Founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing spoke to SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about his decision to call his new band KK'S PRIEST, an obvious nod to his former group.
"I felt that it was justified for me, because of my long legacy and, obviously, being there in the very beginning, that I was still entitled," Downing said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
"Lots of things happened, and even though I [released my autobiography in 2018], I didn't put everything in the book; there's so much I could have put in that book.
"When things happened… For example, the year when I got angry and quit [JUDAS PRIEST], Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] had released two solo albums — studio albums — that year, in 2010. And he did a tour with Ozzy [Osbourne], he went to Peru, he did all of those things. All these things were building up. We were getting pressured to do an EP. And I wasn't enjoying the performances because Glenn [Tipton, PRIEST guitarist] just liked too many beers and stuff like that. But it was all kind of building up in me.
"Having said all that, what people don't know, but it is true that I was gonna do [one final] tour [with PRIEST in 2011]. And I was speaking to Ian [Hill, bass] for a whole week about doing the tour. And I even had him send me over the setlist. But the day after Ian sent me the set list — 'cause I called him back and I said, 'I really like it.' 'Cause I was gonna do the tour — I was gonna do it. But the press release got released the very next morning [announcing my exit from the band], and that's when I got really angry and sent in my second [resignation] letter. And that was a real kind of sayonara. Which is a sad situation, because I was waiting for the guys. They would have known that I was anticipating doing the tour and having a change of mind. But nobody — even Ian, who I was talking to — was not really encouraging me. And I felt pretty deflated. But they made a press release.
"But anyway, without delving into that too much, it was all a sad state of affairs," Downing added. "But at the end of the day, we all agreed to retire. We were all gonna do the 'Epitaph' final tour. I wasn't the only one that was… We all agreed to finish the band. So all I was quitting on was doing the last tour, because I couldn't bring myself to face doing it, to start with, but I did change my mind. I mean, I bought an Axe [guitar] effects unit from Germany — it was two thousand pounds — to do that tour. But it's just the way it unraveled. But the second letter I sent it, Glenn and Jayne [Andrews from PRIEST's management] obviously didn't like what was said. [Laughs] And the rest is history. The door was closed, I guess. Because I have written to the guys on two or three separate occasions to let me back in, but the answer's been no. So I've just moved on with KK'S PRIEST. And I feel justified that I should. And so I will."
KK'S PRIEST, which features Downing alongside Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals), guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE), will release its debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The LP's first single, "Hellfire Thunderbolt", was released last month.
KK'S PRIEST will play select shows to mark the 50th anniversary of PRIEST and Downing's career as a founding member. KK'S PRIEST's setlist will consist of PRIEST classics and new songs.
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.
Downing later said that he believed his second resignation letter — which was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties" — was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST after Tipton's decision to retire from touring.
Downing's autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September 2018 via Da Capo Press.