Pop Quiz: Judas Priest

Aidin Vaziri | It was only a matter of time before the members of Judas Priest came to their senses and took one of the greatest heavy-metal albums ever on the road. This summer, the long-running group is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its breakthrough sixth full-length album, “British Steel,” a little early by playing the whole 1980 album on its U.S. tour with Whitesnake. Calling from a Hampton Inn in Minnesota, singer Rob Halford, 57, who returned to the band in 2003 after taking 10 years off to front three other outfits, told us he’s having the time of his life.

Rob Halford of Judas Priest
Q: How do you still hit all those high notes?
A: Well, I can’t hit all the notes. But my voice is an instrument, and you have to do what you can to take care of it. I quit smoking. I don’t drink. I went through the whole rehab thing. I’ve been screaming my tits off for 38 years now, but it still works and it’s in good shape.
Q: Even though you wore S&M gear for years and released albums like “Hell Bent for Leather,” people were pretty surprised when you came out during a 1998 MTV interview. Were you surprised that they were surprised?
A: From my own perspective, I never understood the significance. It was an unplanned moment. I was on TV and said, “Speaking as a gay man.” I didn’t realize until 48 hours later the firestorm it had created. It never crossed my mind that anyone would care because I’d already been accepted. That part of me is a nonissue. We are who we are. I’m still the same person.
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