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By Rob Halford
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Most priests hear confessions. This one is making his.
Rob Halford, front man of global iconic metal band Judas Priest, is a true "Metal God." Raised in Britain's hard-working, heavy industrial heartland, he and his music were forged in the Black Country. Confess, his full autobiography, is an unforgettable rock 'n' roll story-a journey from a Walsall council estate to musical fame via alcoholism, addiction, police cells, ill-fated sexual trysts, and bleak personal tragedy, through to rehab, coming out, redemption . . . and finding love.
Now, he is telling his gospel truth.
Told with Halford's trademark self-deprecating, deadpan Black Country humor, Confess is the story of an extraordinary five decades in the music industry. It is also the tale of unlikely encounters with everybody from Superman to Andy Warhol, Madonna, Jack Nicholson, and the Queen. More than anything else, it's a celebration of the fire and power of heavy metal.
Rob Halford has decided to Confess. Because it's good for the soul.
Named one of the Best Music Books of 2020 by Rolling Stone and Kirkus Reviews
I have been totally candid in this memoir. This is my gospel truth, but it is not for me to insist that other people bare their souls quite so freely. A few names and other identifying details in Confess have been changed—to protect the innocent and the guilty.
Speed, bonnie boat…
In the beginning was the Beechdale Estate.
And it was good.
After the end of the Second World War, the British people thanked Winston Churchill for his efforts by dumping him out on his arse and electing a Labor government. This administration quickly set about a major socialist program of building hundreds of thousands of publicly owned new homes to offset the post-war housing shortage.
Under the prime minister, Clement Attlee, and the housing minister, Aneurin Bevan, new council estates sprang up all over the country to replace the homes that had been bombed to bits during the war, and to give Britain’s working-class families somewhere to live. And typical of these developments was the Gypsy Lane Estate in Walsall, which soon got renamed the Beechdale.
A fifteen-minute walk from Walsall town center, and ten miles north of Birmingham, the Beechdale was built, gleaming new, on industrial wasteland at the start of the fifties. For the first two decades of my life, it was my crucible. It was the center of my world, my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my triumphs, my setbacks. Yet, funnily enough, I wasn’t born there.
After my mom and dad, Joan and Barry Halford, married in March 1950, they lived with Mom’s parents in Birchills, Walsall. It was a tiny house, so when Mom got pregnant with me, she and my dad moved in with Mom’s sister Gladys and her husband, Jack, in Sutton Coldfield, on the way to Brum (as we Black Country folk call Birmingham).
I was born on August 25, 1951, and christened Robert John Arthur Halford. Arthur was a name that ran in the family: it was my dad’s middle name and my grandad’s first name. (Grandad’s middle name was Flavel; I’m pleased I didn’t inherit that!)
My sister, Sue, arrived a year later, and my parents were given a council house in Lichfield Road, Walsall. Then, in 1953, my family settled at 38 Kelvin Road on the Beechdale estate.
The Beechdale’s sturdy redbrick terraced and semi-detached houses were basic, as British council houses tend to be, but, like a lot of the Bevan-era dwellings, there was a kind of idealism behind them. They were bigger than the minimum size that was stipulated in government legislation, and even had their own front and back gardens.
Walsall Council doubtless envisaged these houses having pretty lawns and flower gardens… but it didn’t work out like that. In the post-war years, rationing was still going on, so Beechdale families used their outside spaces to grow spuds and veg. Basically, you walked out of your front door onto an allotment.
I can still picture the exact layout of 38 Kelvin Road. It had a living room, kitchen, and little den downstairs, and upstairs was the loo, a tiny bathroom, my parents’ room, a box room, and the bedroom Sue and I shared. I had the bed by the window.
The Beechdale was neighborly and had a real community spirit. People were always popping into each other’s houses. Some folk thought the estate was rough, but I didn’t. Mom1 told me to steer clear of a handful of streets—“Whatever you do, don’t go down there!”—but I never saw anything worse than a few rusty old fridges in gardens. It was hardly the Gorbals.
Like all working-class Black Country men, my dad worked in the steel factories. He started out as an engineer at a firm called Helliwells, who made airplane parts and were based at Walsall Aerodrome—now long gone.
The job suited my dad as he had always had a passion for planes. He used to be in the RAF reserves, and when his National Service came around, he longed to be called up to the Air Force. Instead, he got put in the Army and spent the Second World War on Salisbury Plain.
Dad’s passion for planes rubbed off on me and we’d make Airfix models together—Flying Fortresses, Spitfires, Hurricanes. He’d take me to Walsall Aerodrome to see gliders taking off, and once or twice we went down to London to watch planes at Heathrow Airport. That was exciting.
After Helliwells, my dad moved on to a steel-tubing factory. When a colleague left to form a new company, Tube Fabs, Dad joined him. He left the shop floor to become a buyer, and we stopped growing spuds in our garden and got a dinky little lawn with a path down the middle. We also got a car. It felt really special. It was only a Ford Prefect, nothing flash, but somehow it felt as if our status had improved. I loved being driven around instead of getting the bus everywhere.
Mom stayed at home when Sue and I were kids, as women did back then, cleaned every day and kept the house spotless. She was a devout believer that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” At any time of the day or night, our house looked like a show home.
We had coal fires, and Mom would pester one of our distant relatives, Jack, when he delivered a big sack of coal. I’d watch from the window as he lifted the bag off his lorry and, covered in soot, walked down our entry, past my dad’s motorbike, to drop it in our coal shed.
“Dow mek too much dust, Jack!” Mom would scold him.
“It’s coal, bab!” Jack would laugh. “What do yow expect?”
The future arrived at our house in the form of an immersion heater. To save money, Mom would only let us put it on for fifteen minutes before a bath, so we’d be sitting in a few inches of tepid water. Or all the lights would go off, because we’d forgotten to feed the meter.
Mom and Dad put pennies in the meter in its box in the living room. The box was so cold that Mom put jellies in there to set. When the meter man came to empty it, there would be five or six pennies left over. If we were lucky, Mom would give Sue and me one or two.
On winter nights, 38 Kelvin Road was like Siberia. I would lie buried under blankets in bed, watching ice form on the insides of the windows. Our bedroom floor was lino. To use the loo in the night, I had to sprint across the freezing floor.
The loo room was tiny, with just enough space to sit on the bog, as we called it, with your knees touching both walls. Dad was a heavy smoker and would take the newspaper in and sit on the toilet for an hour, puffing away.
Mom would warn him as he went in: “Oi! Make sure you open the window!” In winter, he never did. After he came out, we’d have to wait five minutes for his fag smoke to clear. And the rest.
Dad put his pay packet on the table every Friday night and Mom handled all of the finances. Meals were basic: meat and two veg; fish and chips from the chippy, or from the chip van that toured the estate every Friday; and a tasty local delicacy, faggots and peas.2
The time came to start school. I was so scared walking to Beechdale Infant School on my first day, holding Mom’s hand as we trudged through mud, as some of the estate was still being built. The school was only two streets from our house, but it felt like a hundred miles.
The horror, the horror! When we got there and Mom hugged me in the playground, bade me that curious Black Country farewell—“Ta-ra a bit, Rob!”—and walked away… I freaked out. I am abandoned! I howled and I blarted (that’s what kids in Walsall call crying).
My first few days in school were traumatic, but then I bonded with a very glamorous female teacher who, to my five-year-old eyes, looked like a film star. I clung to her skirt every morning. If this lady is here, school is OK!
That teacher was a vision, a lifesaver, and an angel for me. If only I could remember her name! In fact, I can’t recall too much about my infant school apart from that initial terror—and the agony of being in the nativity play.
Christmas rolled around, as it does, and I got cast as one of the Three Kings. I can still remember my line: “We have seen his star in the East!” The problem I had was that, like all good kings, I had to wear a crown.
My crown was made of cardboard and held together at the back with a bulldog clip that jagged into my head. As soon as the teacher put the crown on my head, I felt like that clip was drilling a hole in my cranium. I kept trying to move it, and the teacher kept losing her rag with me:
“Robert Halford, stop moving your crown!”
“But, Miss, it really hurts! Ow!”
“It will stop hurting in a minute!”
It didn’t. All through our kiddie take on the miracle of Christ our Lord being born, that bloody bulldog clip buried itself in my skull until my head was pounding.
I never knew Mom’s parents, as they died when I was young, but I worshipped my dad’s, Arthur and Cissy, and spent a lot of my weekends at their house, two miles away. Dad would drop me off on a Friday night and pick me up again on Sunday afternoon.
Their loo was outside, so going at night at their house was even worse than at ours. I’d psyche myself up to open the kitchen door and scurry into the darkness to their little brick hut in the back garden. In winter, the seat would be so icy cold, I’d think I was stuck to it.
Nor did my grandad believe in loo roll. “No need to waste money on that!” he’d say. “Newspaper is just as good! That was what we used in the war!” There I’d sit, seven years old, in the garden, my teeth chattering in the pitch-black, wiping my arse on the Walsall Express & Star.
Nan and Grandad had brilliant stories. They told me how they ran to the air-raid shelter during the war, looking up to see Nazi bombers in the night sky on their way to destroy Coventry. I can still picture their ration books for milk and sugar, in little orangey-brown, manila covers, like raffle books.
Grandad had fought at the Somme in the First World War but, like most men who had survived that hell, he never talked about it. Yet one day while I was poking around their house, I made an amazing discovery.
My nan used to make me a little bed in their room by pulling two chairs together and sticking a couple of pillows on them. It was the comfiest bed in the world. Next to it was a little closet with a curtain across it, and one day I pulled open the curtain and found a trunk.
Curious, I opened up the trunk… and found it was full of First World War memorabilia. There was a Luger gun, a gas mask, and a whole load of German uniform insignias. The most amazing find was a proper old General Kitchener helmet, with a spike on the top.
I put the helmet on and went to find Nan and Grandad, my little head wobbling under the weight. “What’s this, Grandad?” I asked. He was annoyed when he first saw me, and shouted at me to take it off… but my grandparents never stayed angry with me for long.
In any case, I was getting more and more keen to spend weekends with them—because, at home, Mom and Dad were getting into horrible fights.
They never argued in front of us, but when Sue and I had gone up to bed, their rows would start. They would yell, and go at it hammer and tongs. Sue and I never really knew what the arguments were about, but we’d wince in our beds as we lay and listened.
It would kick off, their voices would get louder—and sometimes, Dad would hit Mom. It wasn’t often, but we’d hear shouts, the SMACK! of a hand on flesh, and Mom howling. It’s the worst sound in the world for a kid to hear.
Now and then they would scream at each other that they were going to leave. Once, Dad did it. Sue and I were in the living room, it kicked off in the kitchen, and we heard him yell, “That’s it—I’m off!”
Dad ran upstairs, packed a suitcase, and slammed the front door. I gawped from the window as he vanished down our street into the twilight, and I thought my heart was breaking: He’s gone! Dad’s gone! I’ll never see him again!
He got to the end of the road, turned around, and came back. But those few seconds felt like the end of my world… and having to hear those brutal arguments affected me in a way that I didn’t fully realize until far later in life.
But Confess is no misery memoir—far from it! The rows affected me a lot at the time, but they fell away as Sue and I grew older. Mom and Dad were loving, protective parents, and never in a million years would I describe my childhood as abusive or unhappy.
My mom was a very calm, steady person, just the sort of rock any kid needs. When we were together as a family, I hardly ever saw her lose her rag… except on The Day We Went to the Wrestling.
I was still very young but I remember it like it was yesterday. We went to Walsall Town Hall and had good seats, near to the ring. We sat down, the first bout started—and my mom absolutely lost it.
One of the wrestlers pulled a sneaky move and Mom was out of her seat, on her feet, and yelling abuse at him: “You can’t do that, you dirty cheat! Ref! Ref! Disqualify him!” She looked crazed. I had never seen her like this before!
I was dumbfounded, and my dad was mortified. “Sit down, woman!” he hissed at Mom. “You’re showing us up!”
Mom took her seat again but was still fuming: “He should be chucked out of the ring for that!”
She wasn’t done. The next dirty move the wrestling villain tried, Mom leapt out of her seat and ran like greased lightning to the side of the ring, where she started taking swings at him through the ropes with her handbag. Wallop!
I can still picture Dad’s face. The Halford family never Went to the Wrestling again.
I liked making the short trip from the Beechdale into town. I loved the hustle and bustle of Walsall. Mom, Sue, and I would catch the trolleybus from outside the Three Men in a Boat3 pub to go to the food market that ran up the hill to St. Matthew’s Church.
Sue and I used to beg to go into Woolworth on Walsall’s main drag, Park Street, to get a few sweets. Once, I had a panic attack in there. They announced over the loudspeaker that the shop was about to close, and I lost it.
“Mom!” I was yelling. “We’ve got to get out! Quick! They’re shutting!” I was terrified by nightmare visions of a night shut in Woolies. Then I had a rethink: “Oh, hang on, we’ll be locked in with the pick ’n’ mix! That’ll be OK…”
Mom would drop me and Sue off at the local cinema, the Savoy, for children’s movie mornings some weekends. We’d watch films and episodes of The Cisco Kid. We couldn’t hear them—the screenings were bedlam, with kids running about yelling, high on fizzy pop.
The Queen came to Walsall in 1957. I went to see her at the local civic park and beauty spot, the Arboretum. I was so excited: It’s the Queen! Off the telly! She wore a very brightly colored coat. When she waved at the crowd, I imagined she was waving just to me.
Afterward I learned that the Queen got her saddles made in Walsall, and that made me even more proud. Walsall is famous for its leather industry; I once went on a school trip to a leather factory and saw how they made the leather chains, whips, and studs. I clearly took it to heart, as I’m still wearing them sixty years later. Come to think of it, Leather Chains, Whips, and Studs—that could have been a good title for this memoir!
Walsall felt magical at Christmas, its packed streets covered in snow. A bloke who looked like a tramp would be flogging hot potatoes and roast chestnuts. His hands were black from his brazier, but that never put me off: “Mom, can I please have a spud? Please?”
The guy would hand me the potato in a piece of newspaper with a little twist of salt. It seemed so exotic and it tasted like caviar to me—not that I had any idea what caviar tasted like then! In fact, come to think of it, I still don’t.
Boyhood Christmas Days were all the same. I’d lie awake all night, sick with the anticipation of opening my presents, and it would all be over by eight in the morning. I’d get a selection box of sweets—KitKats, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Smarties—and it would dominate the day:
“Mom, can I have a KitKat?”
“No, I’m cooking the turkey! It’ll spoil your Christmas dinner!”
“Oh, Mom! Can I have a Smartie, then?”
“Yes, go on, but only one!”
Ten minutes later:
“Mom, can I have a KitKat?”
On and on it went, to the Queen’s Speech and beyond…
One year, my dad got me a really cool present. It was a little steam engine with a burner that you put methylated spirits in and lit. You pushed the purple flame into a little boiler, poured water in, and it turned a wheel around. It was a beautiful piece of engineering.
In 1958 I changed schools to Beechdale Juniors, right next door to the infants. The lessons went up a notch, and I had to learn to write… with a fountain pen! It’s amazing to think that we used to do that.
As I learned to read, I got heavily into comics. I had the Beano and the Dandy delivered each week. They’d come through our door just before I left for school, and I’d spend all morning in class aching to go home at lunch and start reading them.
I used to love the story strips—Dennis the Menace, Korky the Cat, Minnie the Minx—but I’m not sure they sent out the best messages. I remember a Beano character, Little Plum, who used to say, “Me um smokum um pipum of peacum!” British kids grew up thinking that Native Americans talked like that!
Well, the 1950s in Britain were not politically correct times. At my grandparents’, I had a money box for pocket money. It was a metal torso of a black man with exaggerated lips. You put a big old penny in his cupped hand, pressed his shoulder, and his hand would rise and drop the coin between his lips. The manufacturer’s delightful name for this toy? Black Sambo.
I can’t see it making a comeback…
I loved TV and would race home from school at lunchtime to watch the kids’ shows. I got into Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s black-and-white animation series. The Adventures of Twizzle was about a boy whose arms and legs extended. Torchy the Battery Boy had a lamp on his bonce. Four Feather Falls was about a sheriff with magic guns and a talking horse.
As the Andersons got more sophisticated, they made Fireball XL5, Stingray, and Thunderbirds. I loved them all, as well as shows like Muffin the Mule—a posh lady at a piano serenading a dancing toy donkey—and The Woodentops, a jerky puppet family.
So, I was just an ordinary kid doing ordinary things at the end of the 1950s… and then I had an extraordinary moment. They call them epiphanies, right? Those moments when you feel your life—your destiny—falling into place?
It happened like this.
I was at Beechdale Junior in a music lesson and the teacher was selecting who she should put into the school choir. She was sitting at the front, playing an upright piano, and my class had to take turns to get up and sing.
The teacher was playing a Scottish lullaby lament about Bonnie Prince Charlie called “The Skye Boat Song.” I knew the song because we had done it in class before, so when it came to my turn, I went to the front and sang:
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry
Carry the lad that’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.
I liked the song, so I belted it out. When I finished, the teacher sat at the piano and stared at me. She didn’t say anything at first, then she told me:
“Do that again for us.”
She turned to the rest of the class. “All of you, now, stop what you’re doing, be quiet, and listen to Robert,” she told them. “Listen!”
I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but she played “The Skye Boat Song” on the piano again and I gave it some welly—some power—again. And this time, at the end, something strange happened: the class spontaneously started clapping.
“Come with me,” the teacher told me, and led me to the classroom next door. We went in and she spoke to the teacher, who nodded.
“Class, I want you to listen to Robert Halford sing this song,” he said.
This was getting VERY strange now.
I sang “The Skye Boat Song” yet again, this time a cappella, without the piano. I finished, and the class started clapping, just as mine had done. I stood there, looked at them, and soaked up the applause.
I bloody loved it!
I know every kid loves to be loved, and craves attention, but for me, it was more than that. In that moment, for the first time, I thought, OK, this is what I want to do! It felt wonderful, and I am only half joking when I say I think of that day as the start of my career in show business. Because, in many ways, it was.
As my time at Beechdale Juniors came to an end, I had my eleven-plus exam, which was what every kid in Britain took to tell if you were brainy and could go to the local grammar school, or if you’d get shoveled into the secondary modern. I passed, but I didn’t want to be parted from my mates, so I turned down going to the grammar.
In any case, I had other things on my mind by then.
Because, as I neared puberty, I had started to realize that I really wasn’t like the other boys.
1 Most British people write “Mum,” but Sue and I always used “Mom” because that was how we said it. Every Mother’s Day, we’d have a devil of a job finding cards spelled like that in Walsall.
2 To all of my American gay mates: yes, there really is a meatball-based meal in England called faggots and peas!
3 Named after a famous son of Walsall, Jerome K. Jerome, who wrote the comic novel Three Men in a Boat.
Giving your mates a hand
I knew that I was gay by the time I was ten years old.
Well, that’s probably not exactly right. I didn’t know what “being gay” was, at that age. But I certainly knew that I liked being around boys more than being around girls, and I found them more attractive.
The first clue came at Beechdale Juniors, when I developed a major crush on a lad called Steven. I was really drawn to him and wanted to be near him all the time. I’d follow him around the playground at break times, trying to play with him.
I doubt that Steven even noticed, or if he did, he just thought I was a slightly clingy, irritating mate. He probably had no more idea what was going on than I did—but he definitely caused hormonal stirrings in my raw young heart.
Luckily, my thing for Steven soon passed, as prepubescent infatuations always do, and it was time to go to Big School. I transferred from the Beechdale Juniors to Richard C. Thomas, a big old secondary modern school in a neighboring small town called Bloxwich.
Each morning, I would put on my gray trousers, blazer, and blue tie with a gold stripe, grab my satchel, and do the twenty-minute walk to school. After the hold-your-nose dash past G. & R. Thomas Ltd., I’d do a small detour to a bakery, where I’d buy a cob1 hot from the oven for a ha’penny. I’d eat the middle and save the rest for later.
I’d do that walk every school day, even if it was pouring down with rain and there were gale-force winds. On those days, the class would all turn up drenched and there would be steam over our heads in morning assembly as our clothes dried out from the downpour. At least we all got a free little bottle of milk.
I settled into secondary modern quickly. Despite my early glimmers of sexual confusion, I was growing into myself and I was a confident boy. I had a good gang of mates and wasn’t particularly timid, or loud. I was just a normal Walsall lad.
I was a decent student. My favorite subject was English literature, and I got into poets like W. B. Yeats. I liked music lessons and was good at geography. I’m a big believer in destiny so, to me, that all makes sense: I’ve spent my life writing lyrics, playing music, and touring the world!
I was also good at technical drawing, yet the subject didn’t interest me at all. If anything, it scared me a little. Anything engineering-based smacked of the dreaded steel factories—and, with all respect to Dad, who spent his life in them, I didn’t want to end up there. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life yet. But I knew it wasn’t that.
I also went abroad for the first time. When I was about thirteen, the school took us to Belgium for the weekend. We went to Ostend and all stayed in dormitory rooms in a hostel not far from the beach.
Going abroad felt like such an adventure and so important. I remember being overwhelmed at how different everything was: the food, the cars, the clothes, the people, and, of course, the language. All of it, down to the linen tablecloths in the hotel restaurant, felt more sophisticated than Walsall.
My best mate at school was a lad from the Beechdale called Tony. We shared the same sense of humor. We’d walk home reciting Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s Derek and Clive sketches, or make up our own. They were very rude, which, of course, always appeals to adolescent boys.
The other thing that adolescent boys find endlessly fascinating, of course, is sex—and this began playing an increasingly central role in my life. It all began when I got taught how to wank.
My instructor was a kid a year or two older than me who lived just up the road on the Beechdale. I was hanging out on the estate one weekend with a couple of mates from school when this lad came up to us.
“Do you want to learn how to do something cool?” he asked us.
“Yeah, OK! Sound!”
“Right. Follow me!”
We went to his house and he took us to a downstairs room, closed the door… and got his cock out. “This is how you do it,” he said. “You hold it like this.” He started rubbing himself, up and down, harder and harder. “If you do it faster, it makes you feel great!” he added, going a bit red.
I didn’t know what to make of this, but my two mates had dropped their pants and were copying him, so I thought I’d better join in. I was self-conscious at first—I mean, you would be, wouldn’t you?—but then I got into it and, you know what? He was right: if you did it faster, it did make you feel great!
The lad was probably a budding pervert, but he didn’t touch us or say, “Let me hold yours”; he had just taken it upon himself to teach us the ancient, not-all-that-noble art of masturbation. And he opened up a whole new world of pleasure for me.
"For nearly half a century, Halford has been the voice of Judas Priest, screaming for vengeance against nonbelievers."
"Rob Halford though is one of the few metal musicians who actually has a story worth hearing....Confess, true to its title, doesn't hold back....Confess manages to be both dark and at times endearing. Halford's openness, despite some dark themes, allows for his humor to shine through....It may have taken a while for Halford to tell his story, but it was certainly worth the wait."
- "Raw and searingly moving, Confess will delight metal heads and music fans alike."—GQ
- "Confess can't be reduced to a collection of salacious gay encounters, cocaine binges or romanticized rock'n'roll horror stories. It's a cautionary tale that offers redemption through courage and the changing of times. It's a treasure-trove of heavy metal nuggets and anecdotes that any rock-blog dork would lose their mind over. But most importantly, it's a beautiful exploration of the human condition and one man's capacity for love and self-love."—Forbes
- “Salacious revelations….The most hotly anticipated hard-rock autobiography of the year, Rob Halford’s Confess is gossipy, good natured, and hilarious, often unintentionally. It’s also gloriously and relentlessly filthy….With a breezy, down-to-earth frankness…Confess is much more personal story than music memoir…Halford is winningly unpretentious and self-deprecating….In its final stretches, Confess becomes a moving meditation on family, friendship, personal growth, and social progress…[a] revealing and entertaining book.”—Classic Rock Review
- "[Halford] didn't pull any punches and he didn't leave anything out. I thought that was very courageous...very heartfelt and very real."—Buzz Osborne, Melvins
"Rob Halford led Judas Priest, and heavy metal itself, out of the Midlands and into the bigtime."
- "Deliciously readable...Confess is a warts-and-all rock'n'roll confessional."—Esquire
- "Confess is no hyperbole: Halford bares his soul."—Revolver Magazine
- "[Halford's] language is vivid and personal...and his tale is compelling. As he tells the story of Judas Priest...he weaves in any number of funny, heartbreaking, and interesting tidbits about the obstacles he encountered and the many famous people he has met along the way."—Rolling Stone
- "Confess is a must-read for Judas Priest fans as it is written from a place of honesty and passion while done with integrity....a page-turner."—Sonic Perspectives
"Essential reading for any fan of hard rock."
- "Whether guiding the reader through the highs and lows of the Judas Priest machine, or through harrowing struggles with his sexuality and cocaine addiction, Halford's ability to let his humble working-class British upbringing and a wisecrack poke through the events depicted in his autobiography, Confess, gives an uplifting aura to even the darkest parts of his life story....It's that sense of introspection that drives what ends up being the most compelling, and inspiring parts of Halford's story....It's the introspective -- and brutal honesty -- of Halford's off-stage struggle that truly lifts his autobiography from a library checkout to a must-purchase."—Blabbermouth
- "Confess digs deeper... and provides useful context."—AllMusic.com
- "Rob Halford has written one of the most candid and surprising memoirs of the year. . . Confess is a riproaring tale, a funny, often shocking and genuinely emotional story."—The Telegraph
"The Metal God shares stories from a life like no other, spending over 50 years in the heavy metal bubble, facing adversity head-on but always with a wry smile and horns held firmly aloft."
"A unique and deeply revealing insight into the extraordinary life he has led."
- "When it comes to metal memoirs, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's aptly titled and long-awaited Confess: The Autobiography certainly has enough sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll to satisfy voracious readers of, say, Motley Crüe's The Dirt or Keith Richards's Life. But a great deal of sorrow also permeates the just-released page-turner."—Yahoo! News
"The Metal God has written his bible."
—The Oakland Press
- "A must-read for pop-culture lovers and metalheads alike."—The Baltimore Sun
- "With its courageous, truthful delivery and the depiction of Halford truly rising above difficulties, perhaps the greatest aspect of Confess is the book's ability to inspire readers to rise above their challenges and come out on top. 10/10."—Audio Ink Radio
- "His memoir recounts the highs and lows of his history in a medley of comical, candid, and heartbreaking stories about obstacles and experiences...Confess is a fascinating portrait, dripping in Halford's polite yet brutally honest demeanor and personal slang: equal parts legendary metal icon and every-day humble Walsall lad."—Phoenix New Times
- "Confess...takes readers on a unique journey... Halford is candid and direct."—Media Mikes
- “Free of the demons of his past, Halford chronicles his unique rock and roll journey in this compelling autobiography…. Rock fans will naturally enjoy this book, but it is also a significant contribution to LGBTQIA+ nonfiction.”—Library Journal
- “Rob tells his story without holding anything back. Some truly incredible accounts.”—NPR’s Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
“The full, frank, and shocking autobiography of Judas Priest's Metal God….[T]his book celebrates five decades of the guts and glory of rock-n-roll.”
- “An incredibly candid look at one of the biggest metal vocalists of all time….Full of great stories and great jokes.”—Metal Injection
- “The book is well-crafted, detailing Halford's early years and initial forays into the music biz. Fans will love the details of the rise of Priest along with the peaks and valleys along the way…Everything… included helped show a real informative blueprint of [Halford’s] background.”—Anti-Music
- “You can add great writer to [Halford’s] resume as well. His story is incredible and his journey is something that reads like a Hollywood script. Albeit a Quentin Tarantino film….The pages are filled [with] so many great stories and memories – both good and bad. But you get the sense that Halford has always been able to persevere and make the best out of whatever situation he found himself in. And he does this by absolutely keeping the reader entertained with anecdotes and an unbelievable sense of humor.”—Sound Vapors
- “What a rock memoir should be – brutally honest and funny as hell….[Rob Halford] has written a rock memoir so full of life, humor, insight and turmoil that it feels reductive even to assign it to that formulaic genre… complex and richly textured…. While much of the book’s power derives from Halford’s struggle to integrate his public and private lives, there are plenty of beautifully remembered tales of the kind that enliven any rags-to-rock-riches story….A redemptive, funny, honest account…. We all carry secrets. The lesson of this unforgettable memoir is not to let those secrets undo what makes each of us uniquely valuable.”—RockandRollGlobe.com
- “A powerful, often shocking read.”—Vintage Guitar
- “Delivered with refreshing down to earth frankness…Simply put, it's a must read – not only for fans of Halford and Judas Priest, but for all music fans.”—Louder
- On Sale
- Sep 28, 2021
- Page Count
- 368 pages
- Hachette Books