In a brand new interview with Eonmusic, ex-JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing was asked about the possibility of taking part in the band's upcoming 50th-anniversary tour, alongside other former members Al Atkins and and Tim "Ripper" Owens. He responded: "Yeah, lots of things could happen, but I think the main thing is, lots of people are saying to me, 'Will you be included? Are the band talking to you about the 50th anniversary?', because, obviously, it's a pivotal point, that anniversary. I mean, I was there 50 years ago; Al Atkins was the singer 50 years ago; Ian [Hill, bass] was there; and so, 'Are you going to be included?' Well, the answer is, I don't know. It's the other guys that need to be asked, as it's obviously their decision. Many people are asking me what might happen, when only those guys can say, but people do want to know."
Downing, who joined ex-MANOWAR axeman Ross "The Boss" Friedman on stage last weekend at this year's Bloodstock Open Air festival at Catton Park, Derbyshire, United Kingdom to perform four PRIEST songs, acknowledged that he would be up for discussing a return to his former band.
"I was okay, really, throughout the years that I hadn't been in the band," he said. "I was just hoping that I would automatically, naturally [rejoin], because, there wasn't any rifts or anything really. We were hard-working and longtime mates, you know? I mean, I went through infant school and stuff like that with Ian, I've never had an argument with Ian, ever, or the other guys, really. I always thought that I would get the respect, and get what I was entitled to, because we've all worked in a band for years. For me, it was 40 years or more, and you work towards a pension and everything, but things started to go not right, and I wasn't particularly happy about that. I was fine to be left alone, and to leave them alone, but I wasn't getting the respect that I deserved, and so I'm thinking, well, maybe, if I'm not going to rejoin the band, maybe it's time for me to play with some other guys. I wanted to research that, so I'm here now."
Downing went on to say that he has continued doing interviews since the release of his autobiography because it keeps him connected to the fans and the music industry.
"I try to answer questions with good guys like yourself, who I have good relationships with, and I want to keep the relationships," he explained. "I don't want to say, 'No, I'm not answering those questions,' and I don't want to lie to those questions; I want to try to answer honestly… But the thing is, the guys in the band [JUDAS PRIEST] will probably make a statement for the fans at some point as to give their assessment of the situation so that it kind of puts everything to rest. Whatever they decide, the thing is, I'm doing interviews because I want to — I want to connect with the fans and the media because I'm in the industry, and that's what I do. I write a book, I played a show today, so I'm doing things that people out there are interested to find out about."
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
Last summer, 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 Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.
Downing's autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September via Da Capo Press.