As you may recall, The Gap recently sold a t-shirt with a design that had a striking resemblance to the cover of Judas Priest’s Screaming For Vengeance. In fact, it seemed like a blatant rip off of Doug Johnson’s iconic 1982 artwork. And as it turns out, Judas Priest would agree.
In fact, singer Rob Halford revealed in an interview with The Quietus that Judas Priest are considering taking legal action against the clothing chain for the design. When the t-shirt in question was brought up in discussion, Halford said the following:
“Well, 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. Having said that, pushing the legal side of it to one side, its brilliant isn’t it? To think that something 30 odd years later is still striking enough to be a fashion moment – it’s a bit like when the vodka people [Absolut Vodka] did the British Steel label.
The thing is with artwork is that I don’t think that you can underestimate its power. Like, 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?’ And if you say: ‘The T-shirt’ they’ll probably say: ‘Oh, I just like it!’ And I think that’s great, because again you’re making a visual, emotional connection with people; that’s what Screaming For Vengeance is doing all these years later.”
Apparently The Gap feels that Judas Priest might have a case against them, since the t-shirt design has since been removed from their online store. But as Halford points out with the Absolut Vodka ad, this wouldn’t be the first time Judas Priest has crossed into mainstream commercialism (some instances having the band’s blessing).