Heavy Duty (Hardcover)

Days and Nights in Judas Priest

By K.K. Downing, Mark Eglinton

Da Capo Press, 9780306903311, 288pp.

Publication Date: September 18, 2018

List Price: 28.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Memoir by the cofounder and former lead guitarist of heavy metal giants Judas Priest

Judas Priest formed in the industrial city of Birmingham, England, in 1969. With its distinctive twin-guitar sound, studs-and-leather image, and international sales of over 50 million records, Judas Priest became the archetypal heavy metal band in the 1980s. Iconic tracks like "Breaking the Law," "Living after Midnight," and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" helped the band achieve extraordinary success, but no one from the band has stepped out to tell their or the band's story until now.

As the band approaches its golden anniversary, fans will at last be able to delve backstage into the decades of shocking, hilarious, and haunting stories that surround the heavy metal institution. In Heavy Duty, guitarist K.K. Downing discusses the complex personality conflicts, the business screw-ups, the acrimonious relationship with fellow heavy metal band Iron Maiden, as well as how Judas Priest found itself at the epicenter of a storm of parental outrage that targeted heavy metal in the '80s. He also describes his role in cementing the band's trademark black leather and studs image that would not only become synonymous with the entire genre, but would also give singer Rob Halford a viable outlet by which to express his sexuality. Lastly, he recounts the life-changing moment when he looked at his bandmates on stage during a 2009 concert and thought, "This is the last show." Whatever the topic, whoever's involved, K.K. doesn't hold back.

About the Author

Ken "K.K." Downing is a guitarist and founding member of heavy metal band Judas Priest. He formed the band at the age of sixteen after getting kicked out of his home by his abusive father and the band eventually found success during the New Wave of British heavy metal in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. K.K. retired from the band in 2011 and lives in Shropshire, England.

Mark Eglinton is a frequent cowriter whose previous collaborations include Official Truth, 101 Proof with Rex Brown of Pantera and Confessions of a Heretic with Behemoth's Adam "Nergal" Darski, along with the solo project So Let It Be Written: The Biography of Metallica's James Hetfield. Eglinton divides his time between Scotland and the Pacific Northwest.

Praise For Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest

"K.K. Downing gives us an incisive look into the machinations of one of the greatest innovators in Heavy Metal."--Scott Ian, Anthrax guitarist, author of I'm the Man and Access All Areas

"Downing, guitarist and founding member of the British heavy metal band Judas Priest, delivers a thoughtful account of his 40-year career with the group...Downing's detailed and earnest look at Judas Priest's career successfully shows how it achieved its main artistic goal-to empower its audience with a 'sense of freedom and power' through its music."—Publishers Weekly

"A rare look into life behind the scenes with his former band."
The Hype

"[Downing] demolishes the myths and reveals a man-and a band-in constant turmoil. There are many revelations...A curious, cathartic read."—Planet Rock

"[Downing's] early years really give you an appreciation for what you have. The stories are interesting and descriptive in the way that you visualize it happening as you read...The book doesn't disappoint...An easy read that keeps your interest. Well written that reads like he is saying it. Very natural flow to it unlike some autobiographies. Highly recommended for all fans of Metal."—Metal Rules

"Downing looks back on this singular band that is now approaching its golden anniversary, treating the reader to shocking, hilarious, and haunting stories that surround the heavy metal institution."—Music Connection

"[Downing's] abrupt departure from the band in 2011 with little explanation left fans wondering what in the fiery pits of hell happened. In this quick-read but chock-full-of-info memoir, Downing answers that and much more...Fans of hard rock and metal will also find plenty of anecdotes about Judas Priest touring and hanging with groups like AC/DC, Status Quo, Def Leppard, Dio, and Motörhead."—Houston Press

"Where Downing excels is in detailing the daily grind (and nighty debauchery) of a working rock band, especially as tensions within the band escalate...[Downing is] a heavy metal original."—San Antonio Express-News

"Few books in the music world this year are drawing as much excitement...Downing has stayed largely out of the spotlight since parting ways with Judas Priest in 2011, but this fascinating work brings him back into the light...The books flows with ease and cohesiveness, making this a fascinating read from front to back. It's difficult to pull away...Both die-hard Judas Priest fans and casual admirers of the band will find lots to enjoy in Heavy Duty. It's a book that has heart and passion, and that makes it a metal must-read."—Audio Ink Radio

"Besides being the first book about Judas Priest written from the inside, KK Downing's Heavy Duty...serves as a classic study in the long-range effects that a traumatizing upbringing can conjure up well into adulthood."—Please Kill Me

"In [this] frank new memoir, the guitarist opens up about his time with the metal band and how boiling tensions caused him to leave...[It] challenges the narrative of one of the world's most storied heavy metal bands, while giving frank explanations for why, after 41 years as a Priest loyalist, he left in a huff."—The Guardian