If you follow my site at all, you know I am in the middle of a Judas Priest Review Series where I am reviewing all the albums from the Judas Priest Collection Box Set (and a few more it missed). I thought as I am immersing myself in their catalog, why not find out some information about the band by reading Rob Halford’s book, ‘Confess’. They sum up nicely below who Rob Halford is but it is really a bland description. I think they left out is that Rob is the ‘Metal God’, Rob is a man who waves the Rainbow Flag proudly, Rob is sober for over 30 years, Rob is human, which means Rob is fallible.
The story of Rob Halford, told by Rob Halford, covers a lot of time. It starts off him as a child growing up in the Black Country of the U.K. His stint where he wanted to be an actor, and then his discovery that he could sing. And man can he sing. It spends most of the time talking about his time with Priest, but it really is about Rob, the person. His struggles in life, but not just with being gay. He struggles with that, but it was more about his struggles with hiding it as being the lead singer of a Heavy Metal band and what would be the fall out if it came out. Honestly though, he didn’t really try to hide it because a lot of the early Priest songs actually talk about it, but no one was perceptive enough at the time to figure it out. The story really is about his struggles with finding love and with trying to have sex while on the road while the band had easy pickings of the female groupies, Rob had to go to seedy truck stops and bathrooms to find love. It didn’t always go well as we find out when Rob has his own George Michael moment. Rob was very lonely, for a very long time and that caused a lot of drinking and a lot of drugs and then rehab. He had many bad relationships with guys that were really straight, it was a tough road. Rob, however, found his way sober and finally found love and it all had a happy ending, thank goodness.
I was walking through an Antique Mall as my daughter had found another great place to buy used vinyl. We came to a booth that didn’t have a ton of books, but there was one book there that immediately caught my eye. It was the Gene Simmons’ autobiography called “Kiss and Make-Up”. I had not read yet, so I grabbed it. And at only $5, it was a steal.
And what did I think? It was okay. It was an easy read, but there was really nothing surprising or earth shattering. I did forget he dated Diana Ross, but I knew about Cher so no shocker. I had forgotten about some of the movies he did, but not ‘Runaway’ as I loved that one.
It was interesting to read about his childhood as it did explain a lot about who he is and why he is the way he is. Gene is definitely full of himself and you know what, that is okay. He knows it and I was worried I would like him even less after reading this, but I didn’t. I actually like a little more. I feel I understand him a little more.
As a Guns ‘N Roses fan, this book was a no-brainer when it went on sale on Amazon. You will notice a trend on my book reviews in that I always get the books when they are on sale, dirt cheap. Best way to buy them. Slash has always been this larger than life Guitar God with his trademark black Top Hat, long curly hair covering his face and a cigarette sticking out of his mouth. And of course, that is why that picture is the cover of the book. You instantly know who it is.
The book came out in 2007 and it covers the periods of his childhood, through Guns ‘N Roses rise and fall, Slash’s Snakepit and all the way up to his band at the time Velvet Revolver. It is a journey filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You get to see what influenced him in life and what drove him forward to succeed. I would say you get everything as he lays it all out on the table. He isn’t afraid to paint himself in a negative light either.
After reading this book, I am amazed that Slash is actually still alive. He started doing drugs, drinking and having sex at an extremely young age. His parental supervision was interesting as his parents were very artsy and lived a very bohemian lifestyle. At a young age, he was surrounded by famous people, including the late David Bowie. He started out skateboarding and eventually discovered the Guitar and then his focus changed. School was never important, but even less so when he started playing guitar.