K.K. Downing Says He Played with “Guys That Fu*king Hate Me” During Judas Priest’s Rock Hall Induction


It’s been nearly a year since Judas Priest was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and former guitarist K.K. Downing still has…feelings…about the experience.

During a recent interview with Marko Syrjälä for Chaoszine, Downing explained how he felt like the odd man out the entire time he and fellow former member Les Binks joined vocalist Rob Halford, guitarist Glenn Tipton, bassist Ian Hill, drummer Scott Travis, and his replacement, Richie Faulkner on stage.

“Well, I was kind of debating whether to go there and do it or not because of all the circumstances. Plus, it was a long way to go, but I mean, Les probably told you that their manager told us that we were guests of the band. Me and Les. I’m going, ‘Fuck off. You know, I’m not — if anything, I’m a guest of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I’m there to accept my own award in my own right. You know, I’m not a guest of anybody.’ You know, and then they were going to dictate the songs and what we were going to play. So I said, ‘Oh, fuck, should I bother doing this? You know, I mean, can I be really bothered?’ And then — and then people were saying, ‘You’ve gotta go. It’ll never happen again, obviously, in your lifetime. You deserve this.’ And anyway, so I decided, ‘Okay. I’ll go,’ you know. Um, but obviously, we were kept separated and, you know, not allowed to walk the red carpet together, which is all very sad, but that’s the way that they wanted it.”

Bringing on former members to be inducted into the Rock Hall is nothing new. Metallica did it with Jason Newsted, the Talking Heads temporarily got back together for their induction — hell, even prog icons Yes put their differences aside for the occasion.

Yet just as in some of those instances, the apparent love lost between Downing and his former bandmates still simmered underneath. Remember, Downing didn’t leave on the best terms. Still, he admitted that the newer members of the band, Faulkner and producer-turned-guitarist Andy Sneap, were gracious to him and Binks.

“Richie was great. Richie came, came into our dressing room. Richie was really — you know, he was fine. Obviously, you know I am the real thing, aren’t I? What can I say? But Richie’s great. We get on well. And Andy Sneap is great. He’s an old friend. As for the other guys, you know, I don’t care less about them. If they couldn’t have just like — you know, at our age, just one time, just this — you know what I mean? It was like, just forget about it. You know what I mean? But not to be so — can’t help that. But anyway, I went there and thoroughly enjoyed it really. I rented some equipment, and, luckily, I had a couple of brand-new guitars over there that I’d never seen or played. So, yeah, it was easy and fun.

Ultimately, Downing said he took the once-in-a-lifetime event as a sort of ‘get in, do the job, and get out of there’ kind of arrangement — almost like how most people handle a job they hate.

“It was an experience. It was an experience, to be honest. I mean, I wasn’t — even right up until the performance, I wasn’t sure., I kept saying to myself, ‘Am I doing the right thing here? Is this really heavy metal? I’m with a bunch of guys that fucking hate me.’ I’m — I mean, the rock and roll. I’m looking at Ed Sheeran, and I’m looking at Dolly Parton, and I’m thinking, ‘Fuck it. Am I in the right place? Is this sort of a dream?’ I’m thinking, ‘Oh, what the hell. Just grab the guitar, do it, and get to the pub.’ And that’s what I did. I came off stage, put my clothes on, went straight back to the hotel bar, and that was it. I had some beers, and it was great.”

You can read the full interview with Downing over at Chaoszine.

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