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6 май 2015|
Former JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist K.K. DOWNING Looks Back On 'Defenders Of The Faith' Album
Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing has has posted the following message in the "blog" section of his Steel Mill web site:
"In 1984, PRIEST 'Defenders Of The Faith' tour sold out Madison Square Garden! Now that was what you call a memorable gig, exuberant fans decided to fill the stage with foam cushions from their seats. It was crazy, but full-on metal. In the end of the night, [the stage] was completely two to three cushions deep, making it impossible for us to walk on as it became like one big trampoline. However, it was great fun. I remember how we laughed so much, it was difficult to continue to play, but, of course, we did!
"The result of this amazingly unusual gig was a ban for life from the venue, but we did not care, as it was truly a night to remember.
"I think that you may all agree that the 'Defenders' stage set was possibly the most metal of all PRIEST sets and also the most synonymous with both PRIEST and with metal!
"It was a tough task to follow the success of 'Screaming For Vengeance', but I think it is testimony to PRIEST that there was no conscious effort to write single-orientated songs for 'Defenders'. In fact, we never did that. If a song became popular for radio, it was just what happened. As the title and song says, 'we are defenders of the (metal) faith' and very proud of it.
"The opening two tracks on this album, for me, are seriously the way to open a metal album; 'Freewheel Burning' and 'Jawbreaker' are a combination that for me is hard to get tired of. It was also great to play most of this album on the tour, which, I guess, also pays tribute to the album, as it is always difficult to present new material live. It is usual to allow a record to be well digested and to see what tracks become favourites before risking putting too many songs in the set list. For example, in 1990, I think we put five songs in the set list from 'Painkiller', but after a week or so on tour, we dropped tree songs. Such was the demand for our established songs. Now I guess PRIEST would be well received if the whole 'Painkiller' album was played. Now there's a thought?
"I must say a big thank you to [producer] Tom Allom and [engineer] Mark Dodson for their part in 'Defenders' as they too are real defenders of the faith."
Downing, who is a founding member of the British heavy metal legends and was part of the group since 1969, announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011. He has since been replaced by Richie Faulkner, most recently guitarist in the backing band for Lauren Harris (daughter of IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris).
Speaking about his decision to leave PRIEST, Downing told DigitalJournal.com: "I felt that a lot of the spark wasn't there — for whatever reason — anymore on stage. I felt that I had it, but I felt it wasn't what I originally signed up for...
"I always thought that JUDAS PRIEST should have been a high-energy outfit and ultra-sharp, but I wasn't enjoying it as much on stage as I should have been.
"All that travelling and living out of a suitcase and spending so much time in planes, vans, cars and trains, you have to really enjoy the concerts. You have to musically get on a high and that carries you through, but if you're not enjoying it like you should, then it becomes a lot of hard work because you've still got to do the interviews and be pushed and pulled around the place."
Asked if he has ever regretted his decision to leave, Downing said: "I don't regret leaving, because, to me, I thought that it had run its course. I miss what we had, but I don't particularly miss what we had become when I left… You can look at YouTube and see JUDAS PRIEST playing at the US Festival, or at Live Aid, and I miss being at the pinnacle of the band. I miss that energy and youthfulness and just delivering all of that up.
"You become a certain age and I think that I would have been happy if, as I said, I was enjoying the shows. There's disagreements with how things should be done and I thought if I'm outnumbered, then it's time to go...
"But I suppose we did fantastically well. I mean 40 years is great and I commend the guys for going back out. I was just watching a bit of their first concert of the [fall 2014] tour in Rochester, New York, and it was great. Band sounded good and I'm happy that they continue.
"I sent an email saying 'good luck with the new tour, guys' to the management office. I do wish them well and I commend them highly for being out there and carrying on the legacy."
JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford and guitarist Glenn Tipton recently said that there were no plans for Downing to rejoin the band on the road anytime soon, despite Internet chatter to the contrary. Asked by New York radio personality and VH1 Classic "That Metal Show" co-host Eddie Trunk if there was any truth to the rumor that Downing was at one point going to contribute to the songwriting process for the band's new album, "Redeemer Of Souls", and possibly play some shows with the group alongside his replacement, Faulkner, Tipton said: "There's no plans for that. Ken didn't get involved in the writing of the album and there are no plans for him to join us on tour."
He continued: "I mean, Ken was quite honest when he left. He made it clear to us that he wanted limited conection with us because he didn't wanna try and get us to talk him into going back into the band. And we honored his request, really."
Added Halford: "That's the way the social media works. People think if they read something on the Internet, it's true. [laughs] 'Well, it's on the Internet. I mean, it's on the Internet.' It's just one of these unfortunate rumors that kind of put things into people's minds."
Downing in 2011 shot down as "inaccurate" reports that he left JUDAS PRIEST because he chose to concentrate on running the 18- and nine-hole golf courses on his property.
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