Michael Schenker on Judas Priest Guitarist K.K. Downing, “Look, he was a fan, and there was no point in denying it” – 2022 Interview – Joining Whitesnake

Flying V strapped across his chest, blonde-haired, and leather-clad, Michael Schenker has influenced generations of guitar players worldwide over the course of a now fifty-years-strong career. You can read the entire interview @ this location.


On David Coverdale asking him to join Whitesnake:

Peter Mensch (manager) came to me one day and said, “Michael, David Coverdale wants you to be a part of Whitesnake.” So, I called David, and I said, “No, why don’t you come and join the Michael Schenker Group instead?” Well, David did not want to be part of Michael Shenker Group, and he was upset that I did not want to join Whitesnake. So, suddenly, I look up, and Cozy Powell has left my band, and had joined David Coverdale in Whitesnake. This was after Bernie Marsden had left, and before John Sykes had joined.

The way it all happened was I was jamming with David at my house one day, because he had come over, and was hanging out. I started playing what would become “Searching for a Reason,” which would end up on Assault Attack, and David started singing some words – none of which ended up on Assault Attack – and it went from there. You know, we were just jamming, he was singing, and we did that until the sun came up. After that, David asked me to join Whitesnake, and I declined, which I guess he did not like. It was all very messy, but the outcomes were good for all of us eventually.

I saw an interesting quote recently where you mentioned that you feel that you had a great deal of influence on K.K. Downing, so much so, that he imitated you. Can you expand on that at all?

According to the reports I’m getting – and I’m not searching for it – apparently, my influence over him was overwhelming. I mean, my girlfriend, and I went to see him when I was around nineteen years old. We had come to see Judas Priest at the Whiskey A Go Go, and she looked at me, I looked at her, and we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. You know, K.K., he had the same blonde hairstyle as me, the long black boots, and all the rest. I will say that it could not have been a coincidence, I mean, K.K. had the Flying V guitar, the curly hair, everything. Look, he was a fan, and there was no point in denying it.

The fact is, there were so many people – all these guys – who wanted what I had, and I didn’t even know what I had. [Laughs]. But apparently, they all wondered what I had, and they were searching for it through imitation. To me, it was just the perspective of the guys, they thought if they had what I had, they would probably get all the girls, but I wasn’t doing anything on purpose, and I was never doing any of it to get girls. [Laughs]. I was just being myself as a musician through self-expression.

You can read the entire interview @ this location.

K.K. Downing: “I was the First Guy to Bring the FLYING V to Heavy Metal”