Da Capo Press has set a September 18 publication date for “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest”, a memoir by Kenneth “K.K.” Downing, the co-founder and former lead guitarist of heavy metal giants JUDAS PRIEST. The book was co-written by the Scottish author and journalist Mark Eglinton, whose previous collaborations include “Official Truth, 101 Proof” with Rex Brown of PANTERA and “Confessions Of A Heretic” with BEHEMOTH‘s Adam “Nergal” Darski.
“Heavy Duty” official book synopsis: “JUDAS PRIEST formed in the industrial city of Birmingham, England, in 1968. With its distinctive twin-guitar sound, studs-and-leather image, and international sales of over 50 million records, JUDAS PRIEST became the archetypal heavy metal band in the 1980s. Iconic tracks like ‘Breaking The Law’, ‘Living After Midnight’ and ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’ helped the band achieve extraordinary success, but no one from the band has stepped out to tell their or the band’s story until now.
“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. In ‘Heavy Duty’, guitarist K.K. Downing discusses the complex personality conflicts, the business screw-ups, the acrimonious relationship with fellow heavy metal band IRON MAIDEN, as well as how JUDAS PRIEST found itself at the epicenter of a storm of parental outrage that targeted heavy metal in the ’80s. He also describes his role in cementing the band’s trademark black leather and studs image that would not only become synonymous with the entire genre, but would also give singer Rob Halford a viable outlet by which to express his sexuality. Lastly, he recounts 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.
“With the band at the beginning through 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.”
Downing announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011. He has since been replaced by Richie Faulkner, who was once the guitarist in the backing group for Lauren Harris, daughter of IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris.
During a 2015 interview with Guitar International, Downing elaborated on his reasons for leaving PRIEST. He said: “I had lots and lots of reasons for not continuing, as I wasn’t content with things as they were. I wasn’t happy with the band’s live performance. I thought it could have been better; not that the fans would notice. To me, PRIEST was always a stealth machine and that’s what I liked about it. Even though you get older, you still need to be able to deliver the goods. People came a long way and paid a lot of money to see us, so you’ve got to make sure you still give 110 percent. I thought that should be inherent and what it should always be.”
K.K. also said that he didn’t think his return to PRIEST would “ever, ever happen.” He explained: “Obviously I’m quite happy for Richie Faulkner to be in the band. But I really wasn’t expecting to have someone who had so many familiarities as me, the looks and everything. At a glance, nothing too much has changed for the fans.”