Revered and followed by millions of classic heavy metal lovers, Judas Priest has seen its share of ups and downs, lineup changes, and reunions that have kept fans on the edge of their seats. Last year, the world witnessed the historic reunion with guitarist K.K. Downing alongside former drummer Les Binks, for a momentous performance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony, leaving fans hopeful for a full-fledged return. However, in a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Downing stated that he would not play with his former bandmates ever again.
In a blunt response to the question of whether he would ever make another appearance with Judas Priest, Downing stated firmly, "No." He explained that before he embarked on his own musical journey with K.K.'s Priest, he had approached the band, expecting to step back into his "rightful place." However, the response from his former bandmates, Glenn Tipton and Ian Hill, was a flat "no," delivered through their lawyers.
"Before I started K.K.'s Priest, I asked if they'd consider me stepping back into my rightful place because at one point they announced they were going out as a four-piece. I was expecting to be back in the band when there was an opening, or at least to be asked. But Glenn and Ian [Hill, bassist] wrote through their lawyers saying a flat no, which made no sense, as I was there first. And Rob [Halford] left for 11 years so how does he have the right to say ‘I won't consider you re-joining”
Downing's frustration was evident as he pointed out the irony of the situation: “I was instrumental in reinstating him into the band! Glenn wasn't interested in having Rob back, he wanted to keep Ripper [Tim Owens, who replaced Rob Halford in Priest when the latter left in the 90s]. But I gave them one last chance, and I was like, ‘Are you sure? One day you might live to regret it.' Let's hope they don't.”
The guitarist did offer a glimpse into his rock 'n' roll heart by revealing that he had always hoped to work with Tim "Ripper" Owens again. Owens had replaced Halford during the 90s, and his time with the band left an indelible mark on their music. Downing shared, "Yes, I'm hoping we can create something here where Ripper finds a good home. I believe that when he sings this material, he's at his best. His voice can cover anything, but our stuff is a little paced out so he can get the best out of the lyrics and the notes.”