Guitarist K.K. Downing has ruled out ever returning to JUDAS PRIEST
In a new interview with Metal Hammer magazine, original JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Kenneth “K.K.” Downing says he will not ever perform with the iconic heavy metal band again. “No,” he replied when asked about making another appearance with PRIEST. “Before I started [my new band] KK’S PRIEST, I asked if they’d consider me stepping back into my rightful place, because at one point they announced they were going out as a four-piece. I was expecting to be back in the band when there was an opening, or at least to be asked.
“But Glenn [Tipton, PRIEST guitarist] and Ian [Hill, bassist] wrote through their lawyers saying a flat no, which made no sense, as I was there first. And Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] left for 11 years, so how does he have the right to say ‘I won’t consider you rejoining’? I was instrumental in reinstating him into the band. Glenn wasn’t interested in having Rob back; he wanted to keep Ripper [Tim Owens, who replaced Halford in PRIEST when the latter left in the early 1990s]. But I gave them one last chance, and I was, like, ‘Are you sure? One day you might live to regret it.’ Let’s hope they don’t.”
Last year, Downing took the stage with PRIEST during the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony held in Los Angeles.
At the November 2022 event, PRIEST was honored with the Musical Excellence Award, alongside other notable artists such as Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS, and Carly Simon, who were recognized in the Performers category.
The JUDAS PRIEST members who were inducted into the Hall of Fame include the current lineup comprising Halford, Hill, Tipton, and Scott Travis on drums, as well as former members Downing, drummer Les Binks, and the late drummer Dave Holland.
During the ceremony, Halford, Hill, Tipton, and Travis joined forces with Binks, Downing, and the current guitarist Richie Faulkner to deliver a captivating three-song medley featuring “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin‘,” “Breaking The Law,” and “Living After Midnight.”
Faulkner, who is nearly three decades younger than Downing, joined PRIEST in 2011 following K.K. Downing‘s departure amid allegations of band conflicts, inadequate management, and declining performance quality. In 2018, Downing disclosed that he had sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to leave JUDAS PRIEST. The first letter was described as a “graceful exit note,” suggesting a smooth retirement from music, while the second was more forceful, articulating his frustrations with specific parties.
Downing later expressed his belief that the second letter played a significant role in why he wasn’t invited to rejoin PRIEST after Tipton‘s retirement from touring.