Via a new interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, while discussing the band’s history and his brand new book, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford speaks to the impact that the glam rock movement had on him.
Specifically, Halford speaks to what it was like to watch all these glam rock and metal acts perform while he was a closeted gay man. He speaks to watching men dress up as women – and people admiring those bands – and how he wrestled with the fear of coming out at the time. Speaking to the impact that the glam rock movement had on him, here is what Rob Halford had to say:
“When you think about the glam rock movement, what it was, specifically, two bands that really pushed that for me were Motley Crue and Poison — and, to some effect, Cinderella, maybe some Winger, L.A. Guns. There was a lot of stuff coming through at that moment in the glam rock era. And definitely Sebastian [Bach], you know, when guys looked like girls… And that worked.
“And I could never quite figure that out, because of the homophobic stuff that was going on in the ’80s. And there’s all these guys with makeup on, looking … I have to watch my words here, but you know what I’m saying? Looking in a specific way, that everybody else is like, ‘Yeah, man, they’re really hardcore,’ and all that kind of stuff.
“And then me as a closeted gay man, it’s like, ‘Am I missing something here? How am I not able to come out for fear of losing my career and my band, but these guys are going out there looking like they do, and everybody’s falling over them?’
“Not everybody, but, you know, just the general perception of the imagery was just, everybody has to look that way. Everybody has to dress that way. It [was] a remarkable time in heavy metal and rock to think about in a broader sense.”
It’s so sad that there have been (and even some to this day) people afraid to come out in fear of how others may react. The world is a much more beautiful and happy place when we are able to express ourselves and fully be who we are. We are glad that Rob eventually felt comfortable to come out, and while there is still a lot of work to be done, we are thankful for how much more diverse and inclusive the metal world has become over the years.