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KK Downing (JUDAS PRIEST) talks about Nostradamus

KK Downing (JUDAS PRIEST) talks about Nostradamus
BANDS : Judas Priest

If getting an interview with KK Downing is not that easy (our friends at Emag!c can tell you how many tens of calls and mails they had to exchange for that), I must admit that getting the answers themselves is not such a hard job. KK is very talkative, kind and not patronizing at all. When my colleagues interviewed UDO the described him as a very nice „grandfather in metal”. If I were to keep the line, I would say KK is a „very kind and wise uncle in metal”. Everything went smooth, except for several disturbing noises caused by the phone connection and me having to quickly change the recorder’s battery at some point. Well... plus a nervous me stuttering at some points. Brackets will mark the moments when the phone noise prevented me from hearing a word or another, and the stuttering as well :) . So, supplied with some questions by Klawz, here I go:



Metalfan: Why Nostradamus? How did you end up with the guy?
KK: We’ve spoken about a concept album long time ago and [...] I think that after „Angel Of Retribution” album people started asking „Where will Priest go now?”, „Where will Priest go from here?”. So we thought about it even more, you know. And, to be honest, our manager Bill Curbishley, who was involved with „Tommy” And „Quadrophenia” and all that, he actually flew out to one of the shows in the Baltic states and he said „You know, I’ve been thinking about it and I think this guy, Nostradamus, could be really good content if you have a read of what happened in his life and all the events that happened and all the intrigue and mystery that surrounded him. And 500 years later he’s still very famous, still very controversial”. And when we thought about it and read more and more about who he was and what he did it kind of tied in; instead of us actually inventing a character like another sinner or another fictional character – that we’ve often done, we thought that to have a real life character would have added a lot more depth and emotion to the album. As I said, the more we were educated with Nostradamus, we thought that actually to make the album around a real life person’s story had a lot of... attributes, really.

Metalfan: Do you think that the guy foresaw that in some 400 years after his death a heavy metal band will make an album about him? Do you think he had that capacity?
KK: No... hahaha, personally I don’t think so, I think that Nostradamus was a great experimenter and he professed to be a great seer but I think that what he believed that he saw – he couldn’t confirm himself that it was actually going to be reality at some point in the future, but I think he was kind of convinced that there was definitely something there. I mean, for example, I mean we didn’t go into his prophecies, we just thought his life was so intriguing that we did the album [about it – n.a.]. Apart from The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, which we chose to include (Death, Pestilence and Plague, Conquest and War), all the rest, although is not exactly chronological, still documents his life story from the beginning to the end. But I still think that some of his prophecies – for instance, he spoke about the twin towers, he spoke about „two hollow mountains” – I mean, there’s lots of intrigue there. I think that’s another good reason for making the record, because there is a lot of curiosity that surrounds it and I can’t think of anybody else that actually lived on the planet that has a much more intriguing story to be told.



Metalfan: Besides telling the story of Nostradamus’s life, is there a deeper message in this album?
KK: I think each of us in the band had different feelings, personally, had different feelings and sentiments and thoughts about it, but the way that I see it is that if Nostradamus was alive today and he would have been at our show tonight – I think we would have had much in common; with the young Nostradamus, at least. And if we were around at the time that he’d been we would have been great fans of his at the time. I mean he’s a metallurgist, an alchemist, I mean he was doing a lost of things that were really a little bit rebellious for the time. But for me, all of the things that Nostradamus went through – trying to be successful and trying to do good things for people, but still not being able to save his wife from the plague, even though he was a physician, and then he was prosecuted, sent into exile... you know, I think all of us metalfans, I think we all experienced a lots of those things even before we leave school, you know... Especially the prosecution from parents, from teachers, employers, lots of people. Nostradamus went through all that, but the thing is he actually found the strength and happiness and he lived to a good age and I think really the moral of the story for all the metalfans is that, even we know what prosecution is, we are a family and we are united and we should stay together, and music brings us together. And the message is for all the people who have gone through a lot of things: some people have messed their lives up, and some people have their lives messed up for them by other people – usually the parents – but if you stick it out, then hopefully like Nostradamus you can find happiness and live to a good age – that’s a good moral of the story for me.

Metalfan: Apart from the conceptual change [...] we also sense a change in the musical direction. Some of the fans even claimed that the album lacks energy, some other fans claimed the album is „diluted”. I wouldn’t necessarily call it one way or another, but we sensed a change at the basis of things. Were we right?
KK: Well you know.. Judas Priest have made a lot of records where there have been mini-songs and separate stories and you know... I think as we progress and we get older we still want to achieve more you know; and we want to make a good record for people to listen to, kind of a different way. This record, Nostradamus, is like when you sit and read a good book or watch to a good movie; we would like you to sit down and hopefully listen to a good record; and to follow the story and to see exactly why we made this record – you know. And it’s exactly one hour and forty minutes long, and to keep that energy level for exactly that time is difficult you know and I don’t thing it would work you know, but I think the beauty of the arrangements and the atmosphere and the motion – I think some people are totally switched on at the moment, I think some people are not so...



Metalfan: I also agree that Nostramdamus may take a while for some people to get into. But, talking about changes, you changed the logo on the cover of the album. What made you give up such a famous trademark?
KK:  We haven’t given it up. It’s just that the fact that we think that we were... we think that people have to regress 500 years in the past, obviously with the artwork and everything, and we decided to have this special one-off logo for Nostradamus, and it’s very very suitable to get across the period we are trying to create here, the kind of thing we were trying to create here; I mean let’s say if there had been a heavy metal album [...] 

Metalfan: How about the live performance of this album? Will Nostradamus ever be performed in its entirety?
KK: Yes, hopefully, you know. As the record grows and we’ll be playing some of the stuff here and there and you know we’ll be playing Romania this year and you know we’ll be playing some familiar stuff and bringing back stuff and you know we will be playing some Nostradamus stuff and I think when people say „play live” we have all that stuff altogether.  I think that all that stuff will going to be lots of fun and we’ll going to have such a fantastic show with Nostradamus. Obviously doing Nostradamus on the stage will be a great thing you know... It could even be educational...

Metalfan: Haha, my mother could benfit from this, she’s a teacher!
KK: Haha, you could even take your folks there and say „Look, mom, it's not all that bad, you know!”



Metalfan: Speaking of live performances, I’ve had the pleausre of seeing you twice – once in Vienna without Rob and once in Budapest with him; what else is new in this Bucharest performance?
KK: Obviously we have a new stage set and backdrops and props that we are using,... so people are talking about the new Judas Priest setlist for a long long time... and you’ll hear the songs that you’ve been waiting for such a long long time. Swo what I’ll say is that we’re full-on metal and, without giving it away, you’ll come and check it out, because it’s going to be pretty soon...

Metalfan: Hahahah! Yes, it’ true, I bought the tickets [...] How does it feel to come to Romania, when it’s all bits and pieces of information that you know about?
KK: Hahahaha! All I know so far is that (one) Romania is a place that we’ve never been before unfortunately, but (two) we’re coming this far and (three) we have loads and loads of fans there and in all honesty – I have to be totally honest with you – I’ll be hearing about how people are opening up, how beautiful they are, how people are opening up  about how people are working. And there’s the thing about people making their holidays  there and so on. I don’t know much about it, but I’d say that’s a good thing, because that’s why I’m really looking forward [to come]. That’s the beauty of being in a band – it gives you the opportunity to go to so many places for the first time and see for yourself what’s there. So I will be educated very soon.

Metalfan: So how is touring now, how does it feel when you are really really... grown up let’s say hahaha!
KK: In the early days, you think it’s really exciting and all that, but after all these years, especially now that the world is becoming a much bigger place – with so many countries that I’ve never been to before – it’s becoming even more exciting for us, because now, at our age, we can absorb so many things related to culture and history of the countries we go to. We actually make an effort to see more, you have to enjoy it more, because you kind of get the feeling you may never return again. And I’m not being morbid, life is wonderful now, but in this stage in life you never know what is going to happen [...] When you’re young you just jump on the bus and you don’t have to see everything, ‚cause there will always be another time. [At this age] you learn to be appreciative whenever you can.

Metalfan: Ok, let’s end with a very difficult and very cliche question, haha. How does it feel to be a heavy metal icon?
KK: Well, haha, it feel very very rewarding... You know, when I was a youngster growing up  it was a gamble, you know, against all odds, but now I’m very grateful to be here and even more grateful to the fans for their support that allows us to continue to play to the world and be a part of the music that we all love and we all call HEAVY METAL.

Metalfan: Thanks a lot for your time.
KK: Thanks a lot, see you there!

Autor: Tzugu
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Judas Priest

   June 26, 2008  | 4 Comments  | 10827 Views « BACK

Comment on: KK Downing (JUDAS PRIEST) talks about Nostradamus

  • Pacat ca nu mai au vechiul logo..fain interviul m/

    1. Posted by "Beware the Mosh in black, | 27 Iunie 2008 12:58
  • Mai ca mi-e mila de saracu KK ca a fost persecutat cand era mic de parinti!

    2. Posted by JohnBlack | 27 Iunie 2008 15:01
  • Sa vina,sa vina! Il asteptam pe acesti Metal Gods! m/

    3. Posted by Barbar | 28 Iunie 2008 18:36

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