Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford has paid thanks to police officers who didn’t go to the press after they arrested him cruising in public toilets in Venice Beach, California.
NME sat down with the gay heavy metaller to discuss his explosive new autobiography Confess.
The book explores the rock legend’s struggles with his sexuality, sobriety and his thrilling five decades in the music industry.
When asked about an arrest for cruising in Venice Beach toilets, which was mentioned in the book, he said: “The police did me a favour by keeping it out of the press because it would have been big news.
“I always refer to that, slightly tongue in cheek, as my George Michael moment.
“I was lucky because the sad thing is it makes people who don’t understand the gay community just go: ‘Obviously they’re all just a bunch of perverts.’
“And that’s horrible”
Halford’s mention of his “George Michael moment” of course refers to the late gay icon’s arrest in April 1998. George Michael was caught engaging in a sexual act by an undercover police officer in a public toilet in Beverly Hills.
“I’d like to think for the most part if that incident had broken into the press,” Halford mused, “then a great proportion of my fans would have said: ‘We’ll support you and stand with you.’
“A few years later, when I came out on MTV, that was a proven fact because the feedback from around the world was positive – they just wanted me to continue being the singer for Judas Priest and get on with the job.”
The 69-year-old thinks fans will be “shocked” by the book and described the writing of the book as “exciting, fun, disturbing, terrifying and cathartic”.
Speaking to Louder’s Paul Brannigan, Halford expanded further on his sexuality and coming out process.
He said: “I think that for every gay guy or gay girl there’s a period where you’re trying to work out who you are, and it can be quite a difficult thing to do, because there’s so much going on in your head.
It can be torture at times, while you’re coming to terms with everything, and realising that there’s real importance and significance to accepting and embracing who you are.”
Rob Halford’s autobiography, Confess, will be published by Headline and is on sale 29 September.