Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing (KK’S Priest) spoke with Classic Rock Magazine about various topics including his guitar hero, favorite album, etc., excerpts from the story, appear below.

The greatest album of all time:

K.K.: It’s got to be Electric Ladyland. I was already a [Jimi] Hendrix fan when it came out [in 1968], and I just loved it. Electric Ladyland was pretty eclectic, and it gripped me. I used to shut the curtains, put on the headphones, drop the needle and not move a muscle till the final note.

Guitar hero:

K.K.: Without a doubt it’s Hendrix again. He was the all-in-one package. Jimi was a brilliant musician, he wrote incredible songs, and he sang as well. Nobody before or since was as charismatic.

[Favorite] singer:

K.K.: The guy that really, really impressed me early on was Ian GillanDeep Purple In Rock, and particularly the song Child In Time when Gillan hit those high notes. That’s why when I found Rob Halford, who could do the same thing and lived not too far away, it was a dream come true. 

Cult hero:

K.K.: Leslie West. His albums with Mountain were so important for an army of guitar players. He had such a brilliant guitar tone. Theme For An Imaginary Western, which was written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown [on 1970’s Climbing!] had a wonderful solo that consisted of maybe four or five notes.

Best record I ever made:

K.K.: [Laughing] No apologies, I must pick my albums by KK’s PriestSermons Of The Sinner [2021] and the new one, Sinner Rides Again. They’re both very, very kick-ass and I’m proud of them both. They epitomise everything about me and who I am. They continue my legacy [with Judas Priest] and carry the hallmarks of the past.

Worst record I ever made:

K.K.: Jesus, I’ll have to go with [Judas Priest’s 1981 album] Point Of Entry. But then again there are some great songs on that one. That’s so, so hard to answer.

Most underrated band:

K.K.: They’ve been together for fifty years, but I’ll pick Wishbone Ash. They were rated at the time, though maybe not so much any more, I guess. I only grew to like them in the last ten years or so, but nobody could deny that they were so influential.

Best live album:

K.K.: I’d like to say [Judas Priest’s] Unleashed In The East, but another that jumps out at me is Tokyo Tapes by the Scorpions. I liked that one a lot when it came out [in 1978]. It had Uli Jon Roth doing his Hendrix-y thing, and some amazing songs.

Saturday night/party song:

K.K.: Anything by AC/DC. They always get me pumped up and ready to rock. Nobody does it better. 

Song I want played at my funeral:

K.K.: I’d be happy with Purple Haze, the song that made me pledge my soul to what became heavy metal.

Read more at Classic Rock.

KK’S Priest has recently announced tour dates, click here to view the itinerary, and for links to hear songs from the band most recent release, The Sinner Rides Again.

19 Responses

  1. I love this album, POE. Ram it Down & Turbo certainly are the weakest. Too bad he couldn’t be more humble and just name his favourite JP album. Being a bit of a wanker, he was.

    Mine is Stained Class…”Savage Who Is Savage?!?!…To you it’s a jungle, to me it’s a kingdom!’

    1. Savage is definitely one of my favorite songs off Stained Class, but my favorite will forever be Screaming For Vengeance.

    2. Indeed, Dana. Great album with not one bad song. For some reason, I really like Sad Wings of Destiny and Rob’s vocals are solid.

  2. POE is a bit on the weak side but wow, some classics such as “Heading out to the Highway” “Turning Circles” “Desert Plains” “Solar Angels” and “Hot Rockin”!! Sure, a few stinkers but I still love it!
    Happy Holidays Dana! Looking forward to “Invincible Shield”!

    Your Priest Co-Pilot

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