Nine Questions

K.K. Downing is a guitarist and founding member of the legendary heavy metal band Judas Priest. With a career spanning nearly four decades, Priest recently released its latest effort, Angel of Retribution. Judas Priest will perform at Cricket Pavilion in Phoenix with Queensryche on Sunday, July 10. For tickets, visit

What was the first concert you ever saw?

That was a long time ago, in the mid-'60s, so we're going back. The first concert with some impact or consequence was Jimi Hendrix, around '67. He played at a small theater in England. I saw him the next night in Bristol, about 130 miles away.

What CDs are in your changer right now?

I'm old-fashioned; at home, I go through my vinyl collection.

How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?

Oh my god, I don't know. I don't think I'll ever get to count them. It's grown over the years.

Do you download music, and if so, legally or illegally?

No, I've never downloaded a thing. I've downloaded some guitar tablatures, but that's free. I don't have time or inclination (to download).

What was the first album you owned?

John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with Peter Green, A Hard Road. During my last year of school, I saw him play with Mick Taylor in some small hotel.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

That's a good one, really. Jimi's "Purple Haze," because that's what I would be going up in.

Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

Not really ... I can listen to some of the classical guitar players. I'm still happy playing the vinyl records I bought in the '60s, like Frampton Comes Alive. [Note: Frampton Comes Alive was actually released in 1976.]

What band or artist changed your life, and how?

Hendrix! Up until Jimi, I was going from job to job. When he came around, I decided by hook or crook, I was going to be a guitar player. It was nice to know that there was somebody out there on the same planet as me.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland. It was such a masterpiece.

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