Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest (Hardcover)
Get a backstage pass and see Judas Priest like you’ve never seen them before in this electrifying memoir by the band’s cofounder and former lead guitarist.Judas Priest formed in the industrial city of Birmingham, England, in 1969. 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 Comin'" 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 2009 concert and thought, "This is the last show." Whatever the topic, whoever's involved, K.K. doesn't hold back.
About the Author
Ken "K.K." Downing is a guitarist and founding member of heavy metal band Judas Priest. He formed the band at the age of sixteen after getting kicked out of his home by his abusive father and the band eventually found success during the New Wave of British heavy metal in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. K.K. retired from the band in 2011 and lives in Shropshire, England.
Mark Eglinton is a frequent cowriter whose previous collaborations include Official Truth, 101 Proof with Rex Brown of Pantera and Confessions of a Heretic with Behemoth's Adam "Nergal" Darski, along with the solo project So Let It Be Written: The Biography of Metallica's James Hetfield. Eglinton divides his time between Scotland and the Pacific Northwest.
"K.K. Downing gives us an incisive look into the machinations of one of the greatest innovators in Heavy Metal."--Scott Ian, Anthrax guitarist, author of I'm the Man and Access All Areas
"Downing, guitarist and founding member of the British heavy metal band Judas Priest, delivers a thoughtful account of his 40-year career with the group...Downing's detailed and earnest look at Judas Priest's career successfully shows how it achieved its main artistic goal-to empower its audience with a 'sense of freedom and power' through its music."—Publishers Weekly
"[Downing] recounts his whole story-and dishes lots of dirt in the process-in this memoir...He also goes into great detail about his creative differences with Tipton, alleging the other guitarist wanted all the glory, giving readers a rare look at the real drama that plagues even the biggest bands."—Rolling Stone (The Best Music Books of 2018)
"As he tells his story, [Downing] offers brutally honest insights from his 42 years in the group."—RollingStone.com
"In [this] frank new memoir, the guitarist opens up about his time with the metal band and how boiling tensions caused him to leave...[It] challenges the narrative of one of the world's most storied heavy metal bands, while giving frank explanations for why, after 41 years as a Priest loyalist, he left in a huff."—The Guardian
"His book covers many different aspects of his life: His difficult childhood. His early struggles to make it as a musician. The ascension of Priest as a working class band into a world class musical juggernaut. And all of the behind-the-scenes turbulence that one might expect from a good rock book."—Billboard.com
"A rare look into life behind the scenes with his former band."—The Hype
"[Downing] demolishes the myths and reveals a man-and a band-in constant turmoil. There are many revelations...A curious, cathartic read."—Planet Rock
"[Downing's] early years really give you an appreciation for what you have. The stories are interesting and descriptive in the way that you visualize it happening as you read...The book doesn't disappoint...An easy read that keeps your interest. Well written that reads like he is saying it. Very natural flow to it unlike some autobiographies. Highly recommended for all fans of Metal."—Metal Rules
"Downing looks back on this singular band that is now approaching its golden anniversary, treating the reader to shocking, hilarious, and haunting stories that surround the heavy metal institution."—Music Connection
"[Downing's] abrupt departure from the band in 2011 with little explanation left fans wondering what in the fiery pits of hell happened. In this quick-read but chock-full-of-info memoir, Downing answers that and much more...Fans of hard rock and metal will also find plenty of anecdotes about Judas Priest touring and hanging with groups like AC/DC, Status Quo, Def Leppard, Dio, and Motörhead."—Houston Press
"Heavy Duty is that rare metal memoir that actually reads as a sweet and wholesome story...You get the sense that Downing is much more of a pint or two at the pub kind of guy than a fifth of vodka downed by the third song sort of rocker."—Los Angeles Daily News
"Where Downing excels is in detailing the daily grind (and nighty debauchery) of a working rock band, especially as tensions within the band escalate...[Downing is] a heavy metal original."—San Antonio Express-News
"Few books in the music world this year are drawing as much excitement...Downing has stayed largely out of the spotlight since parting ways with Judas Priest in 2011, but this fascinating work brings him back into the light...The books flows with ease and cohesiveness, making this a fascinating read from front to back. It's difficult to pull away...Both die-hard Judas Priest fans and casual admirers of the band will find lots to enjoy in Heavy Duty. It's a book that has heart and passion, and that makes it a metal must-read."—Audio Ink Radio
"Besides being the first book about Judas Priest written from the inside, KK Downing's Heavy Duty...serves as a classic study in the long-range effects that a traumatizing upbringing can conjure up well into adulthood."—Please Kill Me
"Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest isn't so much a book about Judas Priest as it is one about being a member of Judas Priest. That makes Downing's story particularly intriguing because it does not follow the contours of what has become the typical rock 'n' roll fantasy...Downing supplies plenty of stories and anecdotes about the songs and albums that solidified heavy metal as a distinct sub-genre of rock. And he charts Judas Priest's progression from underground sensations to arena-packing stars...He maintains some privacy around the least public aspects of his life, but Downing is refreshingly open about his disappointments and failings. Heavy Duty makes it clear that the man who helped pen the anthem 'Metal Gods' is, in fact, quite human."—The Arts Fuse
"Chapter 12 is one the more interesting, beginning with Downing's own '91 resignation letter (never submitted), the band's war of words with Halford, [and] his feelings on Tipton's solo effort."—Brave Words
"Downing gives a little insight into his work ethic which is food for thought for us fretboard fumblers. The early days in Judas Priest are recounted with a relaxed style ideal for tales of numerous small gigs up and down the country...Downing also takes a good look at the 1990 court case regarding subliminal messages on albums, without getting mired in the legalities and is honest about why he feels the case ended up in court...Heavy Duty is an interesting read...that speeds through the career of this classic metal band. Downing's thoughts on his time in Judas Priest will probably divide fans and start many a debate which isn't a bad thing."—Red Guitar Music
"A well written autobiography that takes us from [Downing's] troubled upbringing with an abusive father to the forming and departure from one of the world's most original and influential heavy metal bands...Because Judas Priest has avoided controversy and scandal, the stories in Heavy Duty will be revelations to most Judas Priest fans...Downing delivers many insights into the inner-workings of the band...It's very difficult to walk away without a newfound admiration for a true guitar legend."—Let's Rock
"[A] chance for fans of the band to see just what was going on behind the scenes during the bands early years and on up through guitarist K.K. Downing's departure from the group in 2011...Give[s] detailed accounts of the bands formation, the growing pains all new bands go through and what the band was like during the recording of some of the most influential heavy metal records in music history. Downing is candid and no subject seems to be off limits as he recounts his own personal struggles as well as inner turmoil between band members, management and producers giving the reader a fly on the wall perspective that until now was not available."—Media Mikes
"[Downing] doesn't hold anything back...He proves that there is more to a band than meets the eye...This autobiography is a must for any fans of Judas Priest."—Digital Journal
"K.K. Downing's departure from Judas Priest, in 2011, was a major shock and caused huge disappointment among the millions of fans around the world...This autobiography sheds some light at what really happened back then but also gives us all the details regarding the foundation, rising and glorified establishment of Judas Priest...it is very well-written."—Rock Pages
"A great memoir...Downing is pretty frank throughout the book...Far more than an excuse to air dirty laundry or take down enemies, Heavy Duty is a solid entry in the seemingly-growing rock biography genre...A remarkably thoughtful and entertaining read."
"The book goes into depth about K.K.'s early years and the formation of the band."
"A terrific read. Many surprising revelations are shared...If you're a Priest fan, it's more than worth the purchase."—AntiMusic
"Anyone who has followed Judas Priest throughout their career knows the sonic contributions of guitar player KK Downing. But in his new memoir, Heavy Duty, the British blonde six-string slinger tells you just how much he did, without making himself appear like he's bragging. In fact, he's almost nonchalant about things, as if having a beer and a chat in a local pub, writing about his life as a rock star in a most unassuming way...He's quite open with most everything...We finally get to read all about the highs and lows as he lived through them and it's honestly hard to put down until the end."
"Downing takes readers on a visceral journey from his impoverished childhood to the biggest stages in the world. In a vivid and often emotional recounting, the guitarist discusses all the highs and lows of his career with Judas Priest, from album cycles and touring to the inner-band battles with an up-and-coming Iron Maiden. Downing also pulls no punches in describing the events that led up to his departure from Priest following the band's acclaimed 2008 double album, Nostradamus."—Guitar World
"Heavy Duty is a must read for all fans of heavy metal and especially for fans of Judas Priest as K.K. finally tells his tale. Don't miss the opportunity to find out all that he has to say."—BackstageAxxess
"Getting a closer look into a band after the stage lights are off is what makes books like this a must-read."—Metal Kaoz
"Judas Priest is a notoriously private band. Little has been known about the inner dynamics of the Metal Gods. Fans can now glimpse behind the scenes thanks to the new K.K. Downing autobiography...Revelations often add new insight to established facts...A fascinating read for Judas Priest fans...One feels that the process of writing Heavy Duty was an act of catharsis. At the very least, fans now know why K.K. walked away from the band he founded."—Green and Black Music