Rob Halford: Non-Metal Fans Can Wear Our T-Shirts

Rob Halford is OK with non-metal fans wearing metal t-shirts.

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A few weeks back, Ultimate-Guitar reported that Judas Priest were suing a Gap for illegally using the artwork to "Screaming For Vengeance" on a t-shirt without the permission of the band. Yet, according to Classic Rock, Priest frontman Rob Halford is happy for people to wear metal band t-shirts, even if they have never heard of the band in question. In an interview with the Quietus, Halford explained that Gap shouldn't have used the design because it violated intellectual property rights:

"It's very naughty of them. They shouldn't have done that and we're investigating that right now, because that's intellectual property rights. We were never asked, neither was our label."

However, the front man went on to state that he didn't have a problem with people wearing t-shirts advertising bands that they have never heard of:

"...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?' You say, The t-shirt.' They'll probably say, 'Oh, I just like it!'

"I think that's great, because you're making a visual, emotional connection with people. That's what 'Screaming For Vengeance' is doing all these years later."

Non-metal fans wearing metal t-shirts have increasingly become commonplace in recent years, with the likes of David Beckham, Miley Cyrus and Lindsey Lohan having been pap-snapped in Iron Maiden and Metallica t-shirts. High street fashion chains have started selling the kind of metal t-shirts to the masses that you used to only be able to get at a gig's merchandise table.

Lindsey Lohan:

Miley Cyrus:

David Beckham:

Rob Halford's comments bring into focus a sharp question. Should non-metal fans be able to get away with wearing heavy metal t-shirts? Does the fact that metal covers have become so commonplace in popular culture speak for the visual quality of the artwork, or does it represent the rape of the heavy metal subculture by the mass media?

Let us know your thoughts below.

115 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Lightning_Ray
    I hate it when people do that. I mean, there's this inexplainable thing where you see a guy that genuinely loves the band that's on the t-shirt he/she's wearing and you kind of go inside your head "f*ck yeah, I love them too! Cheers, mate!". It's, most of the times, an unspeakable bond you make with a complete stranger where you look into someone's eyes and sort of smile. I hate it when my sister wears a Beatles T-shirt and the only thing she knows (poorly) is John Lennon's Imagine song.
    bulusvanua
    Its that horribly awkward conversation when you think you've found a kindred spirit. Rob forgot to mention the long period of uncomfortable silence that follows/ the mutual embarrassment when you try to enthusiastically recommend the band to the bewildered stranger then realise you're coming across like some crazed door to door salesman.
    MR.LZZYHALE
    I could not even see my self wearing a t-shirt of some band I never heard of just cuz it looked cool man that kinda takes balls
    TombOfHorror
    So, by this logic, I can wear whatever football, baseball, nascar, hip hop, televsion and movie parapanelia whether or not I have even the slightest familiarity with the subject? And when someone says 'You like such-and-such', I get to look at them like they're crazy? No thanks. I'll stick to wearing band tshirts that reflect my music collection.
    bulusvanua
    Maybe I'm being an elitist... But no, god no. When I see that its probably the closest I can get to understanding the frustration Native Americans feel when their cultural stuff gets turned into some fashion of the month. Thats our thing! Get your own thing! Why is that AC/DC shirt pink? why is it glittery? Would Rob get a bit of cash out of the T shirt sales though? If so I can imagine thats why he doesn't care!
    Jesus_Dean
    No! Miley Cyrus should not be allowed to wear that T-shirt and I want her to take it off right now! ...and just to make sure she really does take it off, I'm gonna give her a hand, LOL. (and I'll bet ya anything she's wearing an Iron Maiden bra and panties as well)
    Captain Chaos
    In another pic I think she's wearing a killers shirts and you can see a sideboob. It doesn't look too bad.
    xxSynxgxx
    no please keep it on I don't want to see her disgusting body.. she looks like a crack ***** in the pic lol.
    TJ1991
    Er, who's to say LiLo, Cyrus and Beckham aren't metal fans? Strange assumption to make, just because they're not famous for being metalheads doesn't mean they might not like said bands.
    iceman2kuk
    There was a thing a few years ago where one of the blond ones out of Westlife, of all groups, is apparently really into Metallica/Megadeath
    Oddsbodkins
    Wasn't Becks also spotted in an Exodus shirt one time? Perhaps he is actually a fan.
    javdoc
    The answer is probably somewhere in the middle - it's a little bit of both. At the end of the day, embrace it, as you get to see some kick-ass album art, even if it is being worn by some civilian....
    carrion666
    Why would someone want to wear a shirt of a band they've never of? That completely contradicts the point of bands shirts, you wear them to show support for the bands you like not because it's fashionable or whatever.
    willetts666
    If they're the type of people who hate metal they should definitely not be wearing the shirt. I was in college and a girl in my class was wearing an AC/DC shirt. We were allowed the radio on and many of our class chose to listen to the local rock/metal station and after a few songs the girl in the AC/DC shirt piped up and said "can we turn this off, I can't stand this loud guitar music". As you can imagine this lead to a debate over the shirt. Personally I think its wrong to wear the shirt an then slate what it stands for
    rayven1lk
    Well if it looks good to them and they can afford it...why not? But if Halford says its "naughty", i'll go with it lol
    MoshGrizzly
    I remember going to sit with a girl I'd never met in my Grade 10 Math class because she was wearing a Nirvana shirt. I was like "Oh, I like your shirt!" and she just gave me an awkward look and said, "Oh. Yeah. Woo, Nirvana." It was pretty obvious she didn't listen to them and it got reeeeeaaalll awkward after that...
    bonjidonk
    Personally, I won't wear a bands t-shirt unless I've seen them live and I actually like their music, but people can whatever they want.
    kozmo4200
    I agree. All my band shirts are tees from a show with dates. In my opinion thats the only way to go.
    paranoid70
    When I was a kid in the 80s, if you wore a band shirt from a group you knew nothing about you were called a poser and of course ridiculed for being one. Is being a poser somehow cool now?
    GruuvMetuhlr
    Since when are there rules for wearing a t-shirt? If a person wearing a band shirt knows only one song and that is enough to make them buy a band shirt, good for them and the band IMO.
    Metal_Mesh
    I wouldn't wear a t-shirt by a band I haven't listened to. It's just ridiculous.
    Abacus11
    Idiots wearing metal t-shirts? Why not? If anything maybe some of these morons will actually give Rihanna a rest and listen to some Maiden instead. Any chance to convert someone to a metal fan is cool by me.
    PGilbert
    "...Youll see somebody walking down the street with a Cannibal Corpse T-shirt on if you say to them, Oh, I love that band, theyll go: What band? You say, The t-shirt. Theyll probably say, 'Oh, I just like it!' In other words, 'Look, everyone knows Cannibal Corpse are S**t, but people still wear there stuff because of the image it portrays. Does it matter? course not, People can wear what the hell they like.'
    xplosive59
    Rob is such a laid back guy and I agree with him to an extent BUT I dislike seeing someone in a DSOTM T-shirt hoping to have a conversation and they turn around and say "Pink Who?"
    Botti13
    holy shit this whole ****ing post was made exclusively for rustling jimmies
    HigherThanAMile
    Two words come to mind that describe people wearing shirts with band prints on them....Trendy or Poser. Because that's exactly who they are.
    MR.LZZYHALE
    Yeah maybe its becoming somewhat cool or badass to be a metalhead?! Sadly if this is true then shit bands like Poison, Ratt, and other glam rock/metal bands will make a come back
    atomicpunk823
    I realize I may be an exeption, but I have always like a variety of metal bands, including said "shit" bands like Poison, Ratt, other glam rock/metal bands. Even during the past 20 years when it has hardly been "fashionable". Liking those bands has not dissuaded me from also loving bands like Anthrax, Metallica, Armored Saint, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Testament, Megadeth, etc. Christ, if a person thinks some music is good, then to that person it IS good.
    iommi600
    Hats off to Rob Halford. Something the asshat elitists need to understand: if someone enjoys another genre of music apart from your standard heavy metal, it does not make the person ANY less of a fan of metal music than you. Also, it's just clothing, musicians do not have any superpowers, so there's no need to treat them like they're a god. Being a fan =/= being dumb.
    Crofty89
    That's not exactly the point (though I do agree, metal elitists are annoying). The issue is people who don't like a band wearing that band's t-shirts. While it is kindof elitist to tell someone they can't wear a certain t-shirt, it's annoying to meet someone who will wear a metal t-shirt despite not liking metal. It's not a fashion trend. It's the same as (to me at least) when people wear Superman t-shirts yet refuse to read the comics or watch the tv shows or movies as it's too nerdy. They're taking something we love and wearing it to look cool. Which is the complete opposite of why we like metal and comic book fans like Superman in the first place.
    iommi600
    Yep, I see a lot of kids wearing Iron Maiden/Metallica/Led Zeppelin etc t-shirts that probably could not tell me the name of an album or do not even like the bands (after I started working nearby a mall I started to understand the word 'mallcore' that the metalheads created... lol), but I seriously do not care. All this "I wear this to look cool" thing is either something that will pass as soon as these people hit 15 years of age, or in the case of older people like Miley, for an example, well... it's just so sad that I can't even care. But still, I think people wear what they want, it does not annoys me at all. Different strokes, I guess...
    Trentaru
    Believe me, i wish people stopped trying to be cool after 15, im 18 in my last year of highschool and I am one of the few people in my school that arnt trying to be cool, especially the people who think they know about music.
    MDoggDX316
    I agree with him. Sure, it may lead to an awkward conversation, but get over it.
    Shreddinator666
    I was gonna say something to this, but your picture of Trunks distracted me to the point of short term memory loss.
    JonnyMonster91
    Leave it to UG to make an article about blatant artistic property rights theft in to an article about Miley Cyrus' t-shirts. Fuck.
    Burnzyburns
    Do we actually know for a fact that David Beckam, Lindsey Lohan and Miley Cyrus don't actually like Iron Maiden? I mean there's no doubt those people suck, but plenty of crap people like good bands.
    FiddleJohnny
    I say we employ a new division in the police, called "Metal Squad" , and arrest these individuals under the charge of fraud.
    link no1
    People can wear what they want, it's not my problem when I give them kudos on the epic band shirt and they look at me with a blank stare, making them look like oh so much of a moron. The guys that wear metal shirts and then proceed to rip on metal and it's fans should be shot though...I've been verbally abused by a moron in a metallica shirt before for being a metal fan, all I could do was stare at him and think "are you really this stupid?"
    PGilbert
    I didn't realism the Metal community was so full of elitist little children. What next? Short Hair? OMG you can't like Metal with short hair...and you wear clothes that aren't black! YOU MUST BE INDIE! sigh
    link no1
    Short hair? Taking this a bit over the top here ain't ya? What's your next point, people without beards? There is a difference between non-metal fans wearing metal band shirts and having long hair.
    guitar7masta
    No there isn't, they are both equally retarded complaints. Who cares if they're wearing a shirt of someone they never heard of? Honestly? Free advertising at its finest, especially when a celebrity does it. Pull your heads out of your asses children, it's just a freakin T-shirt.
    millarso
    Equally retarded? I think not. There is nothing wrong with being offended when people misuse a symbol that has personal significance to you. I don't think it's a terrible thing, but what happens when a bunch of douchebags start wearing band shirts for really good bands, and people start avoiding those bands because of assumptions they tie in? Sounds like a tragedy to me.
    guitar7masta
    Symbol of personal significance? What is this, has metal become a religion? Get over it! When has a celebrity wearing a band t-shirt ever hurt sales for that band? Nobody cares except immature fanboys. People have a right to wear whatever the hell they want, this is insane, of all the things to be mad about... a hipster wearing an Exodus shirt is the LEAST of my worries
    Burnzyburns
    The joke would be on the hipster, then. If he doesn't listen Exodus, he's just missing out.
    Scorpyin
    real fans of a band usually don't care about those kinds of things, either your a high school jerk or need tostop worrying about what people who DONT MATTER to you think...
    morgstar
    Long rants beginning with rhetorical questions? Of course not! They're just silly.
    PGilbert
    Sometimes you have to go extreme to get across how irrational & pretentious the original argument is. I honestly couldn't give a flying crap what someone wears bet it a Metal Band t-shirt or Winnah the poosh costume!. But wouldn't someone wearing a t-shirt of a metal band be say 1000's times "better" than say Gap or some other pointless brand name emblazoned across there chest. Fan or not.
    Anjohl
    If you don't know three songs by a band, you shouldn't wear their shirt.
    diskothek
    What band wouldn't want anyone and everyone wearing their merch? Even if they're oblivious of the band, its still free advertising and royalty payments.
    Izzy-Sweet
    Too many a time have I ran into somebody wearing a knock-off GNR or ACDC t shirt and they've not had a clue who they are. If you like the images, fine, but at least take a moment to realise it's a band shirt, you don't have to listen to them, you can enjoy a band's image by all means. Just do the research to make yourself seem less naive and make actual fans feel less awkward.
    DaniArrow
    Uhm. Have to say I disagree with Halford. It's kinda lame to say "Hey, the shirt, I love that band" and get a "uhm I don't know them"...
    Guns N' Chains
    I don't know about anyone else, but I can't stand when I see someone wearing a metal/rock t-shirt and they don't even like the band. You ask them to name a song and they can't or they name the biggest hits. You see someone wearing an Appetite For Destruction-Guns N' Roses T-shirt and they name "Welcome to the Jungle", "Paradise City", "Sweet Child O'Mine" and then they can't even recall another GNR song. They are just wearing it be "trendy", IMO. AC/DC shirts are the big one for this too. My cousin was wearing an AC/DC shirt one day (And he is heavily into rap/pop) and I asked him what his favorite song was. He said, "Thunderstruck" but couldn't even name the album it was from. He was only able to name the Back In Black album and didn't even know a song off of that! I also see a lot of people wearing Avenged Sevenfold shirts simply because they are among the most popular hardrock/metal bands today and they can't even name a song or even an album from them. I don't know, this is just something that really drives me crazy. Haha.
    MR.LZZYHALE
    so im gueseing your cousin has never heard the MOST OVERPLAYED song in rock HISTORY wow
    PGilbert
    Well done you, you can recall more songs than someone who knows 1 or 2 songs and decides to wear the band's t-shirt? does that make you feel a little special? jesus, are you 17 years old? always wear black? long hair? yawn. Being a massive Guns n Roses fan myself, when I see someone wearing a GNR t-shirt, It reminds me of my love for GNR and the 10+ times i've seen them live, I don't judge the wearer for shit or care if they only know 'Sweet child o mine'. If anything I'd rather see a bunch of guys walking around with GNR shirts than bloody GAP. Know do me a favour, and grow up.
    TriAxe222
    I just bought that "can I play with maddness" T at the Miaden show, now hannah montannah is wearing it...
    TriAxe222
    also ,lohan's color scheme leads me to belive that is not a piece of Official Miaden merchandise
    Way Cool JR.
    That actually looks like an original one from the 80's. I had one just like it back then and it looked identical. They look a little different nowadays than they originally did. I feel safe to say hers is an original and official.
    PGilbert
    If you speak to someone wearing a Band T-shirt and they know little about the band. Instead of sneering like a complete *****, why don't you recommend them your favorite songs. Do something nice, don't be a d*ck all your life.
    Shun1010
    I saw a guy with a Death shirt on. Almost flashed the horns while I was working. Keep the metal alive. Pray to Dio every day and the Metal God.
    cgmetallica1981
    If somebody wears it because they think it looks cool, then it's alright, but I find it weird that they would get something from a band they don't know though. But if somebody wears it as a trend or to be edgy or some shit, **** them.
    blooddrunk
    Beckham hasnt heard a maiden track in his life. you can tell that just by looking at him. degenerate mongoloid.
    ADomenick91092
    Yes, because what someone looks like is a really good indicator of the type of music they like. I mean, we all knew Jim Carrey is a huge Cannibal Corpse fan because of his really long hair, and massive beard... oh, wait.