GUITARIST K.K. DOWNING SAYS HE OPEN TO CELEBRATING JUDAS PRIEST’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY WITH THE BAND
K.K. Downing says that he is “open to any conversations” with his former bandmates in Judas Priest about taking part in the group’s upcoming 50th-anniversary celebration.
Asked by DJ Yentonian in a new interview if he would welcome the opportunity to commemorate the half-century milestone with his former bandmates, Downing said (via blabbermouth.net), “Well, I’m certainly open to any conversations, as I always say to those guys. I’ve said it pretty openly — what’s happened has happened. Everybody in the band knew why I left the band, quit the band. Everybody in the band knew I had good reason to quit the band, because nobody, nobody quits a lifetime of invested time and energy into something and walks away from it that easily.”
He continued, “Can I draw you guys a comparison? And it might be a rubbish comparison, but I always think that if any of you guys ever left your girlfriend or your wife, or whatever, and your parents had gone, ‘Oh, but she was lovely. You guys were made for each other. You got on so well.’ And you think, ‘No, she was evil’ — can I say ‘evil bitch’? Because I’ve been there. But only you understand, because you are the ones behind closed doors having to deal with it all. On the outside, you put on a good face for everybody. But the thing is, just because everybody tells you that person is good and you shouldn’t leave and you should go back, you know better, don’t you? And you can’t do it. As much as you’d like to, you can’t do it — until circumstances change. And, obviously, circumstances [in Priest] did change, which left an opening for me. But all the guys decided not to keep the door open for me. Because the controlling entity still had control — unfortunately.”
Bassist Ian Hill recently said that there were no plans to invite Downing to return to the band
“[Guitarist] Richie [Faulkner] took over from Ken,” Hill told Riff Magazine. “He’s done an absolutely tremendous job, he really has. And he’s made Ken’s parts his own now. He’s got his own angle on the lead breaks. Ken’s part’s been taken, and there’s no plans to have Ken back, really. Hey, listen, never say never. But at the moment, we’re going along quite well without Ken, so it could stay like that, I think, at least for the foreseeable future.”
During the same chat, Hill confirmed that the band is planning to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020. “That’ll come next year; we’re planning on a celebratory tour next year,” he said. “We weren’t actually known as Judas Priest in 1969. Ken Downing, myself and a guy called John Ellis formed in ’69, but we weren’t called Judas Priest actually, until 1970, so we’ll start celebrating next year.”
Downing’s autobiography, Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest, was released last September via Da Capo Press.