K.K. Downing Interview Page 5
By Bob Nalbandian & Fredrik Hjelm

FH: I recently spoke with Dave Mustaine from Megadeth about their new album The World Needs A Hero. And we were talking about the title - he was referring to the lack of real rock stars. Dave actually brought up Maiden and Priest, referring to the real rock stars, and not the grunged-out Kurt Cobain types with tennis shoes falling apart and such. How much did the Priest image - the physical appearance with leather and studs - help you in the beginning and do you feel it had a lot to do with your success?

KK: Yeah, definitely. If you have both the music and the image at the right time...I mean timing is crucially important. I think Dave has a good point there. We just did a bunch of festivals in Europe with Megadeth. It's an interesting seen over there in Europe, especially with a lot of the black metal bands. Musically, the potential of bands is fantastic - Dimmu Borgir - we had those guys on the bill with us. The original drummer from that band gave me his CD of his new band, and they sound great. He's a real kick-ass drummer, their new drummer is great as well. The imagery behind bands like Dimmu Borgir, Cradle Of Filth...live they are quite entertaining and they put on quite a show. The imagery of bands like that, and Slipknot, makes us look quite conservative.

FH: Do you tend to adapt to what the youngsters are looking for today?

KK: We always believe we need to put on an entertaining show for our fans. It's like everything is locked in and working together. We all wear different things onstage but it's still a uniform band. In the past, we had the great, big, spectacular shows, and a lot of things were choreographed and synchronized because it looks good and it emphasis the music in so many ways, whether you're rocking together or holding your guitars up. After the Painkiller tour, Rob left the band. And I think we were going in a direction that would continue metal in a new way, and I think it would have been real good! When we made Painkiller, Scott Travis had just joined the band, and he opened up a lot of new doors for Priest. He was obviously able to play the songs like "Painkiller" and "Metal Meltdown." But then we had a very stagnant, frustrating six-year period. And we didn't have a singer for that whole amount of time.

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