TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS On Why KK'S PRIEST Doesn't Do Meet-And-Greets: K.K. DOWNING Is 'Not A Big Fan Of Them'

December 19, 2023

In a new interview with Kevin McKay of Florida's 99Rock WKSM radio station, KK'S PRIEST frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens was asked if he and his bandmates are offering meet-and-greets for their upcoming U.S. tour. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):  "We usually don't do meet-and-greets. I know it's the big thing to do nowadays. And I would be all right doing meet-and-greets, but I know K.K.'s [Kenneth Downing, KK'S PRIEST guitarist and leader] not a big fan of 'em. He likes to get in, do the show and get out."

When McKay noted that a lot of artists nowadays offer meet-and-greets as a way of making extra money on the road, Owens said: "Well, absolutely. And I'm all for that. [Laughs] Listen, I tried to talk [K.K.] into it. I said, 'Listen, we should do 'em. And we get some good money out of this and we can see the fans.' Listen, that's all I've been getting on social media is people asking, 'Is there gonna be meet-and-greets?' And I think everybody does it. I mean, it's a different era. You don't sell records like you used to and everything's so expensive and everybody takes a giant merch cut out of your merch. So it's ways to make extra money."

After McKay pointed out that a KK'S PRIEST meet-and-greet without K.K. "would kind of defeat the purpose," Owens concurred. "Yeah, we're not gonna do it like that," he said. "I think most of the people seem to want K.K. and myself to be doing them. And if I would just show up, some people would be all right, but K.K. is the [person everyone wants to meet]."

McKay then joked that "it doesn't even sound like" he can sneak backstage and eat KK'S PRIEST's food, to which Owens replied: "I imagine you can get back. I mean, we'll meet people and stuff like that. Ken and myself usually, [when] the show ends, we usually walk right out the door with our bag and go to the hotel. I do it because it's singing; I do anything I can to sing good. But yeah, we still get the people, especially people like the radio hosts and the people who [have] put time in the helping us out, we always love to say hello to all you guys."

KK'S PRIEST's first-ever U.S. headlining tour will kick off on March 7, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and will feature support from L.A. GUNS and BURNING WITCHES. The tour will be the first of at least a two-leg USA run of shows, planned to continue later in 2024.

KK'S PRIEST made its live debut on July 6 at Downing's KK's Steel Mill in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.

KK'S PRIEST kicked off a five-date "Priests, Killers & Witches" U.K. tour on October 7 at O2 Institute in Birmingham. Special guest on all dates was former IRON MAIDEN vocalist Paul Di'Anno who performed a full set of classics straight from the first two MAIDEN records, and opening up the bill was BURNING WITCHES.

KK'S PRIEST's sophomore album, "The Sinner Rides Again", came out in September via the Austrian label Napalm Records.

Joining Downing and Owens, in KK'S PRIEST are guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE),bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).

K.K. formed KK'S PRIEST after JUDAS PRIEST turned down his offer to rejoin the band for their 50th-anniversary tour. It followed a couple of celebrated stage appearances, first with former MANOWAR guitarist Ross The Boss in the summer of 2019, then with a one-off lineup that included former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson and former PRIEST drummer Les Binks later that year.

KK'S PRIEST released its debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", in October 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.

Downing spent four months writing and recording "Sermons Of The Sinner" and, along with new ideas, he even resurrected a few archived riffs from the 1980s.

Downing was reunited with JUDAS PRIEST for a performance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony last November at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at the event, which honored Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.

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.

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 Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.

Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Rob Halford in 2003.

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