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Guitarhoo.com: What led to the formation of Judas Priest?
 
KK Downing: As I have said many times, Judas Priest were a very fine blues band led mainly by Al Atkins, but after tragically losing their guitarist, they disbanded. I auditioned for the job, but I wasn’t a blues player. Later, Al was at the rehearsal rooms and saw what me, Ian Hill and drummer John Ellis were doing. Al consented to joining so, Judas Priest #2 was born. Al was excellent as he never tried to push us in the blues direction but instead got right on board with us, going forward to the new direction we were pursuing.
 
Guitarhoo.com: Who came up with the name for the band and why?
 
KK Downing: I think the original Judas Priest took the name from a Bob Dylan song.
 
Guitarhoo.com: Was Judas Priest referred to as a heavy metal band since the beginning, if not what genre title was the band associated with?
 
KK Downing: To start with I think we were known as progressive blues, then progressive, then rock, then hard rock, then heavy rock, then heavy metal. All in a space of about five years.
 
Guitarhoo.com: On a lot of Priest songs you either traded off solo’s with Glenn Tipton, but occasionally one of you would handle the entire solo. How did the two of you work out who does what and where?

KK Downing: I think usually Glenn would indicate some of the solos he had a fancy for, and I would then do the remainder. It was all very amicable.
 
Guitarhoo.com: After being one of the founding members of Priest and having a long successful career with the band, you retired in 2011. What brought about your decision?
 
Downing: There had been an ongoing breakdown in working relationships between myself, elements of the band and management for some time.
 
Guitarhoo.com: Looking back at your career so far, what are some of your fondest memories?
 
Downing: I can’t really list the highs or lows as there have been too many to mention. Except for getting to where I am, and it is all thanks to the loyal fans.
 

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