Ex-JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist K.K. DOWNING: 'I Owe My Whole Life And My Whole Being To Heavy Metal'

Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing, who is currently promoting the debut album from his new band KK’S PRIEST, discussed his five-decade relationship with the heavy metal genre during a brand new interview with El Cuartel Del Metal. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I owe everything — my whole life and my whole being — to metal. Because I was there at the very beginning when it didn’t exist, and heavy rock didn’t exist. Even rock didn’t exist, really. We had rock and roll in the early ’60s, but that was different; that was kind of Bill Haley and Elvis [Presley] and Chuck Berry. But we didn’t have rock. We had blues, which turned into progressive blues, and that was great. There were so many great progressive blues bands. But we didn’t seem to have the music that I really wanted more and more of. And so I set on the journey to try to be a part and create and assist as much as I could.”

He continued: “But, yes, certainly I owe everything [to metal]. And now I’m happy that I’m doing this again in the way that I’ve always done it, to give as much as I can back to this wonderful music. At the same time, with ‘Sermons Of The Sinner’, it just kind of put up the red flags and points out, really, that there is a potential fragility to this music. ‘Cause we are losing so many friends far too often. We just a couple of good friends in the last couple of days — [from] METAL CHURCH and ZZ TOP. And I’m 70 years old this year. I don’t want this beloved music to be a page in the history book in fifty years’ time; I want it to continue. Hence the ‘Sermons Of The Sinner’,” he said, referencing the first KK’S PRIEST LP. “Maybe they can help us to keep going and rise again in numbers and in strength to keep creating this music, not just listen to the people that enjoy being critical of something, just ’cause it’s been around for 40 or 50 years and it’s time to move on. Nuh-uh. We don’t want that, because when you look at all of the great classical musicians from the 16th and 17th and 18th centuries, we want that now. There’s lots of people that want it and want more of it and cherish it. And at some point, people let that go and neglected it. Hopefully that never happens to our music.”

KK’S PRIEST also features former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens, along with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).

“Sermons Of The Sinner” will be released on October 1 (postponed from the previously announced August 20) via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.

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 upcoming 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.

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