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Founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing, who has just released the debut album from his new band KK’S PRIEST, says that he has no problems with fans making comparisons between the two groups. “It’s absolutely fine, because it’s who I am and what I am and what I do and how I do it,” he told Brazilian journalist Igor Miranda in a new interview (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “It’s too late to change; I can’t change. I can’t go out and buy different guitars and different amplifiers and start to write differently and think differently. I have to do things the way that I like them to be done. And that’s what I did in JUDAS PRIEST for all those years to the best of my ability. But even now that I don’t have to consult with anyone else, really, then I feel a lot more freedom to be able to do this.
“I think I can do what I do better now than I did before, if that makes any sense,” he continued. “Because I’m working and writing and putting things together for me — and, obviously, of course, the rest of the members in [KK’S PRIEST] as well. But I was on my own, for the most part, in the lockdown doing this. But there was a lot of things I wanted to say and get off my chest.
“The [KK’S PRIEST] album’s full of emotions, sentiments and messages and also rejoicement. It’s a lot of things, all in one package. And it was very important for me to be able to express myself through this album.
“I know that people will make comparisons, but that’s fine. I either succeed or fail, like everyone else in life. But I’m a fan of this wonderful style of music, and if I like it, I’m hopefully sure that the fans will like it too. And I really hope they do. And I’m very much looking forward to the feedback from everybody all over the world.
“Towards the end for me in JUDAS PRIEST, it wasn’t as energized as it was in former years, and I missed that. I remember the days when Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] used to come offstage and he used to empty his boots out, and the water — which was sweat — used to just pour out of the boots. And it was the same for all of us. It was like we ran a marathon or something. So, hopefully we deliver that up. So I’m looking forward to doing that. I’m definitely gonna do my best, put it that way.”
Downing is joined in KK’S PRIEST by former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens (vocals), along with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
KK’S PRIEST‘s debut album, “Sermons Of The Sinner”, was released on October 1 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 ’80s.
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.
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.
Photo by George Chin