Former JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist K.K. Downing Talks About Taking Part In THE WHO Tribute - "I Had The Great Privilege To Have A Connection With It"

November 3, 2012, 9 years ago

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On October 2, Cleopatra Records released Who Are You: An All Star Tribute To THE WHO. As The Who approaches a nearly 50-year career, artists in genres from classic to progressive rock, and from punk to country, collaborate on a stunning celebration of the band’s remarkable catalogue.

JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing is on of many stars on the album. He explains how it all happened on his Steel Mill Blog below:

"I received a call from Cleopatra records asking if I would consider playing on a Who tribute album. My immediate reaction was one of apprehension; however when I was informed of the artists that were going to be on the compilation any concerns that I had were completely erased. After all a lot of these artists were stars before I had ever played a gig. With the likes of Ginger Baker, Leslie West, Dave Davies, Todd Rundgren and Randy Bachman just for starters, I knew that there was no way I was going to turn this one down.

After saying yes I was allocated the track 'Eminence Front' and I knew straight away that this would be somewhat different for me - which is always good as it would be a new challenge and not something that I could just go ahead and wail away doing what I normally like to do. After hearing the track it was obvious that I had a treasure in my hands. A legendary song from one of the all-time great legendary bands in the world and now I had the great privilege to have a connection with it. You can just imagine how nervous but excited that made me feel. The production was tight and precise and I knew it had great performers on it although at that time I did not know who I was playing alongside with.

Later I found out that the excellent vocals were by John Wetton and keyboards by Derek Sherinian. My goal was to focus strongly on the vocal performance; firstly to try and make the best introduction for it that I could and then to interact with it so as to create a working partnership with it throughout the song - creating a kind of duet. This in turn would help to drive the song. At the same time I was always careful not to be over exuberant and interfere with what The Who originally created. I can only say that I am extremely happy with the result and also very happy to have had the opportunity to have been a small part of this giant Who Are You album."

The Who have sold over 100 million records, had 27 Top 40 hits, 17 Top 10 albums, and have been certified Gold (18 times), Platinum (12 times) and Multi-Platinum (5 times). They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and have been described as one of the greatest rock bands in history by Rolling Stone, the Grammy Foundation, VH1, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Artists from CHEAP TRICK and RUSH to PEARL JAM have counted The Who as a primary influence. With such weight put on this legendary band’s musical output, the contributors to Who Are You have brought every ounce of creativity, attitude, and reverence to the collection.

Who Are You tracklisting:

'Eminence Front' - John Wetton (ASIA), K.K. Downing (JUDAS PRIEST), Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER)

'Baba O'Riley' - Nektar, Jerry Goodman (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA)

'I Can See For Miles' - Mark Lindsay (PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS), Wayne Kramer (MC5)

'Love Reign O'er Me' - Joe Elliott (DEF LEPPARD), Rick Wakeman (YES), Huw Lloyd-Langton (HAWKWIND), Carmine Appice (VANILLA FUDGE)

'My Generation' - Knox (THE VIBRATORS), Dave Davies (THE KINKS), Rat Scabies (THE DAMNED)

'The Kids Are Alright' - THE RAVEONETTES

'Won't Get Fooled Again' - SWEET

'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' - Todd Rundgren, Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge)

'I Can't Explain' - IGGY POP

'Behind Blue Eyes' - PAT TRAVERS

'Magic Bus' - Peter Noone (HERMAN'S HERMITS), Peter Banks (Yes), Ginger Baker (CREAM)

'Who Are You'- Gretchen Wilson, Randy Bachman (BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE)

'Pinball Wizard' - Terry Reid, Mike Pinera (BLUES IMAGE), Brad Gillis (NIGHT RANGER)

'Squeeze Box' - John Wesley (PORCUPINE TREE), David Cross (KING CRIMSON)

'Bargain' - 38 SPECIAL, Ted Turner (WISHBONE ASH), Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE)

'The Seeker' - Joe Lynn Turner (RAINBOW), Leslie West (MOUNTAIN)

Check out audio of 'Eminence Front' featuring John Wetton, K.K. Downing and Derek Sherinian this location.

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