Kenneth “K.K.” Downing, the former guitarist of Judas Priest, recently shared a video reflecting on the band’s iconic album “Defenders Of The Faith” as it reaches its 40th anniversary. He fondly recalls the recording process, spanning from Spain to Florida, and expresses his affection for the album, listing tracks like ‘Freewheel Burning’, ‘Jawbreaker’, ‘Rock Hard, Ride Free’, and ‘The Sentinel’. Downing invites fans to share their favorite tracks and anticipates celebrating the 50th anniversary in a decade.
This album, certified platinum in 1984, is known for its headbanging classics. In 2015, a three-CD version was released, featuring a remastered original album and a live recording from the “Defenders” tour in California. Downing reminisces about a memorable Madison Square Garden gig during this tour, which ended in a lifetime ban from the venue due to fans filling the stage with foam cushions, turning it into a trampoline-like surface.
He praises the ‘Defenders’ stage set as the most metal and synonymous with Judas Priest. Downing highlights the band’s commitment to metal, noting they never consciously wrote single-oriented songs. He also discusses the challenges of introducing new songs on tour, sharing an anecdote from the ‘Painkiller’ tour.
Downing left Judas Priest in 2011, citing band conflicts and management issues. His attempts to rejoin for the band’s 50th-anniversary tour were rebuffed. He had sent two resignation letters when quitting, the first polite and the second more frustrated, which he believes played a role in not being invited back after Glenn Tipton retired from touring.