HALFORD – Soul Prostitute
From the sad wings of destiny to SOUL PROSTITUTION
The Lagacy Of Halford
Fucking kudos to Judas Priest and their announcement of their final tour.
Not before time it has to be said. Not to sound disrespectful or anything but when it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
Their «Angel Of Retribution» comeback was generally received rather warmly, reflection and it’s 20/20 vision affords us a clearer picture where we can see that it was more that the songs were not as poor as they could have been rather than the songs being as good as they could have been that moved people to their praise of the album.
When all else fails
«Nostradamus» didn’t fare so well. There is the bonus that a project seen as being so mammoth will be given special dispensation under the critical microscope because folk will generally show appreciation for the sheer size of it’s undertaking, even in failure.
Truth is that the Priests simply put the cart a few blocks ahead of the horse. It is truly commendable to take your songs and dress them up in a concept of depth like this in hope of making the finished effort into a big complete fan wetting package. However, if you order a sandwhich with ‘everything on it’ you need the bread first, right? Well Priest seemed to forget that for this whole «Nostradamus» project to work they would need to begin with songs. Decent songs. Anyway……
Priest have overstayed their welcome in my opinion. They are far from alone though, none of their peers really seem to take the hints either. This considered I think Priest should get a gold star for at least laying down their studs in favour of the pipe and the slippers now.
For those in disagreement though, there is always the continuing solo career of Priest frontman Rob Halford. His latest effort «Made Of Metal» was released last year and is sure to please all who crave the musical equivalent of ‘Will and Grace’.
Priest are rightly seen as being largely responsible for the evolution of Metal as it is today and particularly for the cast iron edge that many harsher bands are about.
There is no denying that bands such as Zepplin and Sabbath are the true fathers, more or less, of our beloved genre but I think it was Priest who were largely responsible for taking the burgoning Metal sound and filtering out some of the overt Blues elements that the Zepplins and the Sabbaths had.
Halford himself is a vocalist held in incredibly high regards. His trademark five billion octave scream laid a foundation that vocalists such as Manowar’s Eric Adams among others have clearly been inspired by.
He very nearly qualified himself to have a broze statue of his very own image placed outside the gates of hell for having the balls…sorry, let’s say…the guts to stand up to a culture (that culture being the Metal culture) known for it’s conservatism in such arenas as sexuality and saying that ‘YES’ you can be just as devout a Metal maniac as the next bloke even if you do love cock.
Come on folks, the Metal scene is about as close as one can get to a sausage fest without actually killing any pigs. For a typical Metal guy to stand at, say, a Priest show and say he hates ‘fags’ is like a white boy to be in his element at a Public Enemy show and say he hates ‘niggers’.
Queue outside a Metal gig
It was well over-fucking-due and on paper Halford woulda been the i-fucking-deal candidate to make that stand.
‘Woulda been’? I imagine most would think that it were obvious that he simply ‘WAS’ the ideal man to stand upon that podium of tolerance and break down those walls of conservatism. However, I disagree. I disagree, yes I do.
The reason I disagree is becuase I truly, truly feel that this moment (when Halford ‘came out’ on MTV in 1998) was the very moment when his bald bonce had placed on it the crown worn by the King of all soul prostitutes.
Look at it like this. If we chronologically trace Halford’s career from around 1991 when his Priest days were over to his return to the metallic comforts (until he had run out of options anyway), it does not paint a pretty picture.
After the shock to the system album and comeback that was «Painkiller» people would have expected almost anything but Halford’s departure…however, he bailed.
Without much further ado Halford dusted himself off and set about ridding himself of the Priest albatross that hung heavily around his neck.
Now personally I have no issue with someone wanting to further broaden musical horizons, in fact it is something I have great respect for when it is for nothing but genuine reasons, like when someone feels a truly artistic craving and then decides it must be followed. It’s commendable.
In Halford’s case though, it is astounding how his moves post-Priest were so obvious and disgusting.
Cold and calculated but above all they were so incredibly blatant that it still makes my head spin to this very day.
Each of Halford’s three full length albums in between «Painkiller» and his «Retribution» fascade (the desperation soaked return to Metal) were, in my opinion, nothing more than sad attempts to attach his name to whatever sound/style was ‘hot’ right then. A word like integrity was quickly demoted to four letter status and possibly banished entirely in a transparent attempt to bribe a doorman and gain entrance to the C-list celebrity club.
And for a man who was hailed as a ‘Metal God’?
Rob….you aren’t Madonna.
Fight – War Of Words 1993
Fight «War of Words»
1992 saw the release of Pantera’s classic «A Vulgar Display Of Power» album and the face of hardened Metal changed completely.
People always mention Grunge and particularly Nirvana as being the nails that sealed shut the coffin of the 80’s, excess and most of all the Hair/Glam/Party Metal scene that saw bands such as Motley Crue picking up platunum albums as if they were going out of fashion.
I would also credit the emergence of Pantera as playing a none too insignificant role in this musical extinction event, ironic considering Pantera’s own beginnings but that’s how it is sometimes.
«Rob Halford is a man with his finger on the pulse» was a headline I remember from those days. This was in reference to the debut album by Fight, Halford’s then new band.
Their sound was strikingly current considering their frontman was the same guy who had been singing in Judas Priest for close to twenty years at that point, but he had left Priest at a high point so maybe he was genuinely following his heart? Doubtful.
Fight and Pantera
The 1992 revolution had seen the likes of Pantera as we mentioned. Another band who had jumped into the spotlight and who, like Pantera, had become one of the acts responsible for making chugga chugga power chords equal to big album sales were Biohazard. There were few more manly that these Noo York bruisers – this is the same band who promoted spitting on public footpaths (as could be seen the following year in their «Tales From The Hardside» video) and brought Evan Seinfeld, one of the most stupid men to ever be associated with the Metal genre, to the spotlight.
Whether it was desperation to be accepted, not realising that he was just a bit too old to be hanging with the high school kids or just the very first seeds of Soul Prostitution being laid Halford went out and pulled all the moves with Fight – thing was those moves just happened to be what was currently in fashion at that very time.
This was his first strike at showing the world he obviously had little regard for credibility.
Fight – A Small Deadly Space 1995
Fight «A Small Deadly Space»
1994 saw Pantera and Biohazard release follow up albums to their respective breakthrough discs. Both sold very well but the buzz died down as the albums were considered to be slightly disappointing given their pre-release hype.
In the meantime something happened with the Grunge scene. After the very mainstream explosions of the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana etc came a newer breed of chart smashers like Bush and Stone Temple Pilots who seemed to attract a more Metal or at least Metal tolerant audience. Given that the words Heavy and Metal when strung together were still highly unfashionable to the likes of the MTV Nazis it came to be that a Metal fan could admit to liking this stuff behind closed doors without fearing a nuclear wedgie.
Times were a’changing? Seems they were.
It was probably Alice In Chains with their dark materpiece ‘Dirt’ who showed the world that it was possible to write platinum selling Grunge with a darkness that wasn’t aimed at winning the hearts of sixteen year old girls still mourning the fact that Kurt Cobain was offed by his Mrs (possibly offed by her).
Having nothing more in common with these young girls than finding Eddie Vedder wank worthy seems to have been more than enough for old Rob because it appears to have woken the Nostradmus in him (pun alert).
Fight released their sophomore album. And what the fuck do you know? It just happens AGAIN to reflect that very sound that the Rock/Metal world is getting a serious boner for at that time.
«Has the man no shame?» Well, he doesn’t now and he clearly didn’t then.
It was beginning to get fucking embarrassing.
The Fight album sunk without trace, more or less, and Halford retired into a small deadly space where he either cried himself to sleep thinking about just how sad it was that Kurt had ruined that hair by taking a headshot…or…undeterred, he began plotting his next move.
Realising, I imagine, that he would need to be even more vulgar, blatant and shameless in his next move he stood over the corpse of his Epic Records contract and shouted «I, Rob Halford, will…I repeat…WILL be relevant even if it means going so low as to use my very own sexuality as a publicity tool».
«Hold on a fucking minute» he said and paused, looking down at his cut off Anselmo combat pants he borrowed from his nephew Brian, «That is not a bad fucking idea»
2wo – Voyeurs 1998
Halford went through another metamorphosis in the three years between Fight’s sophomore effort ¨and the release of 2wo’s debut album.
At this point it had to be completely obvious to most that it was more than mere coincidence that this made three image/sound changes over three post Judas Priest albums. No?
If anyone is doubtful just look at the bare and basic facts.
Halford around 1993
Album #1 was Aggro Metal when that sound was at it’s absolute peak.
Album #2 was more intrispective and dark and pretty much in line with all those Grunge lads who just happened to be selling gazillions of albums at that time.
Album 3# was more in the Goth/Industrial vein of Marilyn Manson when Manson and his band were on just about every lip in the western world.
Is there a pattern?
Yes Ma’am, 1996 had seen Manson ex-fucking-plode with their «Antichrist Superstar» album and grip the world in their fever. Frontman Brian Warner (his parents called him Marilyn Manson) and his face were adorning the cover of just about every Rock and music publication at that time to the point where….well, it’s safe to say that the Industrial/Goth crossover thing was very much in.
Halford around 1998
I still find it mind boggling that a man who had seen his previous band (not Fight) evolve and grow into a musical entity that more or less redefined one corner of the music world was so desperate to fit in when he had achieved so much and had already attained near legendary status for the right reasons.
Halford was already more than financially secure through Judas Priest so I find it very unlikely that a working class Brummie would give away so much for a few quid more.
That leaves only a dreadfui, desperate need for acceptance with the ‘now crowd’ and all other factors cosmetic that sadly follow as collatoral damage in the music world. Those very same factors that really do mock the very existance of art in music
Weren’t these actions, no matter how conscious or not, showing all who would see that he obviously had no real concern for that art of music. The very soul that surely drives it and our desire to make it?
"Where are all my ideas? I know I left them here somewhere"
Another very, very important point is the glamourous side of the coin that became more than acceptable in this Industrial/Goth circle and beyond. Guys wearing make up suddenly would not have to cross the road into hiding when their paths were to cross with Heavy Metal folk.
Girating, hip shaking and other such activities, once frowned upon severely and carrying a ‘guilty until proven otherwise’ condemnation had been almost legalised such was Manson’s use of them to steal the breath of the religious right and others who believed fully in the concept of the nuclear family, apple pies and picket fences that could be no other colour than pure white.
More than anything was the once unthinkable was becoming fact. It seemed that to be one who worshipped the holy trinity of Marshall, Distortion and Double Bass Drumming accepting homosexuality was actually fine. Moreso, it seemed that loving that holy trinity and actually being gay was fine too.
These changes in attitude were seismic, they made Karkatoa and her foundation shaking explosion seem trivial by comparison. Could this really be?
Let’s not forget either the then much publicised incident when Nine Inch Nails still held the throne Marilyn Manson would soon conquer. During a live show Manson (still a relative unknown to Dr. Phil and peers) lept onstage, approached a member of NIN mid concert and simulated oral sex.
There were people who swore blind that they witnessed Manson get a mouthful of prison hot dog whilst others were more dismissive.
Point is that both the feller from Rezner’s band (aka NIN) and Brian Warner/Marilyn Manson were, and indeed are still, blokes. This was, implied or executed, a gay act. It was also accepted.
It didn’t cause Jim Bob in Kentuckey to break away from explaining to his eight kids why he and Ma’ had the same surname and the eight kids only ever had one set of grandparents to condemn Manson etc as «God damned homosapians».
It was accepted.
That it was an obvious publicity stunt by Warner matters not in the context of this rant, what matters is that he was first.
Times were a’changing folks. Rob Halford and his ever keen eye were realising fast that…well, there are two obvious scenarios by my thinking here as to how Halford processed these changes.
The first is one that I find less likely.
In this scenario Halford, weighed down by years of hiding in that old closet saw the light at the end of the tunnel. He saw the Mardigras parade approach, stop outside his door and shout a collective «Come on Rob, the football team said they’d pull out unless you join in this year». He saw his shoulders, released of this weight finally, rise higher than they had ever risen. Finally, Halford thought, I can be me.
The second scenario is one that I find far, far more likely. So much so that I am willing to uncharacteristically proclaim this to be turth.
Upon seeing the acceptance of homosexual men in the Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Metal world Halford reached into his pocket and pulled out his magic ‘Coolness Calculator’.
Data regarding the freshly opened minds of the new Manson led brigades, their influence on the old guard and the general overall loosening of the Gay Laws in Metal was entered.
Halford then entered his own orientation as being homosexual.
Sal, as the coolness computer is known…sister of Hal from «A Space Odyssey», had a couple of variables to consider before giving an answer.
1. Was it common knowledge to the world that Halford was gay?
He replied that it was not. Sal returned an answer – that this fact was unkown gave his situation far more media value than if his orientation were previously know
2. Was he prepared to adopt an appearance that would make it seem that Marilyn Manson was in fact his Mother and dressed him every day before schol? This would mean suddenly wearing eye liner, feather boas (including pink) and basically making it extremely obvious that he was disposing any traces of integrity in order to fit in with what was hot at the moment?
Halford laughed and asked «Haven’t you seen what I have been doing since I left Priest?» He chose ‘Yes’.
3. Would he be prepared to use his coming out, use his sexuality, use his lifelong secret as a marketing tool for his new kid friendly band?
‘Yes’ answered Halford without even a millisecond’s thought.
4. Was he aware that this was Soul Prostitution, considered by some to be a crime unforgivable?
Halford paused. Was this the one straw he was not able to commit to the camels back?
«Duh…..are you fucking nuts….Of Fucking Course. I couldn’t give a fuck. As long as I can get into a Manson or a NIN show without needing a ticket like all those losers on the independant labels or queueing like all those loser kids I desperately hope will now accept me and buy my albums.
And so it was done.
Shortly after this, with the stars having alligned to give Halford’s 2wo band a deal with the ultra hip Nothing Records helmed by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and give him a band featuring an array of young men who were most definitely worthy of place in The Spooky Kids generation, it was announced that Halford was to reappear yet again for the public.
Details of band and album followed, no doubt met by many raied eyes brows.
Then Halford dropped the bomb.
His own Hiroshima came during an interview on MTV, itself the mecca of the all things shallow but also the one place where careers were truly made or broken. It was here that Halford mentioned those words «Speaking as a gay man…..» and so it was that the first of endless five dollar bills was passed to the pimp they called ‘Acceptance’ and Halford’s poor soul bent down to it’s knees to take it first of many a penis into it’s mouth and begin life as a working girl…..or boy….or soul.
According to Halford himself, it came out accidentally during the interview.
Let’s repeat that.
According to Halford himself, it came out accidentally during the interview.
OK. So, in all those years pervious, in all those countless interviews, in all those thousands upon thousands of situations where it could have just slipped out……it didn’t?
OK. So now as he was putting out an album in a scene that was new to him but had taken commercial America by storm. One that outwardly flaunted cross dressing, androgeny. One that held open arms out to homosexuality, implied or actual…..is when it just happen to ‘accidentally slip out’??
I suggest that this is one of the most disgusting acts of, as you may have noticed, what I like to call soul prostitution ever commited.
I am naturally referring to the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal scenes and their relevant offshoots. It rendered every single musical effort Halford took part in before and after as being competely worthless in my opinion, such is the bare faced and shameless soul fucking prostitution Rob ‘Metal God/Chugga Chugga God/Grunge God/Goth God/Industrial God’ Halford displayed.
From mimicking Pantera, to mimicking whatever worked in the grunge scene to this, the ultimate insult to his legion of fans. Halford disgusts in showing that he will go to any lengths to be lauded. To be ‘in’.
Music, not matter which way you look at it, is a form of art.
Art not commerce.
Just because you play in a band does not make you an artist exactly such is the entertaining level of rubbish out there but that does not change the fact that music itself is an artform.
Commercial success and it’s benefits are not artforms although success in a particular artform can bring about the bonus of enjoying those benefits.
This is all pretty standard stuff, right? We should all know this from before.
So when someone uses an artform, in Halford’s case it’s music, not for artistic expression but as a vehicle for monetary success or for accetance amongst others who abuse an artform just to enjoy those same benefits then I believe that renders that person and any, so called, artistic endeavous of theirs completely irrelevant.
Not surprising is that Halford seemed to fall victim of the three strike rule (three vanity attempts post Judas Priest). He was out.
Less surprising again is that he returned to ‘Metal’ soon after.
Bruce Dickinson had success with «Accident Of Birth» and «The Chemical Wedding» in 1997 and 1998. Both albums were very much Heavy Metal and had Roy Z. onboard as song writer/producer. Realising that he had, pretty much, no options left Halford again put someone elses idea to work for himself releasing a so called comeback album called «Retribution» in 2000.
With Maiden reunited, pulling in massive crowds so Metal began to enter public consiousness again, Halford embraced his part with all he was worth and again threw himself into an artform he surely has no love for.
Merry Christmas me arse? Ohhhh Rob
The Priest reunion followed soon after of course. Halford continued to disgrace himself and his past by making like 1993 – 1998 never happened……he even released a fucking Christmas album…no bullshit.
At this point nothing can be shocking though.
It is very, very pleasing however to know that true legends such as KK Downing and Glen Tipton will soon be where they truly deserve to be – far, far away from Rob Halford lest he would steal their souls from right over their flying V’s.
As usual, the bad guys win. Halford recently hooked up with Ozzy Osbourne for some touring, if ever there were two more like minded souls?
Ozzy’s only defence is that it was his Mrs. who did all the soul selling, his biggest crime was merely being too stupid to prevent it. Regardless, let’s hope they all live happily ever after together.
Dumb and Dumber
Dedicated to SS Turnip and his atlas testicle