K.K. Downing says “I should have put my foot down” and “played more guitar solos” in Judas Priest

K.K. Downing
(Image credit: Joey Foley/FilmMagic via Getty)

Former Judas Priest electric guitar player K.K. Downing recently took time to reflect upon his Priest playing days, and mused that he wished he had taken the opportunity to play more guitar solos while he was with the band.

Downing, who is gearing up to release his debut album with new group KK’s Priest, also commented on the current Judas Priest lineup, which comprises his replacement Richie Faulkner and Firepower producer Andy Sneap, who joined following Glenn Tipton’s retirement.

When quizzed by Greek site Rockpages (opens in new tab), Downing said (translation via Blabbermouth (opens in new tab)), “Judas Priest are different to me because I'm not a member. For me, it ended when I was not there. 

“The band is different now and that's good,” he continued. “But, I'm sure there are a lot of people who remember the band, the traditional Priest as they were when we were in great shape and sweeping the world.” 

Downing, who left the band a decade ago, says he still harbors some regrets over the extent to which he let loose on the fretboard of his Gibson Flying V, teasing he plans to rectify this in KK’s Priest’s upcoming album, Sermons Of The Sinner.

“Obviously,” he continued, “on this album here [Sermons Of The Sinner] there is plenty of guitar and solo. And I like that because I can play more on this album. 

“I should have played more in Priest. I should have put my foot down and said, 'Glenn, I need to play more solos, because I can.' So, now I can, which is great.” 

In fairness, you’d be hard-pressed to find a guitarist who says they want to play fewer guitar solos.

Three singles have so far been released from Sermons Of The Sinner, including Hellfire Thunderbolt, Brothers of the Road and the album’s title track, all of which hint towards Downing making good on his word of a more solo-driven effort.

Sermons Of The Sinner will be released this time next week (August 20) and is available to preorder now (opens in new tab).

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.