K.K. DOWNING: “TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS 'is the best metal singer on the planet today”
In a new interview with Japanese music critic and radio personality Masa Ito, former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Kenneth “K.K.” Downing spoke about his current band KK’S PRIEST in which he is joined by another ex-JUDAS PRIEST member, singer Tim “Ripper” Owens. Regarding whether his approach to writing music and performing with KK’S PRIEST is the same as it was during his long tenure with JUDAS PRIEST, K.K. said: “Yes, it’s the same. I’m the same — the same, the same ears, the same mind, the same desire for the music and the passion for heavy metal. And I’m proud of all of the fans and everything that we’ve created on this massive lifetime journey. Masses have been there with us — all of the fans, in Japan and the rest of the world, have been on that journey. They’ve seen it all evolve from nothing into something fantastic. I have the same amplifiers, the same guitars, the same equipment. I produce the same sound. I am the same person. I can’t change. Nothing can change that. And my writing style, everything I do, it’s no different. It’s just a variation of everything else. The songs, they’re different songs, but everything is the same. To me, it’s the same. I think, yeah, a lot of what I do now could be on ‘Stained Class’ or ‘British Steel’ or ‘Painkiller’ — it all has that synergy. It’s got to, because I am the entity from beginning and I’m never gonna change. The only difference is now I’m playing with different guys. And I’m really, really happy.”
He continued: “I do believe that Ripper Owens is the best metal singer. He has the best, best voice on the planet today. He’s even better now than he even ever was. He’s great, and he needs to be acknowledged as that. And that’s why with this band, we all have the platform to continue something, hopefully, that will continue and be well respected and certainly something I think the fans will really enjoy the genuineness and the legitimacy of what we do.”
As for whether KK’S PRIEST will continue to play JUDAS PRIEST songs in its set, K.K. said: “Yes, I’m gonna play songs that I wrote on stage because I like them, I’m proud of them, and I think the fans like to hear them. I think they like to hear me play the original version of ‘Victim Of Changes’ or ‘Breaking The Law’. I think they like to hear a guitar player with the guitar sound, with the fingers that created those songs. I think that’s a nice part of it. Maybe one day we’ll play all KK’S PRIEST songs. I don’t know. I just think we shouldn’t think too deeply about anything. We’ve just gotta put a setlist together. We’ll go out there and play songs and enjoy it. And the fans will be with us. And I’m very much looking forward to playing many, many more shows for everyone around the world.”
Watch “Hymn 66” below.
KK’S PRIEST released its second album, “The Sinner Rides Again”, on September 29 via Napalm Records. In celebration the band released the second single of the album “Hymn 66”.
Watch “Hymn 66” below.
K.K. Downing says about “Hymn 66” and today’s album release:
“It’s time to take a look into another world – a world where the most powerful have to succumb to enduring their penance for all eternity. So best beware, as those of the highest power may one day gather to summon you as their victim, and be certain there will be no escape as your presence will be demanded by singing ‘Hymn 66’!
I am truly excited that the time has come to release our second album, The Sinner Rides Again. I hope that fans all over the metal world will enjoy it, and I am looking forward to playing these songs for you on our upcoming world tour.”
Watch the previously released “One More Shot At Glory” below.
Downing says about “The Sinner Rides Again”: “To continue the legacy of the traditional rock and metal that I have been so fortunate to be a part of for over 50 years, this latest album, ‘The Sinner Rides Again’, has been created to take the listener on a journey that is both real and fictional with its characters, although sometimes ambiguous. These songs allow the imaginations of all fans of this wonderful genre of music to escape reality and join with us to continue our heavy metal experience into the future.”
Downing adds regarding the band’s signing with Napalm Records: “With a brand new record that needed placement with a great record label, we discussed the labels we liked, and Napalm Records was one of those companies. It’s fair to say that Napalm is a leader in the heavy metal genre and has been for a long time now. They have a fantastic roster of both established and new bands and artists that are a force to be reckoned with. So it’s a roster of some of the top and leading metal bands in the world today, and for the foreseeable future. I am pleased to say that we are excited about partnering with Napalm Records and we look forward to working together.”
Sebastian Münch, senior A&R at Napalm Records, adds: “K.K. Downing has created, with the sophomore album ‘The Sinner Rides Again’, an absolutely brilliant heavy metal masterpiece — one, I believe, that will stand the test of time and will be listened to by metal fans around the world for many, many years. K.K. Downing is a genius and Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens‘s vocals are simply mesmerizing! Napalm Records is absolutely proud to help continue to build this legacy.”
The art for “The Sinner Rides Again” was created by artist Andy Pilkington.
“The Sinner Rides Again” track listing:
01. Sons Of The Sentinel
02. Strike Of The Viper
03. Reap The Whirlwind
04. One More Shot At Glory
05. Hymn 66
06. The Sinner Rides Again
07. Keeper Of The Graves
08. Pledge Your Souls
09. Wash Away Your Sins
The Sinner Rides Again will be available in the following formats:
-1CD Digipak Edition
-1LP Gatefold in Black
-Wooden Box Edition (incl. Digipak, Flag, Logo Wristband, Artprint, Patch) – Napalm Mail Order only, limited to 500
-1LP Gatefold in Marbled Orange and Black – Napalm International (excl. North America) Mail Order only, limited to 300
-1LP Gatefold in Transparent Orange – Napalm North American Mail Order only, limited to 300
-1LP Gatefold in Orange, Blue and Black Inkspot – Napalm Mail Order only, limited to 500
-Cassette Tape Edition in Red with White Print – Napalm Mail Order only, limited to 200
KK’S PRIEST will embark October U.K. headlining tour. The “Priests, Killers & Witches” tour starts at the O2 Institute in Birmingham on Saturday, October 7, and visits London, Glasgow, Manchester and Nottingham. Special guest on all dates will be former IRON MAIDEN vocalist Paul Di’Anno who will be performing a full set of classics straight from the first two MAIDEN records, and opening up the bill is BURNING WITCHES.
KK’S PRIEST live one-offs:
March 2-7, 2024 – Monsters of Rock Cruise
KK’S PRIEST w/ Paul Di’Anno & Burning Witches across the UK in October:
October 7, 2023 – Birmingham @ O2 Institute
October 8, 2023 – Glasgow @ SWG3
October 10, 2023 – Nottingham @ Rock City
October 11, 2023 – Manchester @ O2 Ritz
October 12, 2023 – London @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
KK’S PRIEST is:
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals
K.K. Downing – Guitar
A.J. Mills – Guitar
Tony Newton – Bass
Sean Elg – Drums