Judas Priest Guitarists’ Rivalry Made Them So Good, Says Producer
Former Judas Priest producer Tom Allom said the rivalry between guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing was what made the band sound so powerful in the ‘80s.
He discussed their relationship in a new interview with Grammy.com, marking the 40th anniversary of the band’s breakthrough album, Screaming for Vengeance – the first record on which each guitarist’s contributions were specifically identified on a track-by-track basis.
“I felt like it was great rivalry between them to outdo each other,” Allom said. “They both were trying to play things that they couldn’t play, and they went on working on them until they could. It was that rivalry that made the guitars so bloody brilliant. I can particularly remember Glenn starting to come up with a solo and he was struggling with it. He would work on it for days, if necessary, until he could play it.”
He added noted that "we were able to punch in [to record over] mistakes and all that, but these were the analog years. By the time they perfected it, they would go out and play that track live, no trouble at all. That was very good to see."
Even when both guitarists played the same rhythm part on a track, there was an advantage, Allom explained. "Because their styles were different, it made the sound really big," he said. "The intonation was different from each of them, and that difference made it bigger than if one of them was playing the part and then double-tracking it. They each created a different vibe off their instrument."
In the same interview, Tipton reflected that "when we first met [Allom], it gelled straight away. The formula worked instantly. His talent shone through. When we've worked on box sets since, I’m amazed at how much Tom did do for us.”