In a brand new interview with Sakis Fragos of Rock Hard Greece, founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing elaborated on his decision to call his new band KK'S PRIEST, an obvious nod to his former group. His is joined in KK'S PRIEST by former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
K.K. said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think a lot of fans will understand that I have been a PRIEST since 1968. I've wanted to be a PRIEST since . I've traversed the road of the evolution of music as we know it today. We went from blues, when I was young, to progressive blues to rock to hard rock to heavy rock to heavy metal. I've been on that journey. So I believe that I have a right to continue as a PRIEST, because some of the guys in PRIEST now, I haven't met them, and they're playing my songs, which is fine," he said, apparently referencing his replacement, Richie Faulkner. "But if they have a right to be a PRIEST, then I have a right [to be a PRIEST]. And I can't start something absolutely new. I can't sound like a new guitar player. I can't write like a new guitar player. So everything I do is gonna be reminiscent of the past to the fans. So that's when I decided that [I was gonna call the band KK'S PRIEST]. And I think it's gonna be absolutely fine; I really do. And the face of KK's PRIEST, that will evolve, and that will be on the journey with us. There's so much yet to come — there's more videos, more songs coming your way. And there's more albums to come also."
According to Downing, JUDAS PRIEST and the band's management weren't happy with the fact that he used the KK'S PRIEST name for his new group.
"Their lawyers sent a letter to my record company making threats of legal action if I went forward with KK'S PRIEST," K.K. revealed. "But for the moment, nothing happened. I think they made the threat but decided not to follow through with the threat. But they made the threat to try to stop me making the band."
Downing, who officially left JUDAS PRIEST in 2011, said that there was talk, around a decade ago, of him continuing to collaborate with some of his former bandmates on other projects.
"A couple of weeks after I walked out, Rob [Halford, JUDAS PRIEST singer] and his manager wrote me a letter. They wanted me to form a band with Rob and some other musicians. Jeff Loomis [former NEVERMORE and current ARCH ENEMY guitarist] was one. I can't remember the names. But I've got the e-mail… I just ignored it."
Asked what he thinks led Rob to approach Downing about forming a new band, K.K. said: "You have to ask him. No one asks them questions. No journalist asks the other guys questions."
KK'S PRIEST's debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", will be released on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The LP's first single, "Hellfire Thunderbolt", was released last month. The title track followed in mid-June.
Downing left PRIEST amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
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 Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.