Judas Priest: Little-Known and Crazy Stories About a '70s Heavy Metal Band

And while they've never been the wildest band in their genre, their careers remember some outrageous and even insane incidents...

What you might not know about your idols: we recall the little-known and rather curious facts about Judas Priest

Judas Priest, perhaps the most important band in heavy metal history (after their peers Black Sabbath, of course)! In the end 70swhen Sabbath and other bands brawled and complained about being called heavy metal bands, Judas Priest embraced the term and urged other bands to be proud to be part of a musical subculture shunned by the mainstream… Yes, these guys introduced the world to the world's first great multi-octave metal vocalist Rob Halford, which instantly inspired everyone, from Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden to David Draiman of Disturbed! And although they have never been the wildest group in their genre, their career remembers some outrageous and even insane incidents ... We will actually remember them today!

Rob Halford once fired a real machine gun on stage

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

Judas Priest's first commercial breakthrough was their album British Steel 1980 of the year that included hits "Breaking The Law", "Living After Midnight" and "Metal Gods".

But few people know that during the tour for British Steel, the vocalist Rob Halford pulled a real machine gun filled with blank cartridges onto the stage, and during the performance "Genocide" fired at the crowd with it! The fans went berserk, and in the end, the firemen put a stop to this wild incident…

“Some people looked confused! I could swear they thought, “God, this isn’t a machine gun… Is it plastic? No, it's real! What's the matter?" I pointed the machine gun right at them and started shooting! No one knew what was going on beforehand, so this look from the crowd was a combination of pure horror and “Oh my God, this is so cool!” — later recalled vocalist Judas Priest.

"First aid"

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

It's not a topic they like to talk about these days, but Judas Priest partyed hard throughout the decade 80s! And because Halford he didn't attract female fans, he entertained himself in other ways... Sometimes he wielded fire extinguishers in hotels, but this is only the most innocuous of his list of crazy entertainment - as well as the entertainment of the group as a whole.

The group's wildest drug experience came during a trip to the island. Ibiza in Spain to write to Ibiza Sound Studios… According to Halford, at that time bassist Ian Hill destroyed about 20 rented cars! But even this is not scary ... The most chaotic incident occurred when the guitarist Kenneth Downing was hit by a taxi, after which another guitarist of the group - Glenn Tipton - tried to give first aid to a friend ...

“It was terrible,” says Halford. “Glenn was under something because he dipped his hands into boiling water, trying to clean the wounds ... As a result, he burned his hands, and Kenneth was wrapped in a thousand bandages, as he looked like an Egyptian mummy. He couldn't walk for a week...


Judas Priest
Judas Priest

In December 1985 years, two young men from Nevada - Raymond Belknap, 18, and James Vance, 20 - spent six hours drinking, enjoying illegal substances and listening to the album 1978 Priest Stained Class. When they finished, they made a pact: the guys agreed to commit suicide together... Each took a gun and went to the local playground, put the weapon under his chin and pulled the trigger... Belknap died instantly. As for Vance, somehow the bullet bounced off his skull and flew out without killing him. The guy became disabled and died three years later ... Before his death, he and his parents sued Judas Priest and CBS Records, demanding compensation for moral and physical damage in the amount of 6.2 million dollars! They insisted that the band had hidden the back messages in their cover version. Spooky Tooth "Better By You, Better Than Me", and that it was these messages that forced Raymond and James to commit suicide!

Family lawsuit James Vance, was taken to court in July 1990 of the year. Knowing well that lyrics are protected by the First Amendment, the prosecution argued that backmasking is not a "speech" or "expression" and is therefore not protected by the Constitution. According to them, the responsibility for the death of the guys is Judas Priest and CBS Records. The entire group was subpoenaed and the prosecution repeatedly played the song back and forth to reveal subliminal messages.

"The irony was that these two boys loved Judas Priest," Halford remarked. "For the first two days, we said, 'Oh, we know what it's about...' It's about cashing in quickly on such a tragedy!"

Rob Halford
Rob Halford

After a protracted trial that used expert testimony from audio analysts and subliminal message specialists, the judge decided the evidence was inconclusive and dismissed the case.

Halford enters rehab

Rob Halford
Rob Halford

Even before the traumatic incident in Nevada and the lengthy lawsuit Halford suffered from his severe addictions… Partly he was disappointed that the world of heavy metal had not yet accepted the love of men for each other, and he had to remain “locked up” from society…

“There were nights when I used so much that I literally thought I was on the verge of…,” he once said.

But one day the moment came when Halford realized that he had reached the bottom ... He had a stormy relationship with a guy, filled with alcohol and not only ... As a rule, their evenings did not end with just a dream: they ended with real fisticuffs. In the midst of a particularly violent skirmish Halford ran out of the house and hailed a taxi to drive away. When he got into the car, his boyfriend went outside and approached the car with a gun in his hand. He told Rob that he loved him...

“A few moments later, he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger…,” Halford said.

After this terrible incident, the vocalist Judas Priest went to a rehabilitation center. He was perfectly clean and sober. 1986 of the year.

Before leaving the group, Halford crashed his motorcycle during the show.

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

In August. 1991 the group performed at CNE Grandstand in Toronto. Their vocalist Rob Halfordgot on a motorcycle Harley Davidsonto ride out onto the stage while smoke and dry ice swirled around him... Usually a metal ladder would go up and Rob would jump under the stage. But this time, the stairs remained down... Not realizing that his bandmates were falling behind him, Halford started the motorcycle and raced towards the stairs. He understood everything, but it was too late ... He crashed into a half-raised ladder and flew out of the saddle, losing consciousness ...

"We started 'Hell Bent for Leather' but there were no vocals..." Kenneth Downing recalled. “We didn’t know where Rob was and we played the whole song without vocals, but he came and managed to play the rest of the show… After that he went to the hospital and I saw him for the last time in a long time…”

Soon after that Halford left Judas Priest. He wanted to take a break, but the rest of the band wanted to get back in the studio much sooner than their vocalist (according to Ian Hill, Halford wanted to take a break for three years!)


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