Rob Halford, a.k.a. the Metal God, fronts one of the most influential heavy-metal bands on the scene. Along with his Judas Priest bandmates, the leather-favoring singer spends most of his time on the road fraternizing with metal legends like Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe and Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister. Halford even runs a clothing line that specializes in badass-looking T-shirts. But what fans might not know is that he also keeps a finger on the pulse of the pop world, and one of his latest heroes is Lady Gaga.
"She's exactly what we need right now in that area of music," Halford told MTV News. "There has been a vacuum that's been created in that area as the wonderful Saint Madonna has gotten older, and we really need somebody like Lady Gaga to shake things up again."
Halford said he admires Lady Gaga's irreverence, but also her colorful fashion sense ("That costume of meat she wore at the MTV Music Awards was just fantastic"), her outspokenness and her willingness to deliver politically charged messages. He was especially moved by Gaga's speech at a Portland, Maine, rally organized by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network as part of the movement to repeal the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"I thought that was very admirable," Halford said. "Madonna went a little bit in the activist vein, but she did that later on in her career. What you're finding in Lady Gaga, I feel, is a microcosm of the speed of life we're living in now. Things happen so quickly. She took off like a rocket. [Interscope Chairman] Jimmy Iovine put the whole label behind her and wrote the checks for those multimillion-dollar videos because he has this incredible foresight, and it was absolutely the right move. She's incredible and provocative and I admire her as the person she is and all the great things she does."
Still, like many Gaga fans, he's occasionally surprised by his pop heroine. Halford, whose Halford IV — Made of Metal hit stores this week, admitted he was somewhat taken aback by the 'Fame" singer's wardrobe choice in Maine. The Lady wore a conservative blue pantsuit, white collared shirt and patterned men's tie, but what really caught Halford's attention were Gaga's massively oversize Coke-bottle glasses.
"I don't know if she's got really bad eyesight or if it was just another moment," Halford said. "But I love that she believes all people are beautiful, which they are. How dare you call somebody ugly. That's just abhorrent to me. She sends this message out to her fans and the world that's really positive and I just wish her a long life, which is going to be difficult in today's speed-of-light culture."
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