PERFORMING ARTS

Confess: The Autobiography

Hachette. Sept. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780306874949. $30. MUSIC
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“Metal God.” That’s what Judas Priest fans have called frontman Halford for decades—and also what he calls himself. The title is well deserved. The band’s wild success and acclaim are owing in great part to Halford’s immense talent and showmanship. His achievements are all the more remarkable given that he spent much of his career hampered by severe alcoholism and living as a closeted gay man in a decidedly macho and often homophobic music genre. Free of the demons of his past, Halford chronicles his unique rock and roll journey in this compelling autobiography. Despite his prideful moniker, Halford is humble and personable. He describes the discovery of his vocal talent, at the age of eight by a music teacher, as a moment whose significance he did not understand until later on. He explores his identity as a gay man, discussing, with sensitivity and hard-earned self-awareness, incomprehensible same-sex crushes and fear of encountering violence. Of course, tales of rock and roll excess and debauchery are here in heaps.
VERDICT Rock fans will naturally enjoy this book, but it is also a significant contribution to LGBTQIA+ nonfiction.

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