JUDAS PRIEST’s Guitarist KK DOWNING On ‘Rocka Rolla’: ‘Basically, It Was A Live Performance’

All great bands have an album that, let’s say, isn’t their beloved. The mighty Judas Priest is no different. Guitarist KK Downing explained to Eon Music what happened to “Rocka Rolla,” their first effort. Take a look:

“I think our disgruntlement was that all the time we were putting these tracks down, we were going into the control room and it was all sounding great, and our disappointment was because we heard it sounding more akin to what we sounded like live, really.

“Obviously, it was my first record, and I can remember thinking; ‘I’m not too happy about this.’ Basically, it was a live performance. Because in those days you used to put baffles up between all the instruments to stop the sound bleeding through.

“So that was a bit like you were in a cage, and you couldn’t always get a visual on the other guys, and it seemed to be so chemical, really, as opposed to being on a stage playing the songs.

“And it was pretty scary because you had to make sure that you didn’t move too much to create some erroneous noises in quiet parts. It just seemed to be very, very strange, like playing in a telephone kiosk or something.”

I know that Chris Tsangarides remastered it and it sounded a lot better. But the problem was, we did all the recordings, it sounded great, but after a 36-hour session, everybody was so tired.

“When we got the copies back at our homes and we put it on there, it just seemed as though…

“When you cut a record, you have all the equipment to EQ it, to compress it, limiters and everything, and you can strip the life out of a record, and we felt that had been done, to a bit of an extent.

“And it can be done. We’ve cut records several times, and when we’ve not been happy in one cutting room or with one cutting engineer, we’ve gone somewhere else. But on this occasion, we didn’t have the opportunity.”

“Every album that you might make, whether the money runs out or the studio time, or you’ve got to deliver the record; we always say in the industry that an album’s never finished, it just gets to the point where you’ve just got to hand it over. And I think that’s so true because you can always improve it.

“But basically, Roger [Bain, producer] – bless him – our producer, he woke up off the couch, he went upstairs, it was probably seven o’clock the next morning, and actually cut the record and sent it straight to press, because we were over-tired, and out of money.”