Judas Priest’s Rob Halford reflects on the PMRC: “It was a political hack job”

Rob Halford
(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/WireImage via Getty)

Judas Priest singer Rob Halford has reflected on the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in a new interview.

The US government committee – co-founded by Tipper Gore, then-wife of former US Vice President Al Gore – rallied for greater parental control over musical content in the late 1980s and named Judas Priest’s 1984 track Eat Me Alive as one of its “filthy 15” songs.

Reflecting on the experience of being targeted by the PMRC, Halford says in a conversation with That Fuzzing Rock Show (via Blabbermouth): “When we went through that experience with the PMRC, it was tough because it was backed by very powerful political figures in Washington, D.C.”

He adds that the committee – who also put songs by Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard and more in their “filthy 15” – misunderstood the core appeal of heavy metal music.

“Straight off, this was just a political hack job,” the vocalist continues.

“These people had no clue about heavy metal. They had no clue about the joy and the pleasure and the good times that heavy metal music gives to people and the goodness that it makes and the positivity. They just went at it with a hatchet.”

Halford also pours praise on Twisted Sister vocalist Dee Snider, who in 1985 testified against the PMRC’s aspirations to put “Parental Advisory” stickers on certain albums, along with fellow musicians Frank Zappa and John Denver.

“And I love my friend Dee Snider, ’cause he went in there and did a great job,” says Halford.

In 1986, Judas Priest wrote the song Parental Guidance as a response to the PMRC.

The committee ultimately shut down in the 1990s. The practice of placing “Parental Advisory” stickers on physical albums continued long afterwards, but has recently begun to diminish due to the proliferation of streaming services.

Judas Priest released their latest album, Invincible Shield, via Columbia and Epic in March and are currently touring North America.

The band are set to also tour Europe and Asia later this year.

See Judas Priest’s full live schedule and get tickets via their website.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.