Founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K Downing spoke to KNAC.COM about "Sermons Of The Sinner", the upcoming debut album from KK'S PRIEST, his new band with ex-JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, along with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE). On the topic of how the project came about, Downing said: "I think it's probably been at least 18 months since I first sat down and thought, 'I wonder if I can write a record.' And it just came to me so fast. So, I had basically all the songs and the contents and the direction and everything within four weeks. So, that is when I really started to press buttons and get everything into motion. At that time, I think there was an option. If we could've delivered the record up in, like, six months, then we could've gone out and done some shows. And that was what was happening back then. And we did have some offers on some shows, but the COVID thing started to dig in, and everything kind of ground to a bit of a halt. I kind of took the pedal off the metal for a little bit then, and I thought, 'Okay, what's there is really good, and I like it, but now, with time, manpower and money, things could always be better.' So I afforded myself the luxury of pulling back, taking stock, and just making sure that it was as good as it could be, really."
Asked if he collaborated with other people on the material for "Sermons Of The Sinner", Downing said: "Well, originally I didn't because we were spread miles apart, with the travel restrictions. But to start off, it wasn't too bad, but I didn't know what I had — or didn't have — in me. The last thing you want to do is to present music that isn't very good to fellow musicians, because they would know the difference between something pretty good and something crap. So, I kind of got stuck in myself, because I felt the onus was on me in a big way. Having written so many songs previously, over so many decades, I had to kind of turn the tap on, to see what came out, if anything at all. [Laughs] And it came out, and I just ran with it, but you need to embellish it, and embellish it. And so I got the other guys together as best I could, but everything had been demoed. And we were fortunate enough to get Ripper and Sean for just a space of time to complete the task, really. So, that's kind of what happened, because I do feel the material had a lot of the essential ingredients. In my mind I kind of have this little switch for quality control, and I either like it or I hate it. It is difficult. And so I didn't know what it would be like either to write with other people after being used to a songwriting trio for so many years, you know? So, I wanted to see what I could do with just myself. But now already, the way things are, I'm working on material for the second album, and we'll be doing that together, obviously."
Read the entire interview at KNAC.COM.
"Sermons Of The Sinner" will be released on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The LP's first single, "Hellfire Thunderbolt", came out last 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 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.
Downing's autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September 2018 via Da Capo Press.