Thursday, 10 December 2015

JUDAS PRIEST FRONTMAN ROB HALFORD: "I'VE BECOME THE STATELY HOMO OF HEAVY METAL"

Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford came out in a 1998 MTV interview.
Today he says, "
I've become the stately homo of heavy metal."
Bugs' interview with Rob Halford originally ran in Daily Xtra on Nov. 20, 2011

Judas Priest has been hailed as the godfathers of heavy metal. MTV names the band on its list of greatest metal acts of all time, second only to Black Sabbath and just ahead of Metallica. Both Black Sabbath and Metallica are inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Judas Priest, for reasons known only to the gods of rock, has so far been left out in the cold. 
Metal God Rob Halford of Judas Priest

I told lead vocalist Rob Halford I think the snub has everything to do with his being openly gay.

“I don’t know, let’s have a think; who in there is gay?” Halford says rhetorically. “It’s a good question. I consider myself a lower-case gay, not screaming like my good friend [porn director and drag queen] Chi Chi LaRue. I love all my friends in the community, and if the moment came [for induction into the Hall of Fame], it would be a tremendous moment, not just for the band and our fans, but for the whole LGBT community.”

Halford rose to showbiz fame in the 1970s at the height of the homophobic disco sucks movement. Coming out publicly then would likely have meant career suicide. But Priest’s landmark 1980 album British Steel had more to do with popularizing metal than any other band, including, arguably, Black Sabbath. Priest’s twin lead guitars, pile-driver drums, outlaw lyrics and Halford’s vocals were templates for every band from Iron Maiden to Guns N’ Roses. Judas Priest also codified the metal dress code: long hair, tight pants and leather galore.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD! THE OUT GAY MAN WHO MADE KISS SUPERSTARS

KISS today: Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer


Bugs' interview with Roman Fernandez about Bill Aucoin and KISS originally ran in the June 2014 issue of Fugues magazine.
The four original members of KISS – Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss – put aside their personal differences at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, at least long enough to say kind words about one another. 
Bill Aucoin and Roman Fernandez 
on Broadway (Photo courtesy 
Roman Fernandez)
But for KISS fans, as well as Roman Fernandez – longtime life partner of Bill Aucoin, the legendary rock’n’roll manager who discovered KISS – it would have been nice to see the fueding stop before the band hit the stage. In fact, it would have been nice to see the original KISS perform onstage at the ceremony.
Like former Rage Against the Machine guitarist and KISS fan Tom Morello concluded in his induction speech, “Tonight, this isn’t the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the Rock And Roll All Night And Party Every Day Hall Of Fame!”
For Roman Fernandez, the night was bittersweet: his life partner Bill Aucoin, who died of surgical complications from prostate cancer in 2010 at the age of 66, was not there to see the band he raised, nurtured and turned into global superstars inducted into the rock hall.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

SHIFTING SANDS: THE PHAROAH'S GAY MANICURISTS

Manicurists and Royal confidantes Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep


If I weren’t a journalist, I’d be an archaeologist. Both jobs are about bringing to life the stories of other human beings separated only by time, culture and geography.

One of my favourite stories from Ancient Egypt lies in the sandblasted necropolis of Saqqara, beneath the crumbling pyramid of King Unas, the ninth and last pharoah of the Fifth Dynasty, who ruled Egypt from roughly 2375 to 2345 BC.

I only learned after visiting his tomb many years ago that beneath the causeway to the pyramid lies the Old Kingdom tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep whose bas reliefs depict what is (to date) the world’s first recorded adult homo love story. And in a fabulously queer twist, Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were – wait for it! – gay manicurists (yes, you read right) in the palace of King Niuserre (2453 to 2422 BC) of the Fifth Dynasty!