Old Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing recalled how he and his band Priest decided to play with two guitarists at the time and said it came after the record company asked them to create something new.
KK Downing was the guitarist of the heavy metal band Judas Priest. Appearing with the band from 1970 to 2011, Downing debuted with the band’s debut album Rocka Rolla in 1974. downingThe band’s last album with the band was the band’s sixteenth studio album in 2008, Nostradamus.
Before Priest released their first album in 1974, the record store told them they had to do something different because the genre had already black sabbath, Led ZeppelinWhere To free. After the proposal KK Downing had started thinking about what they could do for the album. Decide to have the band’s current guitarist Glenn Tipton in the group, Judas Priest officially arrived at the sound of twin guitars.
As some of you may recall, Judas Priest had announced on January 10 that they would be playing the next leg of the band’s 50th anniversary tour as 4 musicians, outside of the band’s tradition. But five days after the announcement, on January 15, Priest reversed his decision and announced that they were unanimous to continue their concerts in 5 musicians.
However, during his recent interview with The Rock Show with Lee Grahamex-guitarist Downing revealed how PriestThe idea of two guitarists arose. At first, guitarists said the goal was to be heavy. He also mentioned what the record store told them to make a deal. According to him, the record company asked them to be joined by a keyboardist, but Priest rejected.
“We were just a four-piece for quite a long time, really,” said downing. “And that particular time kind of set a precedent, I think, for everything that I thought was on my mind as best I could do, really.
“The goal was to be heavy, whatever that means. And what that really meant was being emotional with an attitude and being different from what other people were doing, because what other people were doing had a different target audience. So that was sort of what it was all about.
“And then, over time, the idea came… We managed to get a record deal but they said, ‘Listen, there are too many bands that have the same line-up – Free, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, whatever.
“And if you had a saxophonist? And I say, ‘No way. You can keep your recording contract. ‘A keyboard player?’ ‘No. Sorry.'”
Downing admits he thought the idea of performing with two guitarists was good for Judas Priest
downing then said he sat down and thought about what they could do differently in their playing style. Explaining why he thought it was a good idea to play with two guitarists, the former guitarist of Priest admitted that the second guitarist filled in the sound while he was doing the solo. He also commented Glenn Tipton‘s induction into the band and said they did well during their tenure in the band.
“So I sat down and thought about it,” he continued. “I was like, ‘Can we sign a record deal and appease these guys?’ And I’m thinking maybe a second guitarist.
“And I really thought that was a good idea, for a lot of reasons. It would fill out the sound when I do a solo. And I think if we can find another guitarist who can write, and he be also lead guitarist, we will be two lead guitarists, two strong songwriters, it will strengthen the band.
“And musically, we can venture into worlds that people haven’t entered yet. I had this crazy idea that you can create heavy harmonies. And we tried that. Because generally the harmonies…
“Because back then you heard bands like The Allman Brothers and the James Gang and the great Wishbone Ash, and I wasn’t a big fan because it sounded a little too light. Because that’s what harmonies do – when you start building harmonies, they start to look like chord structures, which they inevitably will, because harmonizing with a note will create a chord.
“So I think we’re going to create… And we ventured out. And we finally did. There are diminished harmonies. You can stack minor thirds together – great. This won’t appeal to many people too much, but to me it sounded good; it was dissonant.
“We came together [with Glenn Tipton]. And obviously, musically, what Glenn and I put together might not always agree, but I had a great appreciation, and I think Glenn did too, is the fact that a group is a combination of people.
“And so some of the more melodic stuff, the kinda more commercial stuff that Glenn would come up with, I was okay with it because I think if we’re really going to be successful with our music, then we really need to broaden our horizons. And obviously , the combination worked incredibly well.
After Priest decided to go as a 4 piece band, downing had shared his honest opinion on the matter. Admitting that he was one of those who remained puzzled after the decision, the guitarist added that it was extremely insulting.
“I am like everybody else” downing noted. “I am totally puzzled. It was so extreme and insulting in a way, I guess, and also insulting to Glenn. It was kind of a slap in the face, going, “Okay, you two did it, but we think one guy could do what…”
“It kind of made us say, to everything we’ve done and created, that everything was superfluous, really, and didn’t really have the value that…I’m sure Glenn will agree with me that that has a value.
“[This is] very, very strange for [them] even think about [the possibility of going out as a quartet]. There must be, of course, something behind the scenes that we don’t know.
“It’s a little awkward for me, guys, because between me and Glenn, it’s Judas Priest for me. I think I have the right to say that, having spent a lifetime in the band .