JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing checks in with the following year-end update:
“Season’s greetings to all! ‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’… as the song goes. And we have certainly got plenty of it in the UK. However, I can’t complain, because it is very rare that we have a white Christmas these days. I remember as a kid praying for tons of the stuff, especially as it could possibly mean that we would not have to go to school.
Moving on, I can’t remember ever having to cancel a gig because of bad weather, which is a complete miracle as we have had to battle through some horrendous conditions. Many times I can remember winter tours, especially in Europe. Painkiller comes to mind as we toured in Helsinki early February, it could not have been colder and they must have had as much snow as the North Pole. Especially as about a week before playing in sunny and hot Rock in Rio.
Speaking of Painkiller, please check out the Painkiller interview in this month’s updates. Also, try giving the HOSTILE Player (here; right-hand-side) a spin as it contains part of the song ‘Addiction’ that I composed especially for the band. Hostile are a young, hard-hitting metal band from my home town, lead singer Jay is just 18 years old. They have just played in Birmingham supporting HATEBREED and are currently performing showcase gigs for prospective record companies with the hope of getting a release date for their debut album Eve Of Destruction. That was also produced by me.
O.K. I am going to keep this blog nice and short as I am sure you all have lots of presents and stuff to wrap. Again, have a great holiday season, my special thanks as always to the dedicated Millworkers and their families and here’s to a rocking metal 2011!”
As mentioned, Downing is interviewed by the Steel Mill’s Jari Asell about the 20th Anniversary of Judas Priest’s legendary Painkiller opus. Here are a few excerpts from the chat:
Steel Mill: Your album Painkiller just passed the 20 years mark. Let’s go back in time when you finished the Ram It Down-Mercenaries Of Metal -Tour. You had a triumphant decade, did you have any thoughts about how to begin the 1990s?
Downing: “No, I don’t think so, I think as musicians/songwriters it’s always a case of not being sure of what will happen until you get your teeth into the songwriting and seeing what comes out, then depending on what does, the precedent is set for everything else.
Steel Mill: When writing songs, was your goal to produce Priest’s heaviest album (that far)?
Downing: “Not initially, but as the album started to grow we enjoyed the energy that we were creating. Now that we had Scott, we were sure going to see what he had in the tank.
Steel Mill: You had a wonderful time (1979-1988) with “Colonel” Tom Allom. How did you come to choose your old buddy (Sad Wings Of Destiby/1976) Chris Tsangarides to produce Painkiller?
Downing: “I am not totally sure, but Tom may have been involved with other things and it seemed a nice idea to meet up and work with Chris again.”
Steel Mill: The Painkiller stage set was phenomenal, a real statement in conjuction of the album theme. The support bands were among the hardest as well: MEGADETH and TESTAMENT, and later PANTERA and ANNIHILATOR. Any anecdotes you would like to share here?
Downing: “Yes! A very enjoyable tour and memories, I speak of it quite often, in fact I was just telling some friends yesterday how we went sightseeing in Rome with Pantera to the Coliseum and places like that. We had many laughs together on that tour, I can never forget that Dime R.I.P used to go busking in the streets, I saw a piece of film once with him doing that, it was so funny, in fact I will check if I can find it on YouTube, it’s a must to see. There was so much talent in Pantera and Annihilator and they were so humble, it must have been very tough for them and all of their crews to share one bus. They used to crack us up so much when they would form a queue outside our dressing rooms in the hope that we would spot them some beers, which of course we always did. Happy days!”
Read the entire interview here.