K.K. Downing Interview Page 4
By Bob Nalbandian & Fredrik Hjelm

BN: Do you see the more traditional European metal style becoming more popular here in America over the next few years? There are more and more American bands emerging playing traditional metal, like you mention Nevermore, also Iced Earth, Jag Panzer, DC Cooper, Symphony X, etc...

KK: Like I said before, we need bands that can come up with the goods, really. It's almost as though the breeding grounds for future rock/metal stars isn't there anymore. It's a difficult industry, and everybody wants something new. America now, just within the last ten years, you've gone through the Seattle sound, the rap-metal stuff, the Nine-Inch-Nails industrial stuff and all that sort of thing. So the pressure on new bands...it must be very difficult to get your foot through the door nowadays. Having built up a good fan-base throughout the '70s, '80, and '90s - we can still go out there and work. But the best a lot of these new traditional metal bands can do is to hope to get third on the bill just to get some sort of exposure.

BN: As you mention, bands like Priest, Sabbath, Scorpions, AC/DC etc. have built up a following over the last 30 some-odd years, gaining new fans along the way. But the industry today...they expect that debut album to go platinum, or even double-platinum. These days, if a debut album only sells gold, it's usually considered a disappointment. There is no such thing as longevity anymore, so these bands only last a couple years and then fizzle out. The bands don't have a chance to mature, and then they're thrown out there on tour and they look and sound like a bunch of amateurs.

KK: Yeah, right. We got signed to Atlantic last year basically because of the stature of the band, but in reality, labels don't want to sign anything that they can't put on MTV next week. And these metal bands, as good as they may be, can only last and survive so long. It's difficult. And bands like us and the Scorpions...we're not gonna be around forever - eventually we're gonna self-combust and die of old-age (laughs.)

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