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Judas Priest’s Rob Halford on Gap T-Shirt Controversy: ‘It’s Very Naughty of Them’

Rob Halford
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

With Judas Priest‘s landmark album ‘Screaming for Vengeance‘ celebrating its 30th anniversary, frontman Rob Halford has been out making the publicity rounds discussing the record’s classic songs — and, as he did in a recent interview with the Quietus, talking about the controversy surrounding the Gap’s decision to sell a t-shirt that looks suspiciously like the album cover.

Describing the original eye-catching artwork as “just the dog’s bollocks,” Halford said admiringly, “You look at it and you can almost hear the scream of what’s going to come out of the speakers. … It’s turned out to be a very strong piece of very iconic imagery in the metal world.”

Reflecting on the brouhaha that erupted when the Gap started selling a ‘Screaming for Vengeance’-inspired t-shirt, Halford mused, “Well, it’s very naughty of them.” Promising that Judas Priest is “investigating that right now because that’s intellectual property rights – we were never asked, neither was our label,” he admitted, “Having said that, pushing the legal side of it to one side, it’s brilliant, isn’t it? To think that something 30-odd years later is still striking enough to be a fashion moment.”

Added Halford, “The thing is with artwork is that I don’t think that you can underestimate its power. Like, you’ll see somebody walking down the street with a Cannibal Corpse T-shirt on, if you say to them: ‘Oh I love that band’ they’ll go: ‘What band?’ And if you say: ‘The T-shirt’ they’ll probably say: ‘Oh, I just like it!’ And I think that’s great, because again you’re making a visual, emotional connection with people; that’s what ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ is doing all these years later.”

Next: Animated Album Covers

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