In a brand new interview with the “Rock ‘N Talk Show”, founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing once again 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).
Asked how he came up with the KK’S PRIEST name, Downing said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “We went backwards and forwards with that a lot. But for me, really, I consider myself as being a PRIEST since 1969. I was desperate to be in the band JUDAS PRIEST that existed before; I even auditioned for the band and didn’t get the job. But I stuck in there. I was thinking, ‘I’m determined to be in that [band]. I need to be in JUDAS PRIEST.’ And I traversed on that road and that journey, the evolution of music as we know it today. I’m so proud to have been not just a witness to but to be a part of that evolution. And so when this happened, after all of those decades, it’s impossible just to have a cutoff point and start again and call the band THE FLYING TORNADOES or something obscure. It just doesn’t work. I can’t just let the legacy and my heritage and all of those decades just be flushed down the pan. I don’t wanna throw it all away. I want to rejoice in it and bring some of all of that magic and that nostalgia into the present and into the future with us. And so I just couldn’t really let it go. The guys that are playing in JUDAS PRIEST now, I haven’t even met them. And if they can be a PRIEST, well, I can certainly be a PRIEST as well.”
Downing also discussed the projected setlist for the KK’S PRIEST shows and whether fans can expect to hear songs from his former band performed live. He said: “Yeah, absolutely. Because we’ve got that legacy there. Obviously, when Ripper was in the band, we did some great stuff and some fantastic tours. We did a lot of shows. We’ve got that part of PRIEST to draw from. And some archive stuff that I’ve kind of always wanted to do. When we did the show in Wolverhampton [England in November 2019] with Ripper, we did songs like ‘Before The Dawn’ and ‘Take On The World’, which I’d never played before ever in my career. And so it was a real treat to do that. So we’ve got things like that we can go forward and do as well. Les [Binks, former PRIEST drummer, who was in the initial incarnation of KK’S PRIEST] is gonna step in and be special guest with us. I spoke with him just yesterday. He just wasn’t able to play six or seven hours a day in the studio, but he can play some songs. And that’s gonna be great. And I think if somebody wants to step up and special guest with us, ’cause it’s all about rejoicing in this wonderful music that’s been created and we’ve been a part of. And let’s party with it. Let’s get up there and just play some great shows with a selection of great songs.”
KK’S PRIEST‘s debut album, “Sermons Of The Sinner”, will be released on October 1 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The LP’s first single, “Hellfire Thunderbolt”, was released in May. The title track followed in June.
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 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.
Downing‘s autobiography, “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest”, was released in September 2018 via Da Capo Press.