“Confess” is the right word: this Metal God’s life certainly warrants an autobiography. Halford recalls the gradual climb of Judas Priest – and his struggle to remain in the closet.
If the vocalist’s homosexuality became known, he felt it would destroy the band’s career. Halford writes harrowingly about his pain, failed relationships, and burying his feelings in alcohol and drugs. He finally got sober, came out, and found love. A legal misunderstanding led to his “official” Priest exit, and he was ecstatic to return 11 years later.
Halford takes heavy metal seriously, and discusses classic albums like British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance, Painkiller, and various solo projects in some detail; he even played guitar and bass passably while songwriting for his first Fight album in ’93. The best story is how Glenn Tipton’s wild whammy bar work at the end of “Screaming for Vengeance” was the result of trying to avoid being bitten – by a mosquito!
Later, tensions between Tipton and fellow guitarist K.K. Downing boiled over before the latter quit. Halford explains how Downing’s replacement, Richie Faulkner, re-energized the band and how Tipton’s creeping Parkinson’s Disease led to Firepower co-producer Andy Sneap replacing him on guitar for live shows.
Confess is a powerful, often shocking read.
This article originally appeared in VG March 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.