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Formed in Birmingham in 1968, Judas Priest, with its distinctive twin-guitar sound, studs and leather image, became the archetypal heavy metal band in the 1980s with international sales of over 50 million records. Iconic tracks like ‘Breaking the Law’, ‘Living after Midnight’ and ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’ helped the band achieve extraordinary success in America but, as popular as they’ve been over the past five decades, no one from the band has stepped out of the stage lights to tell their or the band’s story. Well, founding member K.K. Downing has had enough of that.
As the band approaches its golden anniversary, fans will at last be able to delve backstage into the decades of shocking, hilarious, and haunting stories that surround the heavy metal institution. Downing discusses frontman Rob Halford’s hidden sexuality, the personality conflicts (particularly with Glen Tipton), the business screw-ups, the acrimonious relationship with fellow heavy metal band Iron Maiden, and how Judas Priest was at ground zero for the parental outrage against heavy metal in the ’80s, blaming it for the rampant drug abuse and suicides among teenagers. He reveals the life-changing moment when he looked at his bandmates on stage during a 2010 concert and thought, ‘This is the last show’. Whatever the topic, whoever’s involved, K.K. doesn’t hold back.
From the band at its beginning to his retirement in 2010 (and even still as a member of the band’s board of directors), Downing has seen it all and is now finally at a place in his life where he can also let it all go. Even if you’re a lifelong fan, if you think you know the full story of Judas Priest, well, you’ve got another thing coming.
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