With Glenn Tipton out of the upcoming tour with Judas Priest due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease, the band had hoped to call in old faithful, a familiar face to many, guitarist K.K. Downing. Tipton has had a long standing career with Judas Priest, having performed on every record since Judas Priest debut album in 1974.
While Downing has not been in the band quite as long as his former six string counterpart, his iconic stature within the band has certainly made him a fan favorite. Following Tipton’s decision to part ways with Judas Priest for health reasons, Downing was asked to rejoin the band. Downing later admitted that he was “shocked and stunned” that he wasn’t asked to return. With no hope in sight to have Downing return to the band, they have recruited the likes of Hell/ex-Sabbat guitarist, Andy Sneap.
“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.”
“I had lots and lots of reasons for not continuing, as I wasn’t content with things as they were. I wasn’t happy with the band’s live performance. I thought it could have been better; not that the fans would notice. To me, Priest was always a stealth machine and that’s what I liked about it. Even though you get older, you still need to be able to deliver the goods. People came a long way and paid a lot of money to see us, so you’ve got to make sure you still give 110 percent. I thought that should be inherent and what it should always be.”
“Obviously I’m quite happy for Richie Faulkner to be in the band. But I really wasn’t expecting to have someone who had so many familiarities as me, the looks and everything. At a glance, nothing too much has changed for the fans.”
JT “Doc” Berry \m/