K.K. DOWNING Went On 'Autopilot' While Writing Debut KK'S PRIEST Album

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Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing spoke to Front Row Report about his songwriting approach while composing the material for the debut album from his new band KK’S PRIEST. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “The minute I sat down to do this, I just wanted to pretty much go on autopilot. Because the whole album — there is kind of a message in there, but there’s lots of emotions and sentiments and rejoicement about everything in my life, really, and the evolution of metal as we know it today, when it came out of the blues and progressive blues to rock, hard rock, heavy rock, heavy metal. And I’ve been on that journey. And this album really is a rejoicement and a tribute to all of that. And hopefully we’re gonna try and sustain everything that we’ve loved and enjoyed about this type of music to take us into the future and try to continue to encourage fans old and young and musicians to wanna be able to be a part of this as well.”

He continued: “We’re not the only band [playing classic rock and metal] — we’ve got great bands out there who are releasing product and [going] on tour, obviously. [IRON] MAIDEN and SCORPIONS and SAXON and ACCEPT and, obviously, JUDAS PRIEST — just about everybody, really. So many bands are out there doing it. And so we’ll keep on going. But, obviously, we can’t hold back time forever, and at some point there will be a change where people that were a big part of this — myself included — and that came from the ’60s and ’70s, at some point things will move on. So we have to make sure that when we hand over the baton that it’s gonna be good and healthy and thriving, and true and classic metal is gonna be hopefully as big as it ever was.”

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

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