Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford gave an interview to Heavy Consequence in which he revealed the details of his ‘date night’ with Andy Warhol.
Formed in 1969, Judas Priest is among the most successful metal acts in music history. During the early years of their formation, the band struggled to achieve remarkable commercial success. However, they managed to become prominent members of the metal scene in the late 1970s.
Back in 1979, Judas Priest performed at the Palladium in New York. Following that, they decided to play a second late-night show at the Mudd Club. Mudd Club was a venue frequently visited by cult celebrities, and Andy Warhol happened to be there that night. So, Priest had an opportunity to meet the artist.
According to Rob Halford, something interesting happened that night. In the interview with Heavy Consequence, the Priest frontman said that he recognized Andy Warhol while he was wandering around and decided to meet him.
Halford approached the artist and thanked him for coming. Later on, he unexpectedly handcuffed himself to the artist. As Warhol did nothing to resist that and Rob humorously called him ‘submissive.’ He then revealed he posted a photo of that night on his Instagram and captioned the photo ‘Date Night’ as it was their ‘mini-date.’
In the Heavy Consequence interview, Andy Warhol recalled the incident as:
“The Mudd Club was this kind of showcase presentation for our friends in the music business, everybody who had been working really hard to book Priest to that place we were at in our growth in America. They wanted us to do it after a couple of sold-out shows at the Palladium and we went, ‘Oh, do we really have to do that?’ But we thought, ‘Oh, let’s do it,’ because it’s a gesture of goodwill and thank-you for all the hard work people have done.
So we do our show at the Palladium and we got to the Mudd Club in the early hours of the morning. It’s a very small place and we’re doing our bit and I’m dressed up with my leather and studs and orgy T-shirt. And as we’re playing I see this guy moving around. I said, ‘That’s not Andy Warhol?! For God’s sake, it can’t be Andy Warhol!’ Turns out it was.
He had a little Olympus camera, taking pictures, and he stayed ’til the end, and afterward, we were just hanging around. And then Andy comes over and I say, ‘Hey Andy, thank you so much for coming. It’s so great to see you. It’s such a thrill, for me especially, all the great work you do.'”
He went on to say:
“And of course, Andy was socially awkward, and he would always go ‘Oh really?!’ to everything. So we’re talking and I’d had a few drinks. He was looking at my stuff and I take my handcuffs off and I’m showing them to him, and for whatever reason, I put a cuff around me and a cuff around Andy, and he didn’t pull away or anything — submissive Andy Warhol.
Then I go, ‘I’ve got some bad news, Andy; I’ve lost the keys to the handcuffs.’ ‘Oh really?!’ Of course, I hadn’t, but it was a nice exchange, and then he said to me, ‘I’m going to Studio 54. Do you want to come?’ So we got into a Yellow Cab and went to Studio 54. Steve Rubell was on the velvet rope and he lifts the rope and we walk in. Warhol goes to the left, I go to the right and never see him again for the rest of his horribly short life.
I posted a picture from that night on my Instagram. On the comment attached to that, I wrote ‘Date Night,’ which it was. We had a mini-date.”
According to what Rob Halford recalls of that day, this was indeed an interesting encounter. Moreover, the reason Halford felt the urge to do such a weird thing remains unknown as it seems he doesn’t know the reason either.