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Rob Halford Shares His Views on the PMRC and Censorship

Rob Halford
Dave Etheridge-Barnes, Getty Images

During our recent interview with Judas Priest about the band’s new compilation ‘The Chosen Few’ and upcoming album, we also asked frontman Rob Halford for his thoughts on the now defunct Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) and the infamous subliminal message accusations against Priest. Halford passionately and energetically addressed the past incidents while sharing his current beliefs on censorship in the entertainment industry. Here is how he answered our questions on that topic:

Back in the ‘80s, Judas Priest were one of the bands targeted by the PMRC and in 1990 there were accusations of subliminal messages in your music. That was happening a lot back then…

Halford: It was a peculiar time, wasn’t it? Priest, Ozzy, W.A.S.P. — that was just a very unfortunate time for music in general. It’s always been there in rock ‘n’ roll; it’s like when Elvis shook his hips and they tried to ban him being filmed from the waist-down. It’s unfortunate because firstly the subliminal message accusations were a lie. All of the allegations were based on non-truths. We really had to stand up for ourselves and prove that these accusations were false. We really hope it doesn’t ever happen again – the only person that it happened to most recently was Marilyn Manson with the horrible Columbine thing. Here’s the fact: A song never killed anybody, a film never killed anybody, a book never killed anybody, so just back off, you know? It’s got nothing to do with us.

Why do you think we never see trials like those anymore?

Halford: Well you’ve got one now with Michael Jackson, but that’s linked to drugs. I think the world has grown up and probably realized that we’ve got way more important things to worry about like giving people a job. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened again at some point. People mistakenly abuse what we do for their own agenda. The whole PMRC was a politically based idea. Do they still put those [Parental Advisory] stickers on records? I think there’s some value to that. I’m totally against censorship, but I think if you take your kid to the movies you want to go, “I need to know is that an R-rated movie or a PG-movie or is it a kids movie?” You do need some guidance. I’m all for guidance but not for censorship.”

Judas Priest are currently on the North American leg of the ‘Epitaph Tour.’ For our full interview with Rob Halford and bassist Ian Hill, click here.


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