Judas Priest’s former guitarist KK Downing recently recalled going to Jimi Hendrix’s shows and described how Hendrix made him feel when he was performing on stage. While admitting his love for the guitarist, he revealed that he was so influenced by Jimi that people started to refer to him as ‘one of Hendrix’s sons.’
Jimi Hendrix was undoubtedly one of the most prominent guitar players of all time, and most rock musicians refer to him as an influence. His technique, energy, sound, and uniqueness were always regarded as inspirational and helped shape the rock and roll world to its form today. Hendrix was and still is looked up to, even 50 years after his passing.
Judas Priest is also one of the most influential metal bands in rock and roll history, and its former guitarist KK Downing’s idol was Hendrix. He was a big fan of the guitarist that he went to see him play multiple times and was mesmerized each time. He mainly inspired Downing when he stepped into the rock world, trying to become a guitarist. Hence, Hendrix’s energy helped shape the guitarist while trying to discover his style.
Even though Downing wanted to become his own musician without carrying any influence over him, it was impossible to avoid Hendrix. He tried to stay as original as possible yet, he couldn’t help but reflect Hendrix’s style. In fact, some people started calling him ‘one of the sons of Hendrix.’
Here is how KK Downing lengthly talked about Jimi Hendrix:
“It was the most incredible moment I could ever experience, because there he was, full color, full life, because Jimi, he was the player and the performer. He looked good, played good, sounded good, and his performance, you know, he was the all-in-one. I like to think I’ve taken something from that. I’ve played a couple of Hendrix in the ’60s, I played a couple of covers, ‘Spanish Castle Magic,’ and stuff like that.
Unfortunately, when he died, it was a massive impact on me because I had just seen him the other night in 1970, and it just happened. It was such a shock, so I kind of distanced myself. It was hard to face up after all this wonderful enjoyment and wonderful experiences listening to his music and seeing him live. I saw the two shows at Royal Albert Hall, got to get some autographs from him and stuff like that, and I was in shock. I was trying to become a musician myself, the last thing I wanted to do was have to try to mimic him in any way, shape, or form, but consciously or subconsciously, he’s always kind of been there in me, and I have heard people call me one of the sons of Hendrix.“
Downing expressed his sadness over the late guitar icon’s passing as follows:
“Because obviously, I haven’t been able to contain these, 100%, so I still like to do controlled feedback and uncontrolled feedback, and I will do more of that now, kind of in my own band where I have more freedom to do, to express myself even more now, I’m looking forward to that. But that magical moment, it’s just a different thing, but it fortifies everything about me to want to do this at my age and keep going, and it makes me realize how exceptional is that I’m still here able to do it. The great Jimi Hendrix, he’s been gone now for so many years, decades, it’s so tragic, and that’s why I feel very important for so many other guys, close friends that are not with us anymore, some people, age, illness.”
You can watch the full interview below.