K.K. Downing Reveals Sentence That Ended Iron Maiden Rivalry
Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing revealed the 1995 conversation with former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno that settled the “ugly” ‘80s rivalry between the two bands. He also offered his take on how the disagreement arose in the first place.
Di’Anno was singing with Maiden in 1980 when they were confirmed as a support act on Priest’s British Steel tour. “And then the next thing I know, I read in a music paper that they said something like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna blow the bollocks off Priest,’ or something like that,” Downing told Eddie Trunk in a new interview.
“And I went, ‘What the hell is this shit? … Why should we have Iron Maiden on tour if you’re gonna create this type of vibe before we’ve even met them, let alone done a show together?’”
You can listen to the interview below.
He recalled suggesting that they get rid of Maiden "and get somebody that really appreciates the gig,” but he was outvoted in Priest’s democratic system and accepted the decision. He was later upset when Maiden turned up at Priest’s pre-tour rehearsals without any invitation he was aware of.
When the tour took place, Downing recalled, “they didn't blow the bollocks off Judas Priest. We were pretty well established at the time, and those guys were coming up through the ranks. … But it wasn't a good atmosphere on the tour, and it's not something I like to have happen.”
He voiced his displeasure once more when Maiden were named as support for Priest’s U.S. tour. “I went, 'Oh, no! Not again’ … But they came on the tour and they created upsets, is what they did, for different reasons. … It led to a confrontation and it got a bit ugly.”
Downing said he doesn't know "how it all happened, but I did meet Paul Di'Anno so many years later, in about 1995, and he said, 'Hey, K.K., we're sorry about that quote in the paper.' And that's all you need.”