Chad Radford of CreativeLoafing.com recently conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing. An excerpt from the chat follows below.CreativeLoafing.com: When Rob Halford [vocals] came back into the band in 2004 give JUDAS PRIEST a spark of renewed energy? Downing: Yes, I really do think so. You know, he really was gone for a good long while. We went back and forth across the world a few times with Tim Owens, as did Rob with his new band at the time. It was good, and a lot of things changed for all of us. It was a period of growth for everyone, but JUDAS PRIEST hasn't ever had a formula or stuck to the same tricks with each new album. It was all part of evolving, and when Rob came back into the group, we all just kind of picked up the pieces were we left off. He needs to be here, I think of it like QUEEN without Freddy Mercury or IRON MAIDEN without Bruce Dickinson. He belongs in JUDAS PRIEST and that's what people want to see, they want the spectacle; the real thing. CreativeLoafing.com: Speaking of spectacles, tell me about your love for the Flying V guitar. Downing: I don't know… It kicked off years ago, I guess. Maybe it was just the fact that they were a pretty obscure instrument and they had a dynamic look. There were very few of them made and very few of them available — pretty special, really. And being a guy way back then… If you want to get noticed when you're putting a band together, all of those things; the add-ons that you can just have in your band that other people don't have really go a long way. There is so much criteria that goes into putting a band together, and that was a large part of it, really. People want to remember what they saw as well as what they heard. I think about the first time that I saw the great Jimi Hendrix, and I remember how flamboyant he was and how visual he was and just how charismatic he was and how he put it all down into one thing. Visually it was very important. It wasn't really until we did "British Steel" that we realized this. I often hear people talk about that album and ask what it is about "British Steel" that makes it feel so very cathartic. I think it was the album where JUDAS PRIEST got to where they wanted to be in terms of all of these things. The leather, the studs, the album's cover art with the razor blade, the songs…. Everything was consolidated around that album, and particularly the band's image. Everybody in the band was totally clad in leather and studs from that album onwards. Up until that album we were aspiring to be that image, and with "British Steel" we hit it. CreativeLoafing.com: I just watched the video for "Breaking the Law" and thought that you guys were dressed down a bit for that video. Downing: You know, if you're going to rob a bank, you don't want to look like a bank-robber, do you? Do you know what I mean? He was a very clever guy, Julien Temple, the guy who directed that video. But we do have a lot of costumes on in there. He's got us dressed up in priest's outfits and he had us doing all sorts of things. We had a lot of fun making that video, and obviously, we did carry it further with the leather and things like that when we were playing live. It was just another step in making it to the PRIEST armor that we used onstage. Read the entire interview at CreativeLoafing.com.
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