When Rob Halford Gave Glenn Tipton a Beating Onstage
Rob Halford recalled a Spinal Tap moment in which he wound up giving guitarist Glenn Tipton a beating during a Judas Priest show.
The incident took place in a U.K. club just before the band found fame and before he gave up drink and drugs. In a recent interview with Spin, Halford admitted the accidental brutality was a result of being under the influence.
“I was always looking for some kind of thing to do [onstage], something a bit different,” Halford explained. When he came across what looked like scaffolding tubes but, on closer inspection, seemed to be cardboard tubes painted silver, he decided he had found his prop for the night. “I said to Glenn, ‘When you do your lead-break section in blah-blah section, I’m gonna come behind you and hit you … you can react however, but it won’t hurt because it’s cardboard.”
With Tipton giving his approval to “Halford and his theatrics,” the die was cast.
“As it turned out they were not all cardboard – some of them were made of like real thick pieces of round lumber sprayed silver,” the singer said. “I was always high as a kite in those days when I went onstage. I was just blasted out of my mind. This was on my way to eventually getting sobriety, but those days I was so incoherent in certain parts of the show.”
That’s the reason he didn’t understand what was going on. “I’m hitting Glenn and he immediately falls to the floor, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, he’s really getting into it!’ I’m hitting and hitting him really, really hard – then I suddenly realize this isn’t a piece of flimsy cardboard tubing.”
Tipton wound up “covered in black-and-blue bruises for the rest of the week,” Halford noted. “Mixing drugs and alcohol have never really worked together with music in that respect, especially when you’re trying to raise the bar a good deal.”
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