Downing is set to release KK’s Priest’s debut album, Sermons of the Sinner, next month and the legendary guitarist has shared how his new project will continue the legacy he created with Judas Priest. Naturally, he was also questioned about his acrimonious exit from the group and he completely refuted the group’s claim that he had voluntarily withdrawn. Downing also shared his pain that the group made it clear again that there was no more room for him with them after being replaced by Richie Faulkner. SCROLL TO SEE THE FULL INTERVIEW
Speaking to BBC Radio, Downing gave his version of events that saw him dramatically withdraw from the second half of the Epitaph World Tour in 2011 – which was heralded as the group’s final farewell.
He said: âWe all agreed to retire. So in 2010 I sent a nice out of court letter. It wasn’t really how I felt, I felt I was doing myself an injustice and I did not feel well.
âA lot of things came to a head, so I kind of bailed out, but a few months later I changed my mind. I was talking to Ian (Hill) about going on the tour, but it seemed like ‘they had already made up their mind to continue with Richie. They made the press release that I had retired, which wasn’t really the caseâ¦ I always thought there would be a crack in the door at some point there would be an opening but it wasn’t meant to beâ¦ “
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In 2019, Downing said, âI just felt some of the guys [in the band] more went through the movements. Because I always said to guys, ‘Look, the older you get, the younger you have to play.’ I stick to this rule. But it did not happen.
“Glenn (Tipton) had a few beers before and during (being) on ââstage, so musically it made me a little nervous. And Rob (Halford) was reading all his lyrics on teleprompters and stuff like that, I didn’t have so not the feeling that he connected with the audience like he should as a leader. And that made Scott (Travis), the drummer, look pretty bored every time I looked at him. “
Relations have been strained since 2011, and Downing rekindled the issue when he posted a post in 2018 after guitarist Tipton had to withdraw from the band due to Parkinson’s disease.
He said: “I must also state with great sadness that I am shocked and dumbfounded that I was not approached to take on my initial role as the guitarist of Judas Priest.”
Halford reiterated the group’s position that Downing officially retired in 2011, so there was no reason to ask him, a position Downing continues to dispute.
He also explained why he decided this year to release KK’s Priest and their debut album in August: âUnder these circumstances, I want to move forward as KK’s Priest. I will bring everything I have ever done. and realized, who I am, the way I sound, the way I write …
âI have always been a priest. So if there is a priest in Judas Priest that I have never met and they play my songs and make money, well I have the right to be priest too.
“The last thing I want to be an offspring or offspring (of the group). I am here, I offered my services that were refused. I have been a priest since 1968. I have spent my life evolving (the group) I was the first to put on the leather and the studs, just like the group …
“I feel justified with this great group that it has to be a continuation of this wonderful music and a celebration of rock and metal that I have played such a pivotal role in and have been a part of, so proudly.”
During the high-profile interview, Downing was also asked why he thought Judas Priest didn’t have the same success and impact as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath in the 1970s. The band ultimately did. pierced with the sixth album British Steel in 1980.
Downing said: “I just think it was probably the connections and the machines. We signed with a little company called Gold Records for the first two albums. But really, the albums weren’t exactly sounding, weren’t really capturing the band how much we sounded live. And then Sony came in and said, “We’d love to sign the bands.”
“And then it was very, very good because they were very united and had big machines, they put us in contact with Roger Glover, obviously, which was wonderful. A member of Deep Purple producing the bandâ¦ I I’m like ‘Wow, that’s good.’ But we still had to find the commodity because it was very experimental, I guess, and always got where it needed to be.
“I had the Flying V which is now synonymous with heavy metal bands very early on, and obviously with Rob in the lead. It had to happen at some point, but so it was a long journey.”