Eonmusic spoke with former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing, portions of the interview appear below.

Eonmusic: Do you still have things like a lot of gold discs? 

K.K. Downing: It’s difficult as you get older. I’m 68 this month, and it gets difficult if you have an estate and if you’ve got bits and pieces that people don’t know the value of. I’m quite happy to sell stuff and liquidate the cash, because if something happens to me, that’s easy to deal with. But I mean, I’ve still got, oh, I don’t know how many guitars I’ve got still, but I must have 30 or more, but my family wouldn’t have the heart to sell them if something happened to me. It would be tough for them, so I’m just taking charge of managing things.

Eonmusic: You did sell quite a few guitars at auction in late 2018.

K.K. Downing: Yeah, it’s a difficult one because, if I died, the things probably would be worth more, but there’s a massive market out there at the moment for these things. I mean, that one guitar I sold [K.K’s 1967 Gibson Flying V which sold for £150,000] [Dana’s note: $194.150 USD] made the Guinness Book of Records; it’s the highest amount paid for a guitar in my genre of music, Bonham’s [auction house] told me.

Eonmusic: [Judas Priest guitarist] Richie Faulkner has recently said; I wish, personally, it had been a different outcome and everyone was getting on fine and Ken could come back and everyone was friends and we could do it for the last tour”; what’s your take on that? 

K.K. Downing: It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Richie was thinking that way because he’s a guitar player, and he knows me, and Riche said some complimentary things about my performance at Bloodstock; that I looked good and played good. Richie spent a lot of time learning my guitar parts and my solos, so he knows my capabilities as a guitar player. And as a perfomer, he’s watched the videos and he’s heard me play, and he must be thinking we would be an absolutely kick-ass guitar duo”. And I kind of think that that would be the case, to be fair. 

Eonmusic: You’ve recently been nominated for induction with Judas Priest into the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; how does it feel to get the nod again?

K.K. Downing: Yeah, it’s great, because it’s some accolade, really. The Hall of Fame, it’s not easy to get in there. It’s difficult, and it takes even giant bands a lifetime even to be nominated. I don’t think Black Sabbath were too fast, so I guess you have to be of an age.

Eonmusic: It sounds like the nomination actually does mean something to you.

K.K. Downing: Yeah, I think it does really, because in years to come, when you look back at your career and everything, I think it’s like anybody in certain walks of life, in the world of sports or film; you can always look at your trophy cabinet. I think it comes down to the trophies that you’ve got really. It’s not an easy gig to get really, getting in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and not everybody makes it, and a lot of great artists don’t.

Eonmusic: The question has to be asked about the possibility of your playing with Judas Priest, should the induction happen.

K.K. Downing: Yeah, that’s an interesting one really. I don’t know what the deal is, if a nominated person like me or [former Judas Priest drummer] Les Binks gets in, are we entitled to play? I don’t know how that all works, but I guess we’ll fathom that all out. I would imagine for one day that people can sensibly think; Well, it doesn’t matter. Nothing else matters; what matters is that we’ve achieved this”. Collectively, we have played our part, and it should be a moment of splendour really, and enjoyment, and something that we can be pretty grateful of. And it doesn’t hurt, you know?…But, this could maybe have an effect that it just gives us the opportunity to get together and get on the stage and just enjoy the moment, really.  

Eonmusic: Judas Priest are in the top 5 currently, in the fan vote; you must be pretty positive about the band’s chances of getting in this time around?

K.K. Downing: Yeah, absolutely. I know there was a lot of disappointment last time we didn’t make it, and I can’t speak for everyone, but I would imagine that everyone is thinking that yeah, this could be the one. And I hope that it is, because I think it would be a fitting, and a good thing to do, and I’m happy with it. I would like us to be together and enjoy this moment before it’s too late and we may not be around to enjoy it. It’s sad that Dave Holland is no longer with us, and I think I would feel pretty remorseful. Memories live on, and I think that I would like that opportunity to be over at that ceremony, and to be able to quite rightfully remind people. Obviously, Dave’s name would be mentioned, we’d be playing songs probably that he played on, and that would be a nice moment, I think. 

Eonmusic: Have you a message for those who are thinking of voting?

K. K. Downing: Yeah, I would like people to vote for us. I mean, it’s a tricky situation for me, because good friends and superstars in their own right are also nominated. There’s no doubt in my mind that Motörhead must get in there at some point, and Thin Lizzy must, as well. I mean, I knew Lemmy quite well, and we went back a long way. And I can remember supporting Lizzy quite a few times in the early ’70s. But everybody’s day will come, I guess.  

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