On February 10th, Judas Priest announced that guitarist Glenn Tipton would have to curtail his touring schedule, due to a ten year long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

In light of this announcement, former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing (who left the band, himself, seven years ago) posted the following message at his official website:

“The news that Glenn has finally been forced to come to terms with his unfortunate condition long term came with deep regret and sadness for me. Equally, this ending of our guitar duo era is also something that I have to come to terms with. The insatiable appetite that myself and Glenn had for creating inspired and unique music for the world to enjoy for many decades, is something that can never be erased. However, everyone who has witnessed the evolution of our beloved music must come to terms with the fact that things will inevitably change, or just simply end.

I have to state with great sadness also that I am shocked and stunned that I wasn’t approached to step into my original role as guitarist for Judas Priest. Whether I could have stepped back into the band or not, the potential for this situation arising never entered my head when I departed – although I too am officially and legally still a member of Judas Priest.

However, I know now more clearly than ever that I did the right thing by leaving the band when I did – as it seems that my time spent in the band, and my value in terms of crafting its huge legacy, was and is unappreciated by more than one member. I sincerely hope, for the fans’ sake, that the decision not to approach me was not a financial one.

I know Andy Sneap – and he is one of the greatest contributors to rock and metal that you will ever have the privilege to meet. To that end I have no doubt that his contribution to the new Judas Priest album was much more than just as a producer. All that’s left is for you the fans to go out and enjoy the band as it is, in order to complete a part of music history in which every one of you has played such an important role.”

In an interview with online music publication, Guitarhoo!, Downing spoke about his leaving the band stating, “There had been an on-going breakdown in working relationships between myself, elements of the band and management for some time.” Downing stated that there were at least “21 reasons” why he decided to quit but did not go into detail.

In a 2016 interview with BlastEcho, Downing elaborated on his decision to leave Judas Priest: “I had lots and lots of reasons for not continuing, as I wasn’t content with things as they were. I wasn’t happy with the band’s live performance. I thought it could have been better; not that the fans would notice. To me, [Judas Priest] was always a stealth machine and that’s what I liked about it. Even though you get older, you still need to be able to deliver the goods. People came a long way and paid a lot of money to see us, so you’ve got to make sure you still give 110 percent. I thought that should be inherent and what it should always be.”

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  • robert davenport on

    very sad one of our greatest bands is ending- kk downing and glen tipton made that sound – their creativity and chemistry and the way they each played their instrument meshed into that amazing guitar duo – it can be reasonably copied live doing the hits – but moving forward with 2 new players …that sound is over – i saw priest in 4 times in their prime and i’ll always remember how intense glen tipton was on stage – he had that fiery eyes look every time, he was locked in the zone, kk and glen played together flawlessly and halford was amazing- they were a metal machine –

  • Keith G on

    Kind of disappointed in KK on this! He decided to leave the band on his own! He wasn’t forced out by health issues or anything else, as far as I know. Maybe there were internal band issues, but I don’t remember any of the other guys bad mouthing him when he left. They understood is decision, and wished him well. Now, he is wants to bash the band for not asking him back when he hears about Glen having to stop playing due to his health issues? That is not cool! I agree with Shannon’s post that this sort of thing hurts the bands integrity. Did KK contact the band and offer to come back for this tour? To me, this just sounds like sour grapes on KK’s part. He knows that this tour is going to get a lot of press in the metal community, because it is Priest’s last tour. He wants to be a part of it, and he’s mad that, with Glen having to bow out, the band didn’t come to him begging for him to return.

  • Ray Gillen on

    Tickets for this show in my area (san francisco) were pretty pricey and sold out reasonably quick. This was way before Glenns announcement of course. My ? is was this announcement timed for after the tickets go on sale so as not to hurt attendance ? Friends of mine are pissed off because they wouldnt have paid what they did to not see Glenn and have bob smith stand in. I dunno seems kinda shady to me. They should offer up refunds like they did when Axl stepped in for Brian. I mean he along with Rob are the face of the band.

    • Taskerofpuppets on

      I thought the same thing about the timing of Glenn’s statement thinking it was circumspect. However, when Rob & Ian followed up that he’d just decided the Thursday prior to announcing to the public, I thought it sounded reasonable considering the disease.

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