Former JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist K.K. DOWNING Says Weathering U.K. Punk Revoluton In 1970s Was 'Very Tough'

December 19, 2018

Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing was recently interviewed on the "Unchained" show, which airs on the 101.8 WCR FM Wolverhampton Community Radio station in Wolverhampton, England. You can now listen to the first two parts of the chat below.

Speaking about how JUDAS PRIEST has managed to stand the test of time, weathering punk, new wave, grunge, and countless other hard rock styles while flying the flag for no-nonsense heavy metal for nearly 50 years, Downing told host Garry Foster: "It was tough — very, very tough. I can remember one year — I think it was '77 — the only two bands that toured the U.K. were JUDAS PRIEST and UFO, I'm pretty sure. To my recollection, because everything was so suppressed because [of] not just the punk [explosion], [but] the new wave movement as well, back to back. And it was tough. We would go and play gigs in London, and even our fans, people just were spitting and stuff like that. It was some contagious thing."

He continued: "I would have to take a step back and say, this is what keeps everything — the industry and everything — ticking and healthy. But it's always been that way. There's been a lot of genres of music — industrial, grunge… one thing after another. Some of them I don't even know what they are. There's always gonna be that, I guess, but having said all of that, since probably the early '90s, thereabouts, everything seems to have ground to a halt a little bit."

According to Downing, JUDAS PRIEST's career arrived at a significant turning point in April 1980, when the metal veterans unveiled their aptly named sixth album, "British Steel". The LP saw the guitarist and his bandmates donning their now-trademark leather gear and studs and embarking on a global campaign to conquer the world.

"It was good, because JUDAS PRIEST, we were flying the banner for what we knew and believed in," Downing said. "It was very frustrating, because it was only just getting going — that's how I felt about it — what we were doing. 'Cause we hadn't actually got there yet. In '77, '78, I still felt we were climbing the ladder, trying to get to where we were intending to be. Which proved to be true, because it wasn't really until 'British Steel', because in '76, '77, I was wearing leather and studs and that stuff, and then I kind of encouraged Rob [Halford, vocals] on board: 'Come to London. Have some clothes made.' Which he did. By the time 'British Steel' came around, we were all on board with that look. So everything was complete. We had a great album, great album cover, and, at last, the look was there — the metal look. And because we rode the storm out — the punk and new wave — we had people that had been influenced by us and other bands that were still around — the SCORPIONS, UFO and those other bands — [and] we had [the start of] a so-called New Wave [Of British Heavy Metal]."

This past summer, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates more than seven years ago when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."

Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST following Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from the road due to his battle with Parkinson's disease.

K.K.'s autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released on September 18 via Da Capo Press.

Interview (part 1):

Interview (part 2):

Find more on Judas priest
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).