Ahead of the Metalheads
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Published in: May-June 2021 issue.


CONFESS:  The Autobiography
by Rob Halford
Hachette. 368 pages, $30.


IN CONFESS, Rob Halford discloses the trials he faced behind the scenes while fronting the heavy metal band Judas Priest. This memoir is that of a man who was torn between being a pioneer in the macho genre of heavy metal—which indeed fashioned a whole new style of masculinity—and his self-discovery as a gay man with all the (mis-)adventures that came with it, which had to be kept under the radar.

            If you’re someone who’s fond of good, solid rock and binges on music documentaries, Confess will be a sweet ride. You’ll find yourself smiling at Halford’s musical and sexual victories and wincing at the bloodier and more heroin-laced tragedies. Among Halford’s confessions are the following elements, in no particular order: truckstop cruising in late 1970’s America, hotel room pranks on world tours, a string of (gay and straight) lovers, sexual frustration, struggling with drugs and alcohol, gay innuendos in Judas Priest songs, and a strong belief in the afterlife upon meeting a Jamaican psychic. These and others are detailed to the backdrop of chapters on Judas Priest’s glory days, from British bars to Madison Square Garden, from low-budget production and starvation wages to platinum discs and a Grammy.

            Confess also contains a collection of photographs documenting Halford’s early life, bandmates, performances, and his current long-term partner.

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Intesar Toufic, a gay, Arab freelance writer based in Japan, has appeared in The New Smut Project, Bull Men’s Fiction, andEvery Day Fiction.



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