K.K. Downing says that he is "ready to rock some classic riffs" with JUDAS PRIEST at this weekend's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony.
PRIEST will receive the Musical Excellence Award at tomorrow's (Saturday, November 5) event, which will honor Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
According to the Hall Of Fame, the JUDAS PRIEST members that will get inducted include current members Rob Halford (vocals),Ian Hill (bass),Glenn Tipton (guitar) and Scott Travis (drums),along with former members Downing, Les Binks (drums) and late drummer Dave Holland.
The 2022 Rock Hall induction ceremony will be held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. It will air at a later date on HBO and stream on HBO Max. There will also be a radio simulcast on SiriusXM's Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Radio channel 310.
Earlier today (Friday, November 4),Downing took to his social media to share a video message in which he said: "Hi everyone. K.K. here. Downtown Los Angeles. Ready to rock some classic riffs. New axe in the making. I can't wait."
Last month, Hill was asked by the Detroit Metro Times if he thinks there is any chance of ever reconciling with Downing and him rejoining PRIEST. Hill responded: "I think time is not on our side for that, you know? Never say never, put it like that. [Downing's] gonna be there at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame anyway. He's gonna get up and play some songs with us there. It might kickstart something; I don't know. On the other hand, he might pull us all apart. [Laughs]"
Earlier lastmonth, Downing confirmed to Ultimate Classic Rock that he will perform with JUDAS PRIEST at the Rock Hall ceremony. "I think we've probably got eight or nine minutes," he said. "I'm not even going to be able to break a sweat. The main thing is to represent the attitude and hopefully the legend of what JUDAS PRIEST is and has become and what it means to everybody who's been on that very long journey through the decades with the band. And hopefully it will just kind of remind people and bring back some cherished memories of the heavy metal parking lots all around the world."
Downing said that Les Binks, PRIEST's drummer from 1977 to 1979, will also perform with the band at the event and added that it will be like riding the proverbial bicycle, more than a decade after the guitarist last played with PRIEST. "It's what I've done so many times," Downing said. "It's almost like cracking a beer, let alone riding a bike. It's embedded in me. It's what I do. So it'll be quite something to look forward to, just to get up there and crank the amps up and just do it once again, for that short moment in time."
PRIEST will receive the Musical Excellence Award at next month's event, which will honor Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
A month ago, Halford told Ultimate Classic Rock that the PRIEST camp has been in touch with Downing and Binks about the upcoming induction, and "everybody's been very cool and agreeing. There's just been [an attitude of], 'Let's just relish this opportunity and jam and put everything on 11,'" he said.
Although Halford couldn't confirm yet whether Downing or Binks would join PRIEST onstage during its Rock Hall performance, the singer said both former members would be involved in some capacity.
"We are gonna play live because there is all this roar: How are we gonna do it? Because we want to try and make the best things happen," Halford said. "So the best things to happen are to bring in all of the people that are included in the induction — which includes, obviously, K.K. and Les, and Dave. So, we've been able to work things out, so we will be playing live. We've got, like, eight minutes and 24 seconds and a half-second to play live."
He added: "We've got a couple of cool things that are gonna take place on the night that will be held under wraps like most people do because you don't want to give everything away. But yeah, look: A bunch of guys from the U.K., from the West Midlands, a Birmingham band of heavy metal, is being inducted into this great institution. So we're gonna make the most of it and have a great night out and live a lot of metal memories."
Travis told the "Rocker Morning Show"'s Mark Frankhouse of the 107.7 RKR radio station that PRIEST will play "a medley" of "PRIEST classics" at the Rock Hall induction ceremony.
This past May, just days after it was announced that PRIEST would be inducted into the Rock Hall this year, Downing was asked which song or songs he would like to perform with PRIEST at the induction ceremony. He responded: "Oh, wow. I don't really know what the setup would or could be — whether Glenn" — who's battling Parkinson's disease but was on the road playing during the encores of PRIEST's latest North American tour, performing "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight" — "would be there and we all would… I know Glenn is just playing some of the more shorter kind of songs. And if that's the situation, then I'm sure the songs would be whatever Glenn would be able to feel comfortable with. And that's okay, and that's fine. But I don't think it's about, really, what the repertoire would be; I think it's just about would this and could this happen in the way that people want to and expect it to happen. We'll have to see. And it depends what people want to happen, myself included. I'm gonna have a good think."
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 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.
In February, Hill and Halford told Billboard that they would be happy to stand alongside Downing at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. "It's not a problem to us, no," Hill said. "Ken was an integral part of this band for a very, very long time. He deserves to be there along with the rest of us." Halford predicted that, "It won't be as awkward as Ace [Frehley] and Peter [Criss with KISS's Rock Hall induction]. I don't think it'll be awkward at all. I think you have to let all of that go because it's the night that matters. It's the moment that matters — but, again, the proverbial saying, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
JUDAS PRIEST was on the ballot for Rock Hall induction in 2020, but failed to receive enough votes to make that year's class.
Having been eligible for induction since 1999, PRIEST was also on the ballot for the 2018 class of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, but was ultimately left out of the inductee list.
In 2019, Halford was asked by Fox Sports 910's "Freak Nation" if fans could expect to see any of the former PRIEST members joining the band on stage during a hypothetical Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. He responded: "With something like the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, there's a tinge of 'what if' [and] 'whatever.' It's an open book.
"I know what you're alluding to, and as I've had to [say] in the past, it's just a case of 'wait and see,'" he continued. "But it's a celebration, and it's 50 years of PRIEST, and, man, it's gonna be great. Should we get in, it's gonna be amazing."
After host Kenny Sargent brought up the original KISS lineup's controversial 2014 Rock Hall induction which was at least partly overshadowed by the musicians' decision not to perform, Halford said: "[PRIEST is] not the first band that this has happened to, and on the day, some things turn out the way a lot of people want 'em.
"I was thinking about this the other day," Halford added. "And this thing came into my head: 'Jim, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.' Spock [in] 'Star Trek'. When he goes in the radiation room. Isn't that great? … That's a t-shirt, or an inspirational card."
Downing previously told Rockin' Metal Revival that there was a very good chance that he would perform with his former bandmates again if PRIEST got the nod. "Oh, I think absolutely," he said. "I mean, why wouldn't you, really? It's a special thing. We're all of an age now. These opportunities only come once in a lifetime. And it seemingly takes a lifetime to get into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I've always said, there's no such thing as a young legend, right? [Laughs] So, while we're still here, it would be great to receive that accolade and put on a great performance and put that one to bed."
In his 2018 autobiography "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", Downing wrote that he told Tipton and PRIEST co-manager Jayne Andrews that he had "hated" them both "since 1985." Last year, he explained his outburst to Classic Rock magazine: "I was angry. Glenn had formed a relationship with Jayne from day one, and it felt a bit like a John-and-Yoko situation. I didn't like that."