K.K. Downing’s Trip to Finland


ON a humid and windy January evening, the five millworkers gathered together at project manager Jari’s house In Tuusula, Finland to discuss forthcoming K.K. Downing – web pages, do some hard work and relax at the same time. This occurred at a strange time in Finnish weather, nobody could recall a January day completely without snow. Snow did come later on but when meeting took place it seemed winter was still a long way off.

Regardless of the weather, the feeling inside was positive throughout with work on the site coming together nicely. Few members of the team had met K.K. before, few hadn’t so the first hour or so was spent getting to know each other and going through general aspects and goals K.K. had in mind for the site. After this we moved over to the laptop and started going through the first beta version. Team had worked feverishly on the project and set few ground rules for the web pages, first off it had to be fan friendly and always maintain a Priest and metal lover’s perspective. This wasn’t a hard task since all millworkers were just that. It also needed to be interactive with fans all around the world sending their material, reviews, art, Priest-shrines etc. And it should also contain interesting items and sections for the Judas Priest fans, thus extra effort was put on the presentation of discography, scrapbooks, articles and generally everything Priest-related you could think of.

The site team worked on during the January meeting and the site You are now viewing are somewhat different on their outlook, yet the framework remains the same. K.K. was active giving comments and suggestions where needed and being generally very enthusiastic about the project. After couple of hours heavy duty work, both team and K.K. were certain this operation was going to be a success. There was some more ironing out to do, more stuff to be added and the design of the site would go through one major change but overall results so far were excellent.

After short signing session and a little snack we took some pictures of the team and K.K., both indoors and later at the nearby garage where legendary Priestone regularly rehearse their electrifying Priest-set. Then it was off to cars (designated driver, Toni had joined us at this point) and team heading out to the highway. Our destination was Helsinki nightlife but before that there was one stop to do. K.K. had no idea where we were going and kept asking ” what’s it, is it beer, is it strip bar?”

None of those yet, team parked at Finnair Flight Training Centre at Helsinki-Vantaa airport and soon K.K. found out he was given a chance to fly – on the flight simulator. We met Jari’s boss Ari who gave us short introduction on the rules and regulations of upcoming flight. Inside the simulation Jari is operating as captain with K.K. as co-pilot getting the chance to control the gears few times.

Starbreaker riding on the wind!

K.K. does two landings himself with instructions from Jari and Ari.

During the flight simulation, there’s a control panel where one can create different weather conditions and other circumstances that might occur in a real flying situation. So in comes night and heavy rain, with visibility dropping to zero. Air bumps follow with whole plane shaking, K.K.: ”That should silence the screaming kids at the back!”

Other plane comes to view and it passes way too close again shaking the aircraft, ”I told you, you couldn’t fly that thing Dickinson!” The final landing is accomplished without problems and K.K. walks out happily another great experience behind him:

“It was great, i felt could fly home with that thing since it seemed so real!”

We said our goodbyes to flight instructor and continued our trip to Helsinki centre making our way to Belge restaurant and bar. After few cold pints, the atmosphere was relaxed and we talked more about the web pages, Priest, metal in general and some things You should never know. By midnight we had moved to Kaarle night club where more discussions and crazed photographs took place.

Couple of hours later the team cheerfully split to their own directions, some took a cab, some went with designated driver, K.K. and Jari going back to Tuusula to get a good night’s sleep. The next day pair did some more work on the pages, the K.K. loop solos were chosen and even some jamming was done at the garage. The next morning happy guitarist flew back to England, to resume working on the next Judas Priest album.

The Millworkers continued their mission and during the next weeks created the pages You are now browsing through. We are all very pleased with the results. However work continues, as we are constantly trying to improve and strengthen the site. This becomes possible through constant input from Mr. Downing himself and of course, You the loyal metal fan.

Stay tuned for more updates on the site and keep feeding the flames!



About Ville Krannila