Former JUDAS PRIEST and current KK'S PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing was the featured guest on BBC's "The Rock Show With Johnnie Walker" during the "Rock God" segment. Downing picked Jimi Hendrix and stated about his choice: "I first saw Jimi at Coventry Theatre way back in 1967, and what an amazing night that was. I was lucky enough to see Jimi no less than six times, including his two appearances at the Royal Albert Hall [in February 1969]. And yes, I was out there, at the stage door, autograph hunting. I was really lucky — Jimi arrived, and I managed to get his autograph, which was a real treat.
"I absolutely must tell the story about the Isle Of Wight festival where Jimi was performing [in August 1970]. Myself and a friend cunningly worked our way back to the dressing room area, which was outside, but Jimi, Noel and Mitch were in a caravan that they were using for a dressing room. And me and my friend, we hinged the window up and there they were, the three of the [JIMI HENDRIX] EXPERIENCE around a table with a couple of ladies. And myself and my mate, we managed to get a drumstick from Mitch and a Coke bottle that Jimi had just finished drinking a beverage from, and that was a real highlight of my whole life."
He continued: "Jimi could absolutely stir any audience up into a complete frenzy; they would jump from the balconies and they would rush the stage. And I know, because I was one of those fans that did just that."
Widely recognized as one of the most creative musicians of all time, Hendrix's influence with his genre-defying mix of blues, funk, soul jazz and R&B still impacts musicians worldwide today.
Hendrix pioneered the explosive possibilities of the electric guitar. His innovative style of combining fuzz, feedback and controlled distortion created a new musical form and his influence resonates to this day.
Jimi died of a drug overdose on September 18, 1970 at the age of 27.
Hendrix's 1968 album "Electric Ladyland", hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
KK'S PRIEST, which features Downing alongside Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals), guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE), will release its debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The LP's first single, "Hellfire Thunderbolt", was released earlier this month.
KK'S PRIEST will play select shows to mark the 50th anniversary of PRIEST and Downing's career as a founding member. KK'S PRIEST's setlist will consist of PRIEST classics and new songs.
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
In 2019, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band's upcoming 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.
In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST after Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.