K.K. Downing is “Shocked and Stunned” He Wasn’t Asked to Replace Glenn Tipton in Judas Priest


K.K. Downing retired from touring with Judas Priest in 2011, so it doesn’t come as either “shocking” or “stunning” to me that the band didn’t ask him to step in when his former batterymate Glenn Tipton announced earlier this month that his Parkinson’s Disease has worsened to the point where he, too, would step off the stage.

But that’s not how Downing sees it! The other half of Priest’s legendary guitar duo issued a statement on Facebook this morning expressing disappointment that Priest didn’t approach him to fill Tipton’s touring commitments, instead turning to Firepower producer (and Sabbat guitarist) Andy Sneap to fill the role (for whom, it’s worth noting, Downing expressed high praise).

I have to wonder whether Downing was ever seriously considered as a touring replacement for Tipton. On the one hand, he left the band of his own will, so the other band members could be forgiven for assuming he’d have no interest in coming back. On the other hand, he’s the obvious choice, and it’s hard to imagine someone who played in the band for over 40 years wouldn’t be in play for the gig. I’m left thinking two things: perhaps the split with Downing was more acrimonious than is publicly known, and perhaps finances played a part in it.

Also of note: Downing reveals in his statement that he is “officially and legally still a member of Judas Priest.” Interesting!

Here’s K.K.’s statement in full:

“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.”

Get dates for Judas Priest’s upcoming tour here. Firepower comes out on March 9th.

[via Ghost Cult Mag]

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