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Former Judas Priest Guitarist K.K. Downing Talks Traveling the World to Play Golf

Jo Hale, Getty Images

Though K.K. Downing may have left behind the fame and glory of rocking and rolling with Judas Priest in favor of running a golf course, he fondly remembers his former days on road, particularly in the far east.

“At around the time our ‘Turbo’ album came out (in 1986) we would get massive numbers of girls at our concerts, which for a heavy metal band was good.” Downing told the Birmingham Post recently. “It was crazy – in Japan the audiences were about 95 per cent girls. It was just like Beatlemania. They’d be throwing themselves over cars. The Tokyo Prince Hotel even asked us to leave, as some of these girls were renting rooms there and there might be 12 to a room.”

But along the way, Mr. Downing found an escape from the rock world in the form of nine, or possibly 18 holes of golf. “On one tour we finished in Hawaii and I decided to rent a house there on a golf course. I ended up playing every golf course on the island and stayed there for seven months. It was good to get out and do something rather than going to the bar in the hotel, which is far too easy to do.”

Though not on the road with Priest these days, that doesn’t mean Downing’s desire to hit the road has ended. “As far as I am concerned, I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than go to a brand new country, jump in a car and go to the nearest golf course.” Spoken like a true road vet.

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