Abaddon magazine

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Review: Rob Halford – Confess

Publisher: Headline Publishing Group

Date: September 29th, 2020

There’s this one thing about any rock (auto)biography. And there’s a hell of a lot of them in circulation at this point. When you’ve read one, you’ve basically read them all. A struggling artist looks to make it in the world of music, makes it, goes through the usual sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll routine, has a relapse, goes through rough times to emerge clean as a whistle on the other end, to live happily making music ever after. Each and every single one of them has the same linear approach that makes them a bit of a boring read after a while. Included within are all the anecdotes, funny or otherwise, embarrassing moments, gossip columns about the band or the artist in question… The whole nine yards. Revolving around the same old topics.

Not included in this summary are the, recently more and more active, publications regarding the lesser known or underground extreme metal acts. Also not included in the above written are two books written by (coincidence? I think not) the two flag bearers of the new wave of British heavy metal. Mr. Bruce Dickinson’s “What does this button do?” and Mr. Rob Halford’s “Confess”. Focusing on the latter, I’ll answer the question why.

There is a plot twist. Simple as that. In both of them, but I’ll remain focused on “Confess”.

You guessed it, it’s the homosexuality of the Metal God. Being such an enormous part of Mr. Halford’s life (as sexuality as such has in everybody’s), it comes up fairly early in the narrative, which was rather surprising. The thing is, it makes for a very uneasy reading. Especially since Mr. Halford tends to be very “graphic” at times. Not that it’s a bad thing. After all, the “graphic” word painting is ever present in the world of heavy metal literature. Let me explain.

Pardon me for making this review about me. I’m a heterosexual. At the same time, I’ve always regarded myself as an open-minded person. Not a shred of homophobia within me. I’ve never thought of homosexuality as a disease, or a matter of personal choice. I’ve always been a “live and let live” kind of person. Or so I thought.

And imagine my surprise when I learned, going through “Confess”, that I have trouble with the mentioned “graphic” lines within it. Not so clearheaded now, am I? Hence ensued a thought process within myself…

But isn’t this “thought process”, in fact, the purpose of fine literature? Of art as a whole? Well, duh! What else is there? A short fad of entertainment? Hell no! “Confess” made me think. Made me think of me, of my understanding of minorities, sexual, religious, racial… It’s not all about heavy metal. As a matter of fact, this book, for me personally, has the least to do with heavy metal. In the strictly musical regard, it falls right in the same pattern I’ve explained in the opening paragraph.

The fact that Metal God is homosexual and that the heavy metal world still bows down to him and his band should be a point of reference to the world. You see!? You can be gay and still a regular Joe. As much as we can think of Mr. Halford as just another regular Joe. He does try to paint himself like one, a small-town fan boy in awe of his idols. Being an idol himself fails to take a single word of the narrative.

What this man has proven is that homophobia, unlike homosexuality, is very much a thing of choice. Why is it still a thing, even if diminished in recent times, is, like many other questions, a bubble that’s yet to burst within me. I mean, it’s not like any gay person ever done any harm to anybody. At least none worst that a straight person would. At the worst, somebody has mistaken you for a homosexual and tried to hit on you. Mr. Halford admits to it, as well. Is that such a horrible offence? No, get over it!

The question of homosexuality even transgresses the sexual orientation. If it’s a thing you don’t understand, one of the millions you don’t understand (hell, humanity and even science doesn’t understand half of what’s going on), do you have to be against it? Just for the sake of not understanding? You do realize people once thought the Earth was a giant plateau? And what happened when somebody didn’t understand when it was proven that it’s not? Yes, exactly! You want that to happen again? Over such a silly thing like who kisses whom? Absolutely not!

Those are the realizations of “Confess”. Aside of the old motivational story of “you can make it if you work hard and believe in yourself”, every biography of a famous person contains as default. More than anything or anyone, Mr. Halford teaches us a lesson in being human, above all the glitz, glamour, sticks and stones.