Posts Tagged “Walk Down Memory Lane”

Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Kenneth “K.K.” Downing spoke to Midland Rocks about his shocking April 2011 announcement that he was leaving the band prior to their “Epitaph” world tour.

Downing, who recently started a career as a rock promoter under the banner The Future Of Heavy Metal, says that, contrary to popular belief, he didn’t retire from the music business.

“I’ll never get away from this retirement thing, but what happened was that I quit,” Downing explains. “Retired implies that I am not physically able to do it. I am able to do it, but I didn’t want to do it; I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore

“A lot of things had changed. I think I counted about thirty reasons why I didn’t want to do it at the time, and that is an awful lot of reasons.

“In all honesty, I think that in so many respects it had run its course.

“If you’re part of a songwriting team, you get the recognition and reward for creating something, but for me, PRIEST became about going out and playing live and replicating exactly what people had enjoyed ten, twenty or thirty years ago. The fans would be just as happy if they could see us bin all of the modern guitars we now play and take them on a walk down memory lane, because I think that’s what people enjoy most. And I understand that, because if I could go out now and see Eric Clapton with CREAM, then I would be the happiest person in the world.”

He continues: “One of the beautiful things about being in the industry was the ability to continue to invent and create, constructing songs and making good records. You do feel the need to be creative, and that was taken away with the downloading thing, and as you get older, the balance of the scales starts to tip. So if you can’t be creative, why would you want to continue to dedicate the time into something?

“I suppose if the industry was still healthy and people still had to spend their hard-earned money buying a record, it would be different, but if you give something away, then it has no value.

“We used to buy an album and think, ‘Well, it’s not that good, but I’ll play it a million times [and] I’m sure I’ll get into it, and now it doesn’t really get a second chance.

“In the past, there was always the opportunity to create a record like ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ [PINK FLOYD] or ‘British Steel’ [JUDAS PRIEST] or ‘Back In Black’ [AC/DC] that would be one of those albums that would be indelible and people will always come back to. And I think that opportunity has gone now, and I think it would take a miracle for one of those to happen again.

“If you consider an album like [JUDAS PRIEST‘s much-maligned conceptual effort] ‘Nostradamus’, then if that had been released in 1978, then it would have been another ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’, but it is all about the timing.

“When you think about it, in the early days, we had the opportunity to write great songs, play great solos and have great vocal performances, but people get used to it and it is hard now to get the reaction of, ‘Wow, have you heard the new PRIEST album?’

“The industry has changed so much… I see companies that are repackaging and rehashing, and that started happening to us, and that was not a pretty thing to be a part of. It’s kind of duping the fans a bit, because there are fans around the world that have got to have everything to complete their collection, so even if there are only a few thousand of them, if you put out a box collection, it might be $100, which is a lot of dollars, and so for me, that is something that I didn’t get into music for.”

Downing‘s place in JUDAS PRIEST was filled by new guitarist Richie Faulkner.

JUDAS PRIEST is currently writing and recording material for a new studio album, to be released sometime next year.

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KK: no regrets

Former Judas Priest guitarist and founding member KK Downing, who sensationally left the band back in 2011, has elaborated on his decision to leave the heavy metal legends, revealing that it wasn’t his own career that he felt was coming to a close…

“I’ll never get away from this ‘retirement’ thing. What happened was that I quit,” he tells The Midlands Rocks. “‘Retired’ implies that I am not physically able to do it. I am able to do it, but I didn’t want to do it; I just wasn’t enjoying it any more. A lot of things had changed. I think I counted about thirty reasons why I didn’t want to do it at the time, and that’s an awful lot of reasons.

“In all honesty I think that in so many respects it had run its course. If you’re part of a songwriting team you get the recognition and reward for creating something. But for me Priest became about going out and playing live and replicating exactly what people had enjoyed ten, twenty or thirty years ago.

KK with Judas Priest

“The fans would be just as happy if they could see us take them on a walk down memory lane – I think that’s what people enjoy most. And I understand that, because if I could go out now and see Eric Clapton with Cream then I would be the happiest person in the world.”

“If the industry was still healthy and people still had to spend their hard-earned money buying a record, it would be different.

“We used to buy an album and think, ‘Well it’s not that good, but I’ll play it a million times and I’m sure I’ll get into it.’ Now it doesn’t get a second chance.

“In the past there was always the opportunity to create a record like The Dark Side Of The Moon orBritish Steel or Back In Black that would be indelible, and people will always come back to. I think that opportunity has gone now – it would take a miracle for one of those to happen again.”

Meanwhile, Judas Priest look set to release a new album next year, despite many assuming they’d call it quits after their Epitaph “farewell”. tour

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Metal Hammer editor Alexander Milas got to see Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver legend Duff McKagan play a rather unique one-off show in London this week. Here’s what he saw…[photo credits: Julian Ward]

If you’re a music journalist then to an extent you’re in the business of telling stories – of getting to the marrow of what makes an artist tick, or perhaps more importantly what makes an artist an artist; the sweat and years, the spilled blood and moneyshots that elevate them above mere mortals and decree their right to stride out on stage and testify. Theirs is a language of skins and strings and lyrics that elevate them to god-like status. Telling the stories? That’s usually our job. Not tonight, though.

It’s the first installment of Rock Stars Say The Funniest Things, a few nights up at the Garage over the next few weeks that’ll feature Chris Jericho, Scott Ian, and tonight none other than Duff McKagan. So what to expect – fart jokes? That time Slash lost his hat? Perhaps more appropriately, it’s an evening referred to McKagan himself as a Punk Rock Revue, and as this giant of our world appears to the sound of Killing Joke’s Requiem blasting from the speakers, it’s clear that this is going to be far more than a mere walk down memory lane. With a bassist, drummer, and it should be said rather marvellous pedal-steel player at his side he simply pulls up a stool and – with a deep breath, begins to read.

The stage he’s probably more accustomed to is powered by fire and thunder, but tonight it’s his humility that commands, the understated simplicity of the setting that’s fascinating. As he recounts the highs and frequent lows that are summarised in his autobiography It’s So Easy (And Other Lies), you find yourself studying the lines on his face and wonder at what cataclysms put them there, or the tattoos on his arms and ponder at what chapter in his storied past they signify. The most sensational ones we already know – Guns N Roses, those brash outsiders storming a reluctant Hollywood like a wildfire and then taking on the world, their dizzying heights of fame, their very public meltdowns, and yeah, in Duff’s case, a cocktail and vodka habit that would keep him awake for days and lead to a pancreas so swollen that it leaked enzymes into his torso and burned him from the inside. But there are his other faces that fascinate – the Seattle native coming of age in a city drowning in heroin, the music-loving teenager witnessing DIY’s prehistory before that notion swept the globe like a tidal wave, and a young man fatefully choosing to flee to LA rather than New York because that’s as far as he could be certain his crappy car could carry him.

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