Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Kenneth "K.K." Downing has posted the following message on his official web site:"I hope that you have had a great summer season and that you all had lashings of metal from your favourite bands. I am just on my way to a HOSTILE gig in Birmingham to get a good metal pounding myself. "It's great news that the band has now procured a release for their debut album, 'Eve Of Destruction'. It seems forever since a band from the Birmingham-area last made an impression on the metal world. I am anticipating that this young band will raise the flag for Midlands metal and join the ranks of their predecessors. With Ian's [Hill, JUDAS PRIEST bassist] son Alex in the band now, how befitting that would be. "On that note, I must urge everyone to try pay for their music because without your support our beloved metal will become an endangered species if it is not that way already. "I have many friends and associates that once had a good career and prospects; these include producers, record engineers, managers and of course many musicians. Now most of them are struggling to make ends meet and stay in the business. Unfortunately it is now virtually impossible for new bands to make any headway at all. "I know that many bands are making pretty decent records in their bedrooms or garages, but just think what we are missing even as good as we thought we were back in the day we would never have made the records we did without the professionals that helped us to achieve our goals. It is essential to get things back on track, in order that the young musicians can afford the help of good experienced engineers and producers. But that will never happen until record labels start signing again and give the financial support that is much needed for this to happen. To get this on track, all of us need to endeavour to pay for our music if we can in order to secure the future of metal which we all hold dear to our hearts. "Just imagine if downloading was available in the sixties or seventies? I guarantee that the great metal legacy that we know today would not exist or at least not as we know it. "If there is one thing that I would like to take with me to my grave, it would be to know that all of the young and new talented players out there would at least have the fair chance to make it in the way that I did. "Many thanks again for your continued support." Downing, whose retirement from the band was announced in April, issued a statement regarding his departure from the legendary heavy metal group on the eve of its farewell tour. Downing said, "It is with much regret that I will not be with you this summer. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your concerns about my health. Please rest assured that I am OK. There has been an ongoing breakdown in (the) working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band's management for some time. Therefore I have decided to step down rather than to tour with negative sentiments as I feel that this would be a deception to you, our cherished fans. However, I would urge you to please support the PRIEST as I have no doubt that it will be a show not to be missed."
The band has recruited 31-year-old British guitarist Richie Faulkner to replace Downing on the tour, with singer Rob Halford saying, "K.K. can never be replaced; he's unique, and we didn't want any kind of K.K. copycat. Richie Faulkner came to Glenn's [Tipton, guitar] house to jam, and Glenn simply told me he was absolutely brilliant." Although PRIEST plans to stop touring extensively after this run, the band will continue to record and intends to issue a new studio album in 2012.