K.K. Downing starts his own version of Judas Priest with former Priest members
K.K. Downing left Judas Priest in 2011, citing "an on-going breakdown in working relationships between myself, elements of the band and management for some time," and he was replaced by Richie Faulkner. Then in 2018, when longtime Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton had to briefly retire due to Parkinson's, K.K. said that he was "shocked and stunned that I wasn’t approached to step into my original role as guitarist for Judas Priest." Last year, he said he was not approached by the band to take part in the 50th anniversary tour they were planning for 2020.
Also last year, K.K. Downing made his return to the stage for the first time in a decade to perform some Priest classics with former Manowar guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman at Bloodstock Open Air. Speaking about his return to the stage, he said:
It was a bit of a whirlwind. I was saying to the other guys there, I don't know whether I dropped from a helicopter as a bungee jumper, once I landed after 20 seconds and realized where I was, I was good after that point.
A few months later, he performed a one-off set of Priest songs in Wolverhampton with vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens (who fronted Priest from 1996 to 2003 when Rob Halford wasn't in the band), late '70s-era Priest drummer Les Binks, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, and Hostile guitarist A.J. Mills.
Now, K.K. has officially announced that he'll he leading his own version of the band called KK's Priest alongside Tim "Ripper" Owens, Les Binks, A.J. Mills, and Voodoo Six's Tony Newton. He says:
Forging ahead with KK’s Priest was not only inevitable but essential for me to perform and deliver everything that is expected from me and KK’s Priest. Due to the massive demand and overwhelming support from fans around the world, I feel this is where I belong, and a set combining the true, classic songs and sound of Priest, together with great, newly forged metal tracks, is what fans can expect when KK’s Priest is taking to stages.
KK's Priest are also not just playing the classics on tour but working on a new album that's due out via Explorer1 Music Group. Tour dates are TBA.
Meanwhile, the other Judas Priest are scheduled to open Ozzy Osbourne's Europe/UK tour, though Ozzy just cancelled his North American dates not long after revealing he has Parkinson's, so stay tuned for the status on that Europe/UK tour. Priest are also playing Hellfest and other festivals.
Watch videos of KK's set in Wolverhampton from last year, below...