K.K. Downing Clarifies Comments About Glenn Tipton’s Role on New Judas Priest Album


After issuing a statement earlier this week that came off as slightly salty, ex-Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing is now walking back some of what he said about his former bandmates.

At issue is a line in Downing’s statement in which he seemed to suggest that Glenn Tipton — who recently announced he’d be stepping down from touring due to the progression of his Parkinson’s Disease — didn’t perform all the guitar parts on the band’s new album Firepower. Here’s that line again so it’s fresh on our minds:

“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.”

While many — including Rob Halford — took that as an insinuation that some of Tipton’s guitar parts were played by producer Andy Sneap (who will also be filling in for Tipton on the road), Downing has now issued another statement clarifying that’s not what he meant:

“Just to clarify that my complimenting Andy Sneap as I did was no more than I would have said about any other guitar playing producers that have also contributed much more than expected to our past albums. Great talent such as Chris Tsangarides (R.I.P) and Roy Z both not only produced – but also contributed song ideas, riffs and licks, lyric ideas etc. Consequently, albums like Painkiller and Angel of Retribution would not have been the same without them. Even George Martin, I believe, provided much more for the Beatles than just the role of a normal producer. An extra musician in the studio, like the aforementioned talented producers, really does bring a great benefit.”

If we take Downing at face value here, what he’s saying is certainly correct: producers do often add a whole lot to a work of recorded music beyond just twiddling the knobs, and he’s correct that George Martin’s collaborations with The Beatles are a great example of this. Further, who are we to question any writing roles Chris Tsangarides or Roy Z may’ve had on past Judas Priest records?

But here’s the thing: coming directly after K.K.’s stated disappointment of not having been asked to fill in for Tipton on tour, his observation about Sneap’s contributions to the album aren’t a good look. It comes off as sour grapes. Why mention Sneap’s contributions at all in this context if those contributions were similar to those of producers the band has worked with in the past?

I don’t blame Tipton for attempting to walk back his comment by saying he was referring to Sneap’s writing contributions, because to knock Tipton’s physical ability would be incredibly cold-hearted. We certainly hope Downing isn’t that cold-hearted towards someone he shared the stage with for 30 some-odd years.

[via Ultimate Guitar]

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