Rob Halford says that the recent controversy surrounding IRON MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson’s apparent condemnation of the JUDAS PRIEST singer’s use of a teleprompter during live performances is much ado about nothing.
A teleprompter, or autocue, is a display device that prompts the person speaking with an electronic visual text of a speech or script, and it is usually used by singers — including Halford and BLACK SABBATH’s Ozzy Osbourne — who are getting on a bit and have a large body of work to remember.
“I never realized that people were using autocues,” Dickinson told The Guardian in a recent interview. “What the fuck is that all about? People pay good money and you can’t even remember the sodding words.”
He continued: “The daftest one I ever saw was [JUDAS PRIEST’s] ‘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.”
Asked by Nikki Blakk of the San Francisco, California radio station 107.7 The Bone to respond to Dickinson’s comments, Halford laughed out loud and said: “What we British say is it was just a storm in a teacup [Editor’s note: ‘Storm in a teacup’ is a British variation of ‘tempest in a teapot,’ an idiom meaning a small event that has been exaggerated out of proportion].”
He added: I love Bruce. I love Bruce. He’s a great friend of mine. And he’s very outspoken. [He’s a] great frontman, a great singer from a great band. And, you know, these things are said in many ways, and I’m sure he didn’t mean it in any other way than Bruce sometimes goes off in one of his rants. You know, it’s just the way it goes.
“But, yes, storm in a teacup. Storm in a metal teacup.”
In a 2010 interview with the QMI Agency, Halford spoke about how using a teleprompter helped him when he was asked to fill in for Ozzy with BLACK SABBATH for a show after Osbourne was taken ill. “[Like Ozzy], I use a teleprompter now too because I do so many things,” he said. “I can’t remember. I wish I was like my mate Bruce Dickinson and could do everything, but I need that safety blanket.”
During the 2005 edition of Ozzfest, the traveling festival’s founder, Ozzy’s wife and manager Sharon Osbourne, famously cut the venue’s public-address system and the main stage’s power on at least three occasions during MAIDEN’s performance at the tour’s final stop in Devore, California because she said that Dickinson was “talking shit about my family, night after night,” and was being “disrespectful” to her husband during Bruce’s “nightly outbursts from the stage” by saying that “we don’t need a teleprompter’ (like Ozzy).”