Rob Halford has posted a couple of new photos of him wearing black leather assless chaps. Earlier today, the 69-year-old JUDAS PRIEST singer uploaded the shots, which were apparently taken at his house in Phoenix, to his Instagram account, writing in an accompanying caption: “‘which way to the stage! happy new year maniacs see you on tour!’ #heavymetal #ink #tattoo #new #year #goodvibes #show #live #music #tour #metal #community #picoftheday #style #fashion #art #love #family #friends #fans #one #world #peace #respect #all”.
One of the people who reacted to the pictures was Halford‘s PRIEST bandmate Richie Faulkner, who posted the following comment: “Bro! Next tour!! Less is more haha”. Rob then replied: “70 this year bro no fucks left!”
After Halford came out in 1998, PRIEST‘s studs-and-black leather biker outfits — which defined the look of the heavy metal genre for years to come — took on an explicitly gay dimension, with some fans claiming that they were taken by surprise by his revelation.
In Greg Prato‘s “Long Live Queen: Rock Royalty Discuss Freddie, Brian, John & Roger” book, former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing was asked who he thinks pulled off the “leather biker look” better, QUEEN frontman Freddie Mercury or Halford. Downing responded: “Definitely Rob. Actually, that’s probably one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked. Because both of the guys, obviously being gay and both obviously having donned the leathers — which is par for the course — I think the difference was it became Rob‘s ultimate and permanent image. Whereas Freddie did it for a bit of fun, I think. But [it is] a fun question — I like that a lot. Definitely Rob looked like the epitome — as I hope we all did, together, when we all eventually got into the leather gear — of an archetypal heavy metal band.”
In his 2018 autobiography, “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest”, Downing claimed to have come up with PRIEST black-leather look. Asked what inspired it in the first place, K.K. told Rolling Stone: “I don’t know. I had some pretty cool looks in the early days. I started off with a black, swashbuckling look. There was a place called the Birmingham Reparatory Theatre and underneath it were massive alcoves of all these theatrical clothes. We found out we could rent those clothes, and that became me and Rob‘s spot. We looked through all these things, and that’s why we wore some of these coats and boots; they were all rented from this theater. I think we eventually got told off because we didn’t return the clothes in time. [Laughs] We just held on to them. Eventually, we got a little bit of money and started having clothes of our own made and the look just came piece by piece. [Laughs]”
Asked if it was easy to get the rest of the band on board, Downing said: “Some members in the band like to think everything’s their idea. I thought, ‘I’ll get Rob on board to start with.’ There were a couple of gay guys at the leather shop in London and Rob was in his element [laughs] with these guys fitting him out in all this leather gear. Gays were already wearing leather in London so it was an easy sell for Rob. He was on board with that but also because we weren’t trying to do that; we were doing the leather-and-studs thing in a metal way. Then he started to design all of his clothes. ‘I’m having the bullwhip. I’m having this cap made.’ Rob was happy for them to know that he was a gay man, but at a certain point, it started to look like a gladiator, which was completely done in metal. It opened up a massive amount of doors for him to elaborate on throughout our career.”