Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Judas Priest: No K.K., no problem

Judas Priest fans are enjoying the band these days, new kid or not.

Prior to the start of their Epitaph tour, guitarist Kenneth “K.K.” Downing announced his retirement from the band, sending shockwaves amongst fans.

Looks like those shockwaves have died down, as new addition Richie Faulkner is, to borrow one of their own album titles, deliverin’ the goods.

Richie is an altogether great talent. An absolutely excellent guitarist,” bassist Ian Hill tells the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner. “He does what Ken did, plus his own little traits. He's a great performer and character. We've been really lucky to find him. Even the way we found him — we weren't even looking. [laughs] Someone (else) was going to take over for Ken, and they couldn't do it, and it was him. You find what you can. We had a chat with him and gave him a go, and thank God. The crowd is taking to him well, and with all due respect to Ken, no one's missing him. [laughs] No one's asking about Ken.”

No feedback, at all, about K.K. not being on stage these days with the Priest? “No, and you'll know why when you see Richie perform,” says Hill.

K.K.’s retirement did catch Priest by surprise, admits the bassist, who goes back with K.K. to their schooldays. “We were all absolutely stopped in our tracks. When he came up and announced that he didn't want to carry on. Richie knew for a month that he had the job, but God bless him, he kept his mouth shut. [laughs] We said, "Richie, if he doesn't come back, you've got the job." He must have been waiting to tell somebody.”

K.K. made it clear that it wasn't his health or his golf interests. Was it songwriting differences or a disagreement on whether this should be the final tour? “I don't know. Anything I say would be speculation,” says Ian. “Personally, I think he had enough. Out of all of us, maybe he's the one who enjoyed it the least. If you ever get the opportunity, that's something you'd have to ask him.”

Read more at the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner here.

Priest kick off the North American portion of their Epitaph tour October 12 in San Antonio, Texas.

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