Former JUDAS PRIEST and current KK’s PRIEST guitarist K.K.Downing made a recent appearance on MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn’s “No Fuckin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn” podcast.
During the talk, Downing touched on how the other members of the band and JUDAS PRIEST management knew about singer Rob Halford’s sexuality and were accepting, although Rob at the time was advised to be discreet about the subject.
“We always knew Rob was gay,” K.K. said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “Because the thing is back in the days — in the ’60s and particularly early ’70s, when everything was still kind of behind closed doors and stuff like that — people felt a bit more comfortable around us because we would hang around in groups and gangs and we would always know that that guy is different to us and that girl is different.”
Downing continued: “I actually looked like a girl — let’s be honest. When I was, like, 17 [or] 18, I had hair down to [my waist]. And I can remember being at a jukebox once in a bar, and I must have been 18, and this big trucker came up behind me and he put his hands underneath my arms to feel my boobs. I was, like, ‘Excuse me, mate,’ as best as I could. He groped what he thought was a girl. But pretty much everything was androgynous [in those days].”
K.K. went on to discuss how Rob’s sexuality didn’t matter to the rest of JUDAS PRIEST, saying: “The main thing is… Obviously, to me, Rob being gay, apart from [having] a great voice, I thought Rob was gonna stay in the band forever, and he’s obviously gonna be theatrical, he’s gonna be obviously articulate with words — and he was; he was all of that,” Downing said. “Sensitivities and all of that, and the showmanship — so all of these ingredients [were] great attributes to have as a frontman. And I proved to be right.”
K.K. also mentioned Halford’s recent autobiography, “Confess”, where the singer claims to have spent a lot of time on the road in the 1980s and early 1990s “cruising” gay bars and meeting places. When asked by Flynn if he was aware that Rob was “out cruising”, K.K. replied: “Yeah. Absolutely. My eyes have seen a lot. [Laughs] Even in the mid-’70s, if you come off stage and Rob’s in the shower with one of the crew and stuff doing things. I mean, it is what it is. You don’t have to go in there until it’s over and whatever. It is what it is. ‘Cause Rob had to put up with lots of things from us. It’s the same thing — no different… It’s the same thing — fair’s fair. We’re all there in the van. We’re ready to go. ‘Okay. Where’s fucking Dave? Okay. He’s in there still with a girl. Somebody go and get him.’ We need to go. We need to get to the gig or from the gig. And these things happen. It’s rock and roll. A lot of things were put down to rock and roll because it was rock and roll in those days.”
Check out the full interview below.