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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: Rob Halford of Judas Priest fronts Black Sabbath in 1992


Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford onstage with Black Sabbath (guitarist Tony Iommi is pictured to the left), November 15th, 1992.
 
So here’s the backstory as to how Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford ended up fronting Black Sabbath in 1992—and man is it a doozy, mostly due to the fact that this very metal moment also involves two other pivotal members of Sabbath—original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and Ozz’s replacement, the great Ronnie James Dio. So get out your devil horns and turn them up because here we go...

Ozzy had been riding high for a dozen years thanks to a successful solo career after getting kicked out of Sabbath for being a coke and booze-fueled mess in 1979. Then, rather suddenly in 1992, Ozz announced his retirement from touring. Osbourne said his decision to retire from the road was two-part; one was his recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis—which turned out to later be in error. The second reason Ozzy cited is that he wanted to spend more time with his family—which turned out to be a fib as he would quickly announce after the tour he was already bored with being a homebody and jumped back into the limelight. The “No More Tours” tour concluded with two dates at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California on November 14th and 15th. Per Ozzy’s special request, the opening band would be none other than Black fucking Sabbath led at the time by Ronnie James Dio. But it didn’t go down that way. And that’s because Dio didn’t like the idea of Sabbath seeing their old mate because it might lead to a full-fledged reunion. Here’s more from RJD on his refusal to play the show which ultimately led to his decision to break up with Black Sabbath:

“No, sorry. I have more pride than that. A lot of bad things were being said from camp to camp, and it created this horrible schism. So, by them agreeing to play the shows in LA with Ozzy, that, to me, spelled out ‘reunion with Ozzy.’ And that obviously meant the end of our particular project.”

And with that, Dio closed the iron door on Sabbath leaving them without a vocalist for the gigs, so they turned to metal god Rob Halford to save them. Halford had just called it quits with Judas Priest in May blaming his exit on the band’s long-time record label Columbia and their lack of support for his desire to pursue solo work. As Dio’s departure was unexpected and quick, Halford had very little time to learn Sabbath classics such as “Mob Rules,” “Into the Void,” “Neon Knights,” and “Sweet Leaf,” but he did. The first show was all Halford ripping through a ten-song-set including a two-song encore featuring 1972’s “Supernaut.” For the tour finale the next night the crowd got what they were all wishing for—a reunion of Sabbath with all but one of the original members of the band. During the second encore, Ozzy joined Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and drummer Vinny Appice on stage performing four songs together; “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Black Sabbath,” “Iron Man,” and “Paranoid.” The mini-gig didn’t turn into a full-on reunion as Dio had suspected until 1997 when Ozzy, Iommi, and Butler (along with Faith No More timekeeper Mike Bordin on drums who replaced Bill Ward due to health problems) headlined Ozzfest along with Ozzy’s touring band. Halford would once again sit in on vocals for Sabbath on August 26th, 2004 when Ozzy got bronchitis and wasn’t able to perform—something that Halford considered a birthday gift of sorts as the day prior he had just celebrated his 53rd year around the sun. Awww.

I’ve posted eighteen minutes of footage of Halford killing it with Sabbath on November 15th, 1992 as well as a few photos from the blessed event after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.13.2017
11:48 am
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‘Henry & Glenn Forever’ is now a coloring book so all is finally right with the world
05.24.2017
09:48 am
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Tom Neely’s indie comic Henry & Glenn Forever has an amazing premise that made it an instant classic: the very very well known punk/metal singers Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig are a couple in a long term romantic relationship, living together in a house next door to Daryl Hall and John Oates, who are perennially robe-clad members of a Satanist cult. Rollins was as tickled by the premise as one would expect, characterizing it as one of his favorite uses of satire. Also predictably, Danzig was not amused, and he expressed as much to a Decibel writer for an article which, alas, is no longer online, forcing me to link here to God damned Uproxx.

That premise has yielded much fruit—the original 6x6” book in 2010, four serialized comic books published between 2012-13, and a 2014 trade paperback that collects the comics with a generous amount of additional material, and which coincided with an exhibit at L.A.‘s La Luz de Jesus gallery. This year, the series’ publisher, Microcosm (we’ve told you about them before) is puling out all the stops on the conceit, releasing Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever: The Completely Ridiculous Edition, which includes under its wonderful Tom of Finland parody cover all of the foregoing, plus even more previously unpublished material, and a foreword by ROB FUCKING HALFORD OF JUDAS FUCKING PRIEST.

Also on the horizon is the wonderful Henry & Glenn Adult Activity and Coloring Book. Like it says on the cover, the book features 132 pages of coloring fun by an assortment of artists, plus other activities including mazes that look like intestines, paper dolls—“Marriage Equality Glenn” is a winner—and a word search. You don’t even have to be familiar with the comics to find this all utterly hilarious. Though the book doesn’t come out until November, Microcosm let us pick through it to share several of our favorite pages with you. All art is by Tom Neely unless otherwise specified. Clicking an image spawns an enlargement.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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05.24.2017
09:48 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…

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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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