During a recent interview with the “Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen & Shane McEachern” classic rock show, legendary German guitarist Michael Schenker was asked about former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing‘s claim that he “was the first guy to bring the Flying V [guitar] to heavy metal ever.”
Schenker said: “Those people out there, they are so desperate for recognition and for being the first and taking all the bloody credit, like my brother. It is unbelievable. I have no expectation, and because of that people think they can walk all over me and rip me off and take the credit. I heard even METALLICA saying, the guitarists, that they invented the gallop [rhythm]. I had the gallop on [UFO‘s] ‘Rock Bottom’ — well before [METALLICA did]. These people are crazy. They are so desperate for fame.”
Circling back to K.K.‘s claim, Michael said: “First of all, JUDAS PRIEST and UFO was recording at the same studio. And JUDAS PRIEST guitarists are Michael Schenker fans. That’s number one. So if they’re Michael Schenker fans, it’s most likely that K.K. Downing ripped me off rather than the other way around.
“Then, when I went to the Whisky A Go Go when I had my first American tour, with my girlfriend, when I was 19 years old — somewhere ’74 or so, ’75 — we saw JUDAS PRIEST at the Whisky A Go Go. When they came onstage, I looked at my girlfriend and she looked at me. He was a double of me — he was an absolute double. He had the curly hair, he had the Flying V, he had my stage outfit as close as you can get it. It was unbelievable. And the fact is everybody knows that he’s a fan of Michael Schenker, so why would he lie about this in the first place? That’s just crazy.”
When asked when was the last time that he talked to Downing, Schenker said: “We played at his venue [KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton, England], and in my dressing room there was a gift from K.K. Downing with an envelope with a nice welcome with chocolates and a whole basket full of goodies and stuff like that and with a thanks note, et cetera, et cetera. Obviously, he was very happy that I was playing in his place.”
Asked if he is “surprised” by the fact that Downing is taking credit for being “the first guy” to bring the Flying V guitar to heavy metal, Michael said: “I’m shocked, to be honest — that people are so desperate that they even lie about that. Even though people can trace their interviews from the past when they have said that they are Michael Schenker fans, et cetera, et cetera. It’s unbelievable. But I’ll tell you what: I have heard and seen a lot of things. Nothing surprises me anymore.”