Ex-JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist K.K. DOWNING: 'I've Been Denied' The Opportunity To 'Step Back Into My Role'

August 30, 2021

Ex-JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing, who left JUDAS PRIEST a decade ago, spoke about his former group in a brand new interview with Let's Rock. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When I quit and my voice wasn't being heard and I was very frustrated in 2010, we all agreed to end the band. We were about to embark on the 'Epitaph' tour, which was the final farewell tour. We were ending the band. I just decided I didn't wanna go forward to do the final tour, because I didn't think I would enjoy it, and I wanted to enjoy it, because things were not right in the band. Everything had come to a head, and it was ugly; it wasn't right. And I wanted my voice to be heard, so that I could go and enjoy the farewell tour of the band. But if that wasn't gonna happen, I jumped ship. It was the end. They didn't tell me they were gonna carry on for another 10 years… Because we all agreed it was the end. I told them I wasn't gonna do the farewell tour. We had all the press releases, everything, about the end of the band. It was gonna be the end of the band, however long the tour was gonna be. And my replacement was coming in to do the farewell tour, and that was it. Those guys told the world that I retired from the band. But we were all retiring. I've got the press statements here on file. We were all retiring. And they didn't tell the world that I changed my mind a couple of months later, and I was speaking to Ian [Hill, PRIEST bassist] about doing the tour, and had him send me the setlist over. They didn't tell the world that either. But they still sent out the press release, ignored my intentions of doing the tour.

"I was the one that was very loyal — loyal, always loyal — to JUDAS PRIEST. Because in 2010, Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] did a tour with his own band, playing JUDAS PRIEST songs, and he did release two studio albums. All of this was getting more than I can take, and that's what happened.

"Anyway, lots of water under the bridge," Downing added. "There's a big story still to be told. I hope the fans can find it in their hearts to believe that the set of circumstances was not what was supposed to happen. History was changed, and it's been changed since, with the opportunity of me potentially being able to step back into my role. I've been denied that. The media have been denied that, [as well as] the fans, and the history has been denied that."

Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance.

In 2019, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band's upcoming 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.

In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."

Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST after Tipton's decision to retire from touring.

Last year, Downing announced the formation of KK'S PRIEST, in which he is joined by former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE),bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).

KK'S PRIEST's debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", will be released on October 1 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The LP's first single, "Hellfire Thunderbolt", came out in May. The title track followed in June.

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