Why Bruce Dickinson Called Rob Halford ‘Ludicrous’

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Bruce Dickinson is one of the important figures in the metal scene. After joining Iron Maiden as a vocalist in the early ’80s, the singer achieved worldwide fame and performed with the band for more than 10 years. However, in 1992, after the Fear Of The Dark tour, the musician decided to leave the band due to creative reasons.

He spent about 7 years, apart from Iron Maiden, continuing his music career with solo performances. Nonetheless, this separation was not permanent as Iron Maiden couldn’t continue the streak after Bruce left, and in 1999 they invited Bruce back. Since his comeback, Dickinson has been continuing his performances with Iron Maiden.

As for Rob Halford, he is the lead singer of the well-known heavy metal band, Judas Priest. The band became one of the pioneers of the heavy metal sound in the 1980s, especially after Rob replaced Al Atkins. During the 1980s, the band, and Rob in particular, became one of the defining figures of the heavy metal scene.

Rob’s first tenure with the band lasted for a short period of 3 years. He left Judas Priest in 1992 both because there was a communication breakdown between members and to try different things. In 2003, the vocalist declared his return to the band by making an announcement that will get all his fans excited. At the age of 70, Rob still continues to perform with the band.

How Did The Feud Between Bruce Dickinson And Rob Halford Start? 

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During an interview with the Guardian in 2014, Bruce Dickinson criticized the use of teleprompters during the live shows by targeting Judas Priest and Rob Halford in particular. Dickinson described it as ‘ludicrous’ for singers to look at the lyrics of their songs from this display machine during their performances. He criticized the fact that the vocalists could not even remember these ‘sodding’ words, even though the audience paid for this performance.

In this interview, it was noteworthy that Dickinson used the lyrics ‘breaking the law’ as an example. ‘Breaking The Law’ is a song from Judas Priest’s 1980 release ‘British Steel’, which attracted a lot of attention in the metal scene. Dickinson stated that he found it absurd that even the repeated phrase ‘Breaking The Law’ was in autocue. The Iron Maiden frontman didn’t specifically name Halford, but the reference to this song shows he was pointing him out.

Dickinson said the following about the autocue:

“I never realized that people were using autocues. What the f*ck is that all about? People pay good money, and you can’t even remember the sodding words.

The daftest one I ever saw was ‘Breaking the Law’. It’s on the fucking autocue. ‘Breaking the law, breaking the law… Breaking the law, breaking the law… Breaking the law, breaking the law… Breaking the law’ – guess what? – ‘breaking the law.’ It’s ludicrous.”

Both names, Dickinson and Rob are part of the 80’s metal scene and the albums featuring their voices achieved success on a global scale. Although Dickinson criticized Rob in 2014, it is also known that the two had also performed together before, in 2000, just after Dickinson’s return to Iron Maiden.

What Was Rob’s Response To Bruce?

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Shortly after the publication of the interview, in which Bruce criticized the use of autocue by targeting his fellow rocker, in particular, Rob Halford gave an answer. The soft tone and tenderness of Rob’s statement in response to Dickinson’s harsh words were noticeable.

In his statement, Halford said that Dickinson is a good friend and he loves him very much, Rob praised Dickinson musically and stated that he is one of the important figures of the metal scene with his band. He said he didn’t want to take what Dickinson was saying so seriously because he knew the frontman’s heart and what he said was not a big problem for him.

Rob’s response to Dickinson in his own words:

“Well, the first thing I’ll say about that is Bruce Dickinson is a good mate of mine; I love him to death. I think he’s an incredible singer, he’s a great showman, he’s in a wonderful band, Iron Maiden, who are one of the biggest metal bands in the world.

And as far as what people say about each other, I don’t think it really means that much, to be quite honest. We say whatever we say, depending on the day and the emotion that we’re at.

I know Bruce’s heart is in the right place, and he just said what he said, and that’s all there is to it to comment, in that respect.”

Halford’s respect for Dickinson’s talent is evident in his statement. When he left Judas and released his own album, the 2000 release ‘Resurrection,’ he invited Bruce Dickinson to his concert in London, which showed that he not only respected the vocalist but also wanted to collaborate.

What Is The Current Status Of The Rob Halford And Bruce Dickinson Debate?

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Six years after his last criticism, Dickinson once again called out the use of autocue during an interview after a performance in Hamburg. The example he used in his explanation was againBreaking The Law‘. Therefore, he was targeting Rob once again.

The Iron Maiden icon, who said in his short statement that many vocalists use autocue, but he does not, pointed the finger at the Judas Priest song. Although Rob responded to Bruce’s criticisms with a very mild tone, Dickinson still continued to target Rob, even though it had been 6 years since the last conflict.

“I don’t use an autocue on stage. A lot of singers now, they just have the words there: ‘Breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law.’ Breaking the what? ‘Breaking the law. Breaking the law.”

Rock history has witnessed many feuds between successful musicians. These disputes, especially if they are about someone’s musical talent, usually don’t end well, but this incident seems to be an exception. After all, Dickinson criticized Rob’s performance on stage but did not offend his musical talent. Rob Halford on the other hand responded to this comment in a kind way and continued performing as he sees fit.