Ex-JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing says that he relates to MÖTLEY CRÜE guitarist Mick Mars in his current legal dispute with his bandmates
Mick Mars announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE last October due to his ongoing struggles related to ankylosing spondylitis, an arthritic condition that affects the spine. Mick did however maintain that he would remain a member of the band, with John 5 taking his place while the group toured.
In his newly filed lawsuit, Mars states that after his announcement, the rest of MÖTLEY CRÜE tried to remove him as a significant stakeholder from the business end of the group’s corporation.
Mick went on to claim that he was asked to sign a severance agreement that would cut his 25 percent stake in the band’s various business interests in return for a 5 percent stake in the band’s 2023 tour. This stake, the lawsuit alleges, would be reduced to 0 percent for future tours.
Mick then claims MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s management increased the offer from 5 percent to 7.5, which would remain contingent on the guitarist divesting himself from the band. Mick refused to sign the papers which caused the band to take the issue to arbitration “rather than a public lawsuit so that the public would not be aware of the deplorable manner in which they treated their ‘brother’ of 41 years,” Mick claims.
K.K. Downing walked away from JUDAS PRIEST in 2011 as the group were preparing to embark on what was supposed to be their farewell tour. Seeing the common elements in both situations, Downing addressed the similarities in an audio message sent to BLABBERMOUTH.NET earlier today (Saturday, April 8).
K.K. said: “I do sympathize [with Mick], because I’m going through exactly the same thing. And it’s pretty unsavory, to say the least. After spending a lifetime building the band’s name, reputation, popularity and value, in particular brand name, it should be all right for people to retire, especially through illness.
“In my case, we were gearing up in 2010 to do a final world tour, the ‘Epitaph‘ tour, which was meant to be the end of the band,” Downing explained. “And because I was having pressure put on me to write for an EP to support that tour, which I absolutely was not gonna be any part of… I certainly didn’t want to finish my career with an EP. So I threw the towel in and sent a retirement letter in.
“There was a whole set of circumstances for me not doing the final tour. And one of the main considerations [was] we were getting to be concerned about Rob [Halford, JUDAS PRIEST singer] and we thought that he was gearing up, ready to leave [the band] again. Because in 2010, when all this was going on, the planning of the farewell tour and finishing the band, the justification was that Rob pretty much within 12 months [in] 2010 had released two studio albums with his own band and had done a world tour, including Ozzfest. And we were very much thinking that Rob, with his own manager, would go separate ways again.
“And that was another serious consideration. I really wanted to mention that because it really wasn’t the band I was leaving; it was just I decided not to do the farewell, final tour of the band, because that’s what we all agreed and that’s what was intended to happen. So essentially my decision was just not to do the final tour of the band. Of course I didn’t know that the band would continue, at that time, right up until today. Otherwise things and decisions may well have been different. But, as I said, I sympathize with Mick because the circumstances between the two of us seem to be pretty much… well, identical.”
K.K. added that Halford, bassist Ian Hill and guitarist Glenn Tipton “ganged together” and “kicked me off as a director” in the company Judas Priest Music Limited, which controls JUDAS PRIEST‘s assets. “As a 25 percent shareholder in the company, their stance is that my shares don’t have a value, which is completely ridiculous,” Downing said. “I think Mick actually talked about that particular thing as well [as it relates to MÖTLEY CRÜE] and it seems to be what the rest of the guys in his band are trying to do also….
“Even the [JUDAS PRIEST] 50-year anniversary book, for example, that’s seriously well illustrated with so many pictures of my life’s history that I don’t get any revenue from that whatsoever, or from any merchandise. And I’ve been told that the company has no value.”
Downing stressed that he wanted to speak about his own experience in an effort to warn other musicians who could be dealing with similar situations.
“I think to safeguard any other people that may be coming around to being in this position that may well be acquaintances of mine or even good friends of mine, I wouldn’t like them to be in the same position,” he said. “So safeguards needs to be put in place to avoid even the thought of litigation. But as for me and Mick, it seems that’s our only route.”
K.K. reunited with JUDAS PRIEST for a performance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony last November.