Rob Halford hasn’t been hellbent for leather for quite some time.
The Judas Priest frontman, who first began rocking the biker look in the ‘70s, has quietly worn pleather on stage over the years. But according to the metal icon, PETA didn’t get the memo.
In his book “Biblical: Rob Halford’s Heavy Metal Scriptures,” which came out on Nov. 1, the singer recalled how the animal rights organization wrote the band a letter in 2001 urging them to “use our mettle (and our metal) to riff against animal abuse” and to stop wearing leather. However, the 71-year-old shared that the group was a step ahead of them. They had adopted the synthetic leather substitute a few years prior.
Members of Judas Priest, from left, bass player Ian Hill, guitarist Glenn Tipton, singer Rob Halford, guitarist KK Downing and drummer Dave Holland, backstage at the Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, June 14, 1984.
(Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
The metal icon told Fox News Digital the decision to whip up a new look was a “practical” one.
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“Your battle vest, your leather uniform [is] what defines you in the way you look,” he explained. “It can be difficult to take care of. It’s no different for a football player… If you don’t get that thing in the wash, it can grow legs of its own. So that was the main reason. We have this wonderful man called Ray Brown who has been dressing and designing for Priest for many decades. And he was the first guy that came up with this new fabric [idea]. He said, ‘Hey guys, you’re gonna love this. Gone are the days of trying to put on the old crinkly leather pants and jacket. [Now we have] this stuff called pleather. It’ll do the job and it looks the same. It puts across the same message, the same strength, the same imagery.’”
“We go, ‘Let’s go for it,’” Halford recalled. “But ironically after that, we were approached by PETA and they were like, ‘How dare you wear leather on stage?’… We’re like, ‘No, we don’t wear the real thing in that respect. We’ve now moved on to pleather. We’re hellbent for pleather.’”
Rob Halford, known for his biker look, has since adopted pleather.
Halford noted that the band wears pleather exclusively.
“It’s pure practically,” he shared. “We have wonderful people who look after the band, including our great wardrobe gals and guys. You know, you come off the stage and you’re absolutely soaked and wet from pouring your heart, blood, sweat and tears for two hours a night. And into the wash it goes, ready for the next night’s display.”
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In his new book, Halford details launching and leading a successful rock band. Personal stories are interwoven throughout his teachings. Halford also describes the “many great aspects” of sobriety despite admitting “it’s not been bloody easy.” Halford reveals that while he’s been sober for 36 years, the battle is ongoing.
Rob Halford of Judas Priest described to Fox News Digital how he faces temptations today after battling alcoholism.
“One day at a time is our mantra,” he explained. “When I have my TV [on] and I’m watching my sports… and a commercial for a beer comes up, I’m like, ‘Oh man, I would love a cold beer.’ So the temptation never leaves you. And that’s because alcoholism is a disease. You can’t switch it off. It’s impossible. So you have to use the tools that you have through your sponsor. I have a great sponsor out in Washington state who I’ve been in touch with forever. So he’s a great resource if it ever gets that bad. And thank the Lord it’s never gotten that bad. But that’s a nice place for my mind to go if it ever did get bad.”
“But you have your prayers, you have your meditation, you have your book of motivational inspiration,” he continued. “So you have to work hard at it yourself. You can’t let others do it for you because firstly, it’s not their responsibility. You have to take, not control because we are powerless, but you have to make the right adjustments when you need to do so. Whenever I get these temptations, they don’t last very long. But it really drives home the fact that you literally are an alcoholic for life. And thank God I still have my life.”
Halford, who previously wrote the memoir “Confess” in 2020, said he’s been candid with his past struggles in hopes it will inspire others to seek help.
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Rob Halford, left, Ozzy Osbourne, center, and Nikki Sixx announce Ozzfest 2010 at the Sixx Sense Studio on April 30, 2010, in Sherman Oaks, California.
(Charley Gallay/Getty Images)
“It is very much moment to moment,” said Halford about his sobriety today. “I’m a strong believer in living in the moment, getting the most out of every day. No matter what it is, no matter what you do, the day’s a gift from God, and you really should utilize as much of it as you possibly can in doing the things that you can, not only for yourself but for everybody else. This whole thing of pushing kindness and gratitude is an important thing to consider doing if you can do it. When people say, ‘Hey, I’m sober,’ that’s wonderful. But I know the statement – there’s a lot of hard work going on.”
“I’m living in today, and I don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he shared. “Now is all that matters.”
Halford said when he was “doing my drinking and my drugs,” he felt as though he was “having the time of my life.” Still, he stressed, “that’s the falseness that addiction can create.”
Rob Halford, left, and Alice Cooper pose in front of a tour bus, circa 1990s.
(Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
“You can think you’re having a great time, but you’re not dealing with the reality of your condition,” he said. “What I did learn pretty quickly when I began to be a sober person was that I can have just as much fun. I can have just as many great times as I choose to seek. I don’t need to go out of my tree on alcohol and drugs. I don’t need to do that to achieve a great feeling, to have a great time.”
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While many of his memories “have a blur,” such as the time he partied with Andy Warhol at Studio 54, others are just as vivid as day. In “Biblical,” Halford described how Judas Priest was banned from Madison Square Garden after they performed at the famous New York City venue in 1984. Halford wrote that “our fans did a spontaneous rethink of the venue’s décor by ripping out all the seats and hurling them on stage – we’re still banned from there.”
“I’ve got a photograph somewhere where you can’t see the stage, [just] the seat cushions,” said Halford. “[People] were taking the seat cushions out of the chairs and using them as Frisbees… It was pure exuberance. It was people having the time of their lives. It was just pure energy and emotion. But it only takes one incident. I have to stress that I don’t think it was ever meant in a purely destructive way. I don’t think this was a riot. I think people were caught up in the moment. And I’m not making excuses for it. But I think that’s what caused the spark. Sometimes the energy and power of the music can go in an awkward direction.”
Rob Halford has a new book out titled “Biblical.” He previously wrote “Confess,” a memoir that was published in 2020.
Halford wrote in his book that he was unsure if he would want to play at Madison Square Garden again. But he’s always eager to hit the road and meet with fans.
“I hope they’ll never take anything for granted,” he said. “You’ve got to push the truth, which is this. One of the greatest forms of rock ‘n’ roll that’s ever been created is heavy metal. It brings nothing but joy and a lot of healing.”
Stephanie Nolasco covers entertainment at Foxnews.com.