Why Iron Maiden Became More Successful Than Judas Priest, KK Downing Explains

In his interview with Talk Toomey, former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing talked about his new band’s upcoming studio album and revealed the secret behind Iron Maiden being a more successful heavy metal band than Judas Priest.

Downing’s new band KK’s Priest has recently released their first single entitled ‘Hellfire Thunderbolt’ along with its music video on May 12, 2021. The song got very positive reviews and its music video was viewed by more than one million people. ‘Hellfire Thunderbolt’ belongs to their upcoming debut studio album ‘Sermons Of The Sinner,’ which will be released on August 20, 2021.

During the interview, Downing also recalled the times when he was the guitarist of Judas Priest and the band’s tour with Iron Maiden. Judas Priest started their World Wide Blitz Tour on February 13, 1981, as a promotion of their seventh studio album entitled ‘Point of Entry.’ Iron Maiden also joined them for the North American Leg of their tour.

During the recent interview, KK Downing shared his ideas on Iron Maiden as a person who knew them for more than 40 years. He stated that he appreciated the band’s longtime success and unveiled the reasons behind it. According to him, Iron Maiden became more successful than Judas Priest because they managed to find their own style and kept producing the same sort of successful works, unlike Judas Priest which was a very elastic band.

Downing stated in the interview that:

“I have to say that Iron Maiden got an awful lot of things right where we got some things not-so-right, I guess. But I’m still immensely proud of the success we had and what we did.

I mean, just things like we were fairly eclectic, really, with albums – we would kind of do some new turns and stuff. Because we always felt, in the early days, it was our duty to widen the spectrum of the fanbase for metal.

Because we could do songs like, for example, ‘Blood Red Skies’ or ‘Living After Midnight…’ And there’s an awful lot in between. So we were always, not exactly experimenting but just pushing the boundaries maybe a little bit too far sometimes – maybe – for some of the fans.”

He continued:

“And so we had a fan divide where some fans liked this Judas Priest and some fans liked this Judas Priest – the darker side of the more rock side. Because in the early days, bands like us couldn’t get gigs – we couldn’t get record contracts, we couldn’t get gigs.

So we had to be more flexible with our material. I think when bands like Iron Maiden came along, they kind of knew their direction and kept it there. And that element of consistency as well, with bands like the mighty AC/DC and various bands, that works really, really well.

And also the consistency of just going out year after year as well and working really, really hard. I mean, we did when we did two studio albums in one year – in ’79 or something like that. And we did an awful lot of touring.”

Downing appreciated the longtime success and consistency of Iron Maiden’s performances and highlighted that he was proud of the band’s achievements. According to the former member of the band, Judas Priest focused on changing their styles and trying new things in their music while Iron Maiden found their direction and never left it.