Ex-Judas Priest Guitarist K.K. Downing Sides with Mick Mars, Calls Their Situations ‘Identical’


The ongoing beef between Mötley Crüe and their former guitarist Mick Mars has garnered the attention of at least another guitarist who’s been estranged from his band for years now — K.K. Downing. The ex-Judas Priest guitarist sent an audio message to Blabbermouth this past Saturday, outlining his thoughts on the matter, as well as how his departure from the seminal heavy metal band was just as unfair.

“I do sympathize [with Mick], because I’m going through exactly the same thing. And it’s pretty unsavory, to say the least. After spending a lifetime building the band’s name, reputation, popularity and value, in particular brand name, it should be all right for people to retire, especially through illness.”

According to Downing, when he left Judas Priest in 2010, he believed that the band was putting together a final tour and calling it quits afterward. Rather than go on tour, he resigned from the band outright. That misunderstanding, he said, was “pretty much identical” to what’s going on with Mars and the Crüe.

“There was a whole set of circumstances for me not doing the final tour. And one of the main considerations [was] we were getting to be concerned about Rob [Halford, Judas Priest singer] and we thought that he was gearing up, ready to leave [the band] again. Because in 2010, when all this was going on, the planning of the farewell tour and finishing the band, the justification was that Rob pretty much within 12 months [in] 2010 had released two studio albums with his own band and had done a world tour, including Ozzfest. And we were very much thinking that Rob, with his own manager, would go separate ways again. And that was another serious consideration. I really wanted to mention that because it really wasn’t the band I was leaving; it was just I decided not to do the farewell, final tour of the band, because that’s what we all agreed and that’s what was intended to happen. So essentially my decision was just not to do the final tour of the band. Of course I didn’t know that the band would continue, at that time, right up until today. Otherwise things and decisions may well have been different. But, as I said, I sympathize with Mick because the circumstances between the two of us seem to be pretty much… well, identical.”

How it was identical, he said, was in the way Downing says his former bandmates “ganged together” to remove him from the business side of things at Judas Priest. That move, he said, is not dissimilar to the incident where Mars was voted out of the band by the rest of Mötley Crüe.

According to the lawsuit filed by Mars, Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx, and Vince Neil got together to oust Mars from the band after he announced his retirement from touring due to his life-long battle of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Following that decision, Mars alleges that his tour profits were cut from 25% to 5%.

Mars also claimed that each of his former bandmates regularly used backing tracks during live shows.

“And yes, on this particular tour, Nikki’s bass was 100% recorded. Tommy’s drums, to the best of my knowledge, there was a lot. I can’t say he did all of it recorded, but there were some reports from people in the audience that said, “Oh, I heard the drums playing, but there’s no Tommy on there. The song started, and there’s no drummer.” Stuff like that. And actually everything that we did on that stadium tour was on tape, because if we didn’t, if we missed a part, the tape would keep rolling and you’d miss it.”

Who knows how this legal battle is going to end? Either way, we’ll be following it up as developments come in.

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