me.” If you had a pulse and paid attention to the news during the mid-80s, you will likely recall that the song brought a lot of horrifically unwarranted heat on Priest after the 1985 suicide/suicide attempt of Raymond Belknap and James Vance who both shot themselves on a church playground after a six-hour long alcohol and drug infused session listening to Priest’s 1978 album Stained Class. Belknap’s death was instantaneous, however, and despite the fact that he suffered massive facial injuries, Vance would survive though he never quite recovered from the incident physically or mentally. Three short years later he was dead, too.

In court, the song became one of the primary targets of the prosecution who alleged it was a harbinger for subliminal suicidal messages that infiltrated the drug-addled minds of the two young Judas Priest fans. The story is immensely troubling and it is difficult to comprehend how “Better by You, Better than Me” could be considered the impetus for what Belknap and Vance did at the behest of imaginary hidden messages on the version recorded by Judas Priest.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.11.2017
06:58 am
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Could this be the earliest live concert footage ever shot of Judas Priest?
03.21.2017
09:05 am
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An early shot of Judas Priest before all the leather and studs.
 
The answer to that question is quite possibly, yes. The vintage footage posted below features Judas Priest in action at the Reading Festival in 1975 and was shot with a Super 8 camera.

In 1975 Priest joined the surreal lineup of Hawkwind; UFO; Lou Reed; Thin Lizzy; Soft Machine, and Yes among others at the three-day festival. The band was still sort of under the radar after the release of their 1974 debut Rocka Rolla produced by Rodger Bain, who’d also produced the first three albums by Black Sabbath. Despite Bain’s groundbreaking success with Sabbath, his heavy metal magic didn’t necessarily cast the same spell for Priest on Rocka Rolla which the band recorded live at Olympic Studios in London. During this time the group was still playing small rock clubs and were struggling quite literally just to find money for food.

According to Rob Halford, things were so bad that Gull Records (their label at the time) handed out food tickets to the formative Birmingham band to use at a local cafeteria which truly gives perspective to the hard-luck notion that rock ‘n’ roll don’t pay. Here’s a little more from Mr. Halford on those early days and his thoughts on their first album which ended up being a flop, from author Steve Gett’s 1984 biography of the band HEAVY DUTY:

It simply wasn’t Priest. We allowed ourselves to be influenced and maneuvered by people who suggested that it would probably open up more of a market for the band because we wouldn’t immediately be stigmatized as a heavy metal group. In actual fact, it probably did us more harm than good.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.21.2017
09:05 am
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Judas Priest’s racy photoshoot with a Penthouse Pet
09.07.2016
09:57 am
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Judas Priest having fun with Penthouse Pet of the Year (1977) Cheryl Rixon in an outtake from a photoshoot for Kerrang! magazine, 1982.
 
I was a hardcore fan of Kerrang! magazine back in the 80s until it ditched its heavy metal roots when bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains started stealing the spotlight from my headbanging heroes. But for what seemed like a long time Kerrang! was about as metal as a magazine got and I loved it. So when I came across these images from issue #10 of Kerrang! from February of 1982 of Judas Priest and Penthouse Pet of the Year Cheryl Rixon appearing in a naughty comedic caper titled “What Rock ‘N’ Roll Dreams are Maid Of: Room Service” that featured Rixon dressed as a French maid and the members of Priest acting exactly like what you’d expect the members of Judas Priest to be behaving back in the 80s, I had to share them with you.
 

Rob Halford and Cheryl Rixon.
 
While you might think that the goofy photos went over really well with Kerrang’s readership, you wouldn’t be entirely correct. Apparently the magazine received a number of ‘letters to the editor” complaining about the photo shoot (shot by Steve Joester)  calling it “sexist” and “trashy.” Both words—by my estimation and experience as a lifelong metalhead—that are synonymous with heavy metal in (mostly) all the right ways. Here’s a letter likely written by a mom who after looking through young Johnny’s stack of magazines hidden under his bed decided to tell the magazine off old-school style with a handwritten letter admonishing them for the photos that were corrupting her kids brain:

In one foul swoop Kerrang! has plummeted from being ‘The Times’ of heavy rock to being the ‘Daily Star’. No wonder heavy rock is damned for being sexist if the critics see this sort of trash.

If you just screamed “But trash is my LIFE!” then I’m with you. God, the fucking 80s really were weird times. And while I’m not entirely sure how Halford got his motorcycle inside a hotel I’ve always said that Rob Halford can do anything he wants, really, so I applaud him for coming to Rixon’s “rescue” before KK Downing got first dibs on the Penthouse Pet of 1979. I’m sure many of you will also enjoy the photos of Rixon and Halford (who Rixon says she loved working with back in her modeling days) as they bring you back to a time when nobody for a hot second wondered if Halford was gay (not that it matters one goddamn bit) as he posed next to Rixon clad in leather bondage gear and a whip. 
 

 

 
More mayhem after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.07.2016
09:57 am
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5 minutes of Judas Priest’s frontman Rob Halford holding that high note of his
02.10.2016
09:07 am
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What I like about this video is that’s it’s a supercut of Rob Halford’s infamous high note. It’s not just one long 5-minute high note to test your patience. I watched this all the way through and afterwards immediately grabbed a glass of water to whet my whistle because… ouch. I don’t know how he does it.

 
via WFMU on Twitter

Posted by Tara McGinley
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02.10.2016
09:07 am
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Slayer’s Tom Araya belting Motley Crue, Priest, and Dio covers in 1983
01.11.2016
08:41 am
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Watch these sick videos of Slayer’s Tom Araya performing covers of Mötley Crüe, Scorpions, Judas Priest and Dio along with his brother John Araya on guitar.  Al Messi plays Bass and Jake Alvarado is on drums. Dimitri Galeos, the uploader of these clips, plays second guitar.

One of the clips dates these performances at November of 1983, which would have been a month before Slayer’s Show No Mercy dropped. Slayer themselves had included covers of bands like Priest and Iron Maiden in their sets, playing small clubs and parties around Southern California. 

It seems a bit odd, in retrospect, to see the singer of one of the quintessential American thrash bands performing songs that would be considered more “pop metal” by today’s standards. It should be noted that in the early ‘80s metal encompassed all of metal and metalheads often tended to embrace the full spectrum, much like punks in the early ‘80s tended to embrace anything under the banner “punk rock.” Once the mid ‘80s rolled around, you begin to see more splintering in both metal and punk scenes with offshoot genres springing up and fans gravitating toward their favored pigeon-holes. These clips represent a time of purity in the scene when basically anything went... as long as it was METAL (Insert falsetto wail here).

The videos, after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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01.11.2016
08:41 am
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The time that Judas Priest looked like a hippie band back in 1975 (Rob Halford had HAIR. Lots of it)
10.21.2015
09:30 am
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Judas Priest early 1970s
Judas Priest, early 1970s
 
So I’ve been sick with the flu for the last few days which means I’ve been spending WAY too much time online buzzing through the Internets in order to entertain myself. Of the many fantastic things I came across was the following footage from 1975 of Judas Priest performing on The Old Grey Whistle Test.
 
Rob Halford performing with Judas Priest on the Old Grey Whistle Test, 1975
Rob Halford? Yup, Rob Halford!
 
Not only does the mighty Rob Halford have hair (see above), he has lots of it. It also appears that he may have raided Marc Bolan’s closet for the fancy top he’s wearing. And, as the title of this post alludes to, one of the bands that made heavy metal synonymous with leather and spikes looks like a gorgeous bunch of pot-smoking hippies.

In the following two clips, Priest performs the title track from their 1974 album Rocka Rolla, and the somewhat mellow track, “Dreamer Deceiver” (in which Halford appears to be channelling the bare-chested prowess of Robert Plant) that would later appear on the band’s 1976 record, Sad Wings of Destiny.

If you are at all a fan of Priest, you are in for a wicked treat today as the band absolutely kills it visually and sonically in both of the videos that follow. I also find the quiet, laidback delivery of OGWT host “Whispering” Bob Harris amusing—it’s almost like he’s introducing Priest at the damn library. HA!
 

Judas Priest performing “Rocka Rolla” on The Old Grey Whistle Test, 1975
 
After the jump, Judas Priest perform “Dreamer Deceiver”...

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.21.2015
09:30 am
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