In a brand new interview with OC Weekly, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford was asked what it is about the military, or specifically the United States Marine Corps, that he finds so appealing. He responded: “Oh my god, this could be a book. There are two sides of this question to me. One of it is based on all of the things people in the military represent, which is the simple fact of keeping us safe in this troubled world. It’s also the mindset of the military which has these virtues that mean a lot to me as a person and believing in the cause, in this case a United States Marine, or a Sailor or a Green Beret. There is something very potent and personal and very deep about that conviction, discipline and dedication which I love about their service. That’s not just America, but anywhere in the world, really.”

He continued: “A lot of people go into the military service for different reasons, but my belief is the vast majority did it for those feelings. There is something that draws them into that place which tells them, ‘This is what I need to do.’ That side is very important to me.

“I’m going to stop there, and go into a completely different direction and tell you that as a gay man, the United States Marine Corps has been very attractive to me. There is something very sensual about that branch of the military and … this is great because I don’t really know where my mind is going.

“The fact that there are now gay men and women who can openly serve their country is a wonderful thing.

“I think the Marine Corps also has a sense of masculinity. There was a U.S. president that said something about the USMC that really encapsulated these types of guys. I can’t remember what it was. I think it’s also possible it has to do with my own struggles as a gay man. Being a masculine gay guy, and please don’t take that the wrong way either. I love all of my gay friends no matter how they appear, I’m trying to use that as an open reference. In my own journey as a gay guy in a straight band and a gay guy in a straight world and a metal world, I found the connection again through the Marine Corps.”

Halford added: “A part of me feels like I cannot explain myself properly because it’s very deep for me on a certain level. I hope I kind of touched some of the main nerve points of that question. That’s a great question, a very cool question. It’s almost like being in psychiatric care right now. It gives me a chance to say something that I haven’t before.

“It’s a mixed bag of things. It’s the masculinity, it’s the virtue, the eroticism, it’s a bunch of things rolled into one that make me a hardcore Marine supporter and offer my respect. There are other things I could tell you, but I’m not going to because I’m going to save them for the book.”

Halford came out as a gay man during a 1998 interview with MTV.