K.K. Downing says his departure from Judas Priest in 2011 was never meant to be a retirement.
Furthermore, Downing says he fully expected to return to Judas Priest in 2018 after his longtime co-guitarist Glenn Tipton announced that he was battling Parkinson's disease and would no longer tour with the band.
In a recent conversation with Doc Coyle's The Ex-Man podcast, Downing explained that he was frustrated with the management of the band and a declining quality in their live shows. But once he began considering greener pastures, he was forced out. He conceded to the 'retirement' term so as not to let on publicly that there was any bad blood.
Post-Priest, Downing went straight back to work with a variety of projects, including records with Violent Storm, Blackmore's Night and Yngwie Malmsteen. The whole time he says he expected to one day return to the band he helped build from 1971 onward.
"And when Glenn retired, I fully expected that that would be the opening. But they never called me," Downing said. "So, essentially, those guys are going out there playing my songs and stuff like that. So if they can call themselves Priest, I feel totally entitled to be in Priest also, and to be able to play my songs."
Downing's dismay at Judas Priest's lack of interest in bringing him back set off a months long back-and-forth between himself and Rob Halford, who suggested early on that Downing would have declined an offer to rejoin the band.
Downing launched his own band, K.K.'s Priest in 2020 and has a debut album, Sermons of the Sinner, set for release this coming August.
Listen to the full Ex-Man podcast conversation via the player above!
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