My perfect weekend: Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing

Black Country-born Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing has just launched a new career as a promoter. We caught up with him at his Astbury Hall Golf Course, near Bridgnorth.

KK Downing custom made axe in hand
KK Downing custom made axe in hand

It’s Friday afternoon. What’s on your mind?

I’m thinking I ought to be doing something for the Friday night. My favourite way to spend the evening is by going to the local pub and having a nice pint of real ale – though I’m usually too busy and don’t make it.

I usually go down to The Station, on the railway – I’ll have to buy a house next door to it, to improve my chances of getting out.

Who normally has the pleasure of your company at the weekends?

Apart from myself, it’s usually my mom. I make a fortnightly visit to my mom. My job is a seven-day thing, so I’m usually spending it with the staff. Otherwise, I’m over to see my mom, who lives in West Brom.

How do you prepare for a big night out?

If I ever have one, it’s about making a big effort. Watching me get ready is a bit like that scene from Saturday Night Fever, with John Travolta.

It takes hours and I go the whole seven yards – that shows you how often I get out.

What’s your favourite party outfit?

Us baby boomers grew up in the hippy era, so I get the flares out.

You’ve just arrived at the bar, what’s your first drink?

I always like a good pint of real ale, whether it’s Bathams or Enville or anything else that’s local. Other than that, I like a good quality lager.

What is your favourite night spot and why?

I guess really apart from the real ale scenario, I’d choose any good restaurant. I like a nice dinner and good company: It’s not where you go to, it’s who you are with.

I have a few favourites from my life on the road. If we were in New York, we’d go to Palm Too. In Chicago or Los Angeles we’d go to Lawry’s. In Spain, I’d go for anything that’s fresh – fish on the beach is always great.

I opened my own restaurant here at Astbury Hall last year. I wanted to create same quality of product and same quality of service that I’d enjoyed. We’re here to serve.

It's a sunny Saturday, what are you up to?

If I can get the opportunity to get out and play golf then I do. It’s so beautiful around here.

The weather has been so terrible that whenever the sun shines, I try to get out and cash in. I’m playing off a handicap of 12, which is pretty good for winter.

What’s your most memorable weekend ever and why?

Probably when I drove up to Troon for the British Open Golf. I wanted to have a weekend there, that was a real treasured moment for me.

I saw my heroes, like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player – all of the legends. Golf has changed now – in those days, everybody was a superstar.

These days, there’s only Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy – the others don’t seem to have that superstar rating.

What’s your recipe for the perfect night in?

Basically a hot bath and a cold beer. I’ll rustle something up in the kitchen, with whatever’s in the fridge. Then I’ll put on the TV to watch a bit of footy or golf.

I bought a brand new Marshall 100 watt amp for Christmas, it’s awesome. I like to turn it up and play loud.

Favourite DVD and what would you eat while watching it?

I’m a health nut so it’s usually pasta and fish. The DVD would be Life of Brian, or Father Ted, or Fawlty Towers or The Royle Family.

Sunday breakfast: Cooked or continental?

Basically, it’s a bit of a bird seed and a banana. And a vat of coffee.

Sunday lunch: Home cooked or down the pub?

I don’t eat lunch – though if I did it would be home-cooked. When I was on the road, I had to live like an athlete.

I would always eat breakfast but I would never eat in the day because it would weigh me down when I was doing interviews or soundchecks.

I wanted to be as light as I could, so that I was like a boxer on the stage. I would always have my main meal of the day after the gig, so that I could relax and digest it properly.

I still go on two meals a day: breakfast and evening meal.

Where and how do you like to relax?

I’m quite happy at home. I like to plug in the Marshalls or check out my old buddies on YouTube.

You have the whole weekend off and a wad of cash. Which country or city would you head to?

Rome is a favourite. I would give a girlfriend a call and head to Rome or Amsterdam. I wouldn’t go further. I still hope to get to Venice, too.

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