Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing has said he’s “justified” in calling his new group KK’s Priest, an obvious attempt to benefit from the name value of his former employers.
Downing, who left Judas Priest in 2011 by his own volition and later became sour about not being invited back, launched KK’s Priest last year with two other former members of the band, vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens and drummer Les Binks (who only played with the band between 1977 and 1979). Guitarist A.J. Mills (Hostile) and bassist Tony Newton (Voodoo Six) round out the lineup.
Speaking to SiriusXM’s Eddie Trunk earlier this week, Downing defended his use of the KK’s Priest moniker and went into detail about his exit from Judas Priest in 2011, explaining:
“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.
“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, Rob [Halford] 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] 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] 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. 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 unveiled their first new song, “Hellfire Thunderbolt,” last month. Their debut album, Sermons Of The Sinner, will come out on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.