Former Judas Priest Guitarist K.K. Downing Discusses His New Bands Album, ‘Sermons of the Sinner’

By Andrew Catania

K.K. Downing is a name that will resonate with heavy metal forever.  With his new band, K.K. is eager to get on the road to bring his new band to the masses.

I spoke with Ken about his new band, KK’s Priest, and album, Sermons of the Sinner.

I enjoyed Sermons of the Sinner.  Tim sounds really good. The band sounds really tight. 

KK: A good band yeah. Good live as well.

How did you get together with the other guys? Obviously with Tim, you have history. 
KK: Well Tim obviously.  AJ Mills (Hostile) the guitar player actually comes from the same place where I grew up. AJ’s Uncle and I went to school together so the introduction was made. I watched him grow up and hone his skills. It got to the point where he is a very proficient guitar player now. He looks good he plays well. He performs well so that’s good.

Tony Newton (Voodoo Six) the bass player he’s from the London area. I’ve known Tony for quite some time and Tony can do lots of things. He’s a great bass player. He can sing. He writes. He can produce. He can engineer. He records a lot of Maiden stuff live. Tony makes me do a couple of shows a couple of jam sessions. I really liked him and so that’s how that happened.

With our drummer I was hoping Les Binks a drummer from the 70s would
be able to join us but he wasn’t fit enough to do it.  so Tim knew of and Sean Elg
(DeathRiders/Cage) on drums. We gave Sean an opportunity and what a drummer he is. He is absolutely extraordinary. He is fantastic. He is really top-notch. Shawn really plays live and it couldn’t be any better.

With covid, it has delayed a lot of stuff. The album came out last year. Do you have any plans to tour soon?

KK: The guys are working on it. We did have some shows booked last year and the year before
but they were canceled. It’s still a bit tricky out there as we know. There is a backlog of gigs
waiting to be fulfilled but we are optimistic that we might be able to get something this year. We
are definitely free to go for next year if any promoters out there are listening. I’m sure the
opportunity will come along.

I have said this before and some Priests fans will disagree.  I tell people your band sounds more like Judas Priest than Judas Priest does.
KK: It’s probably more likely to because I know how I like guitars to sound.

And you were a songwriter in Priest for decades.

KK: Exactly! Bringing AJ on we are gonna gig together. I have said to him I kind of like the
classic sound. He was totally on board with that. I was able to help him get the classic sound
together with the way I like to hear it. The guitars are not overly saturated. The modern sound. I
wanted to sit somewhere along the journey with our guitar sound. I  like turning the clock
back a little bit to the late 70s early 80s. It’s a nice place to sit the guitars,

Painkiller is my favorite Priest album and Jugulator with Ripper is second.

KK: Yeah with the writing and the way I hear things because I have co-produced a lot of albums
with other producers is how I’m doing this. I just wanted to go on autopilot and also with Ripper
I have always fancied him singing songs like this. It was traditionally what you would expect
from these kinds of songs.

Former Judas Priest Guitarist K.K. Downing Discusses His New Bands Album, 'Sermons of the Sinner'

That’s where I think what’s left of Priest is more like the Rob Halford solo band these days.

KK: I’ve got to be honest and some of the fans might shoot me down but check it out I think that
Rob Halford’s solo band is sounding more Priest to be fair than the band does now. I don’t really
want to get into these pissing contests but that’s just my opinion when Roy Z and Mike Davis
were in the band. Check it out guys, they did a live album. They did Beyond the Realms of Death
and I’m thinking, is that us? Some of the songs on the Halford live album I’m thinking wow that
sounds questionable.

When they announced they were going on the road with just one guitarist, I was like you’ve got to be kidding me?!  That had to be the stupidest decision I’ve heard.  Priest has always been a dual guitar band.  Andy Sneap was pretty disappointed when he was told.  

KK: A very close friend of mine spoke to Andy and he was obviously quite upset. Which is very understandable. No one likes to get fired from a band. It brings you down. I
know Andy and Andy’s a good guy and I like him a lot. I’ve been up to his studio. He’s a good guy and he brings an awful lot to the table.

He’s not you though.

KK: I’m really surprised he’s going to go back in there. If that’s what he decides to do
knowing he was not wanted which is a bit strange.

Are you the main songwriter on The Sermons of the Sinner?

KK: I did all of this because I locked myself away for Christmas 2019. That December I locked
myself away and just wanted to secure knowing there’s some strong material there even before I
put the band together. When I do the music I need to know that the music will work with the
lyrics. I have to sing along as well to make sure that the music does actually work.

We still have great memories of old Priest.  The current Priest should be renamed the Rob Halford solo band.

KK: It’s another version of it it should be for sure.  When I think of Judas Priest the
images that bring to my mind are definitely downing the red pants and all of the images of Robs.
There are always these images that I think of because that is the way it was for so long.
As you say, the misinformation in 2010 hurt me really because those guys told everybody that I
retired to look after my golf course. That wasnt the case because we were all retiring. December
2010 we were being asked to think of the title to the farewell tour which we came up with
Epitaph. We were all ending the band. I have all of the emails. I was under pressure to do certain
things. I wasn’t happy that Robert released two studio albums that year. I wasn’t happy that he was doing his own world tour including OzFest that year. This is another reason why we were
finishing the band I guess. I had no idea. I did not want to do the farewell tour because i didn’t
believe in my heart of hearts that I was going to enjoy doing it. I didn’t want to end my whole
career and legacy during the tour. No, I wasn’t enjoying playing to fans because of certain things
that were going on. So I decided not to do the farewell tour. Now it hurts me when I hear fans go
Fuck KK man he quit the band to look after his golf no that’s not true.

It’s just rather strange how all of that went down.

KK: Ive got all the emails from the management.

Are you looking to release a new album this year?  I know you just released the debut but with Covid and not touring, fans might forget.

KK: I’ve been looking to release another album. Ive set the target for October. In fact the
last day of September as a target date because Sermons of the Sinner was released on the first of
October. To release two albums in one year would be a good target time.

SERMONS OF THE SINNER is an incredible collection of future metal classics, sure to be one of
the stand-out metal releases of 2021. K.K Downing’s genre-defining guitar style helped establish Judas Priest‘s iconic sound that helped propel them to one of the top Heavy Metal bands of all-
time, earning numerous accolades including a GRAMMY® in 2010 for “Best Metal Performance,” a total of five GRAMMY® nominations and multi-platinum and gold releases.

Full album tracklisting for SERMONS OF THE SINNER as follows
KK’S PRIEST is set to tour worldwide as soon as current restrictions are lifted. Details of touring to
be announced.
Connect with KK’S PRIEST via…
Website – www.kkspriest.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KKsPriest
Instagram – www.instagram.com/kkspriest

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