K.K. DOWNING Explains How Guitar Playing In JUDAS PRIEST Was 'Lopsided' Compared To That In KK'S PRIEST

February 27, 2024

In a new interview with Joe Rock of the WBAB radio station, former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing spoke about the musical chemistry between him and his KK'S PRIEST bandmate, guitarist A.J. Mills. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I've known A.J. since he was in [a band called HOSTILE]. Actually, the first time he saw [PRIEST] play was when Ripper [Tim Owens] was in the band, and A.J. was 17. This is a story he tells me. He came to the concert and thought, 'That's it. I wanna be him up there,' and he was pointing to me. And so, obviously, he knows the legacy and the credentials of the band, so he knows what's expected. He knows me now; I've worked with him on a couple of his own records."

He continued: "Needless to say, with myself and A.J., everything's split down the middle. It's the way it was always meant to be. Sometimes in JUDAS PRIEST it was a bit lopsided, and but now we have… In all fairness, this trade-off guitar technique that, obviously, was created way, way back then in the early '70s, when Glenn [Tipton] eventually joined [PRIEST]… The way that it is now with KK'S PRIEST is the way that I always envisaged it. Not to take anything away that myself and Glenn did; I'm extremely, immensely proud of everything we did together and created together, of course. We created an image, a sound, just everything, that we etched in stone, really, I think, in respect of the history of the archetypal metal band. And that is continuing exactly the way that I always envisaged that it should with myself and A.J. creating new music."

Downing's latest comments are similar to those he made in an August 2021 interview with Greece's Rockpages.gr. At the time, he said: "I should have played more in PRIEST. I should have put my foot down and said, 'Glenn, I need to play more solos, because I can.' So, now I can [with KK'S PRIEST], which is great. And I see, obviously, Richie [Faulkner, Downing's replacement in PRIEST is] playing my solos and Glenn's solos [after Tipton retired from touring due to his battle with Parkinson's disease]."

KK'S PRIEST features former JUDAS PRIEST members Downing and Owens (vocals),alongside Mills, bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).

KK'S PRIEST will embark on its first-ever U.S. headlining tour next month. The trek will kick off on March 7 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and will feature support from L.A. GUNS and BURNING WITCHES. The tour will be the first of at least a two-leg USA run of shows, planned to continue later in 2024.

KK'S PRIEST made its live debut on July 6, 2023 at Downing's KK's Steel Mill in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.

KK'S PRIEST kicked off a five-date "Priests, Killers & Witches" U.K. tour on October 7, 2023 at O2 Institute in Birmingham.

KK'S PRIEST's sophomore album, "The Sinner Rides Again", came out in September 2023 via the Austrian label Napalm Records.

The art for "The Sinner Rides Again" was created by talented artist Andy Pilkington.

K.K. formed KK'S PRIEST after JUDAS PRIEST turned down his offer to rejoin the band for their 50th-anniversary tour. It followed a couple of celebrated stage appearances, first with former MANOWAR guitarist Ross The Boss in the summer of 2019, then with a one-off lineup that included former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson and former PRIEST drummer Les Binks later that year.

KK'S PRIEST released its debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", in October 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.

Downing spent four months writing and recording "Sermons Of The Sinner" and, along with new ideas, he even resurrected a few archived riffs from the 1980s.

Downing was reunited with JUDAS PRIEST for a performance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in November 2022 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at the event, which honored Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.

Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.

In 2019, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band's 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.

In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates 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 after Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.

Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Rob Halford in 2003.

Photo credit: Mind Art Visual

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