Rob Halford says that that JUDAS PRIEST is open to reuniting with longtime guitarist K.K. Downing for a one-off performance at a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony.PRIEST is among the first-time nominees to the Rock Hall, part of a list of nineteen potential candidates that was unveiled on Wednesday evening (October 4). Speaking to Billboard on Thursday (October 5), Halford said that he had not had a chance to speak to other members of the band yet, but he's confident that "we're all very, very happy and we're thrilled and we're very genuinely honored by this opportunity for PRIEST and for heavy metal." As for a possible reunion with Downing, who left PRIEST somewhat acrimoniously during 2011, Halford said: "Everything's on the table for anyone that's been associated with PRIEST in and out of the band. It's going to be an absolutely spectacular night, should we be inaugurated — so get the votes, I say." Downing, who is a founding member of the British heavy metal legends and was part of the group since 1969, announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011. He has since been replaced by Richie Faulkner, who was once the guitarist in the backing group for Lauren Harris, daughter of IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris. Downing told BlastEcho in a 2016 interview that he "would be fine" with performing with his former bandmates at the Rock Hall induction ceremony if they were to ever receive the honor. As for an official return to JUDAS PRIEST, Downing said: "Obviously, they have Richie there. MAIDEN has done the three-guitar player [thing], but I don't think there's room for an extra guitar player in PRIEST. PRIEST has always been a two-guitar band so I can't see that working. We'll have to see what happens next." Downing went on to say that one way to guarantee his reunion with JUDAS PRIEST is to schedule a massive tour featuring of BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN and PRIEST. "It would be something I would have to be part of," he said. "Only because I'd like to see the greatest heavy-metal tour happen because it's never happened. And it's never gonna happen. Unfortunately, that chapter of history won't be there forever, which is kind of sad." K.K. told the "Rockin' Metal Revival" Internet radio show in 2015 that he was optimistic that PRIEST would one day get inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. He said: "Well, I certainly hope so. But everything comes to us in the end, I guess and hope. As hard workers and as prolific a band as we've been, producing material and tours for so long, it was… not as though we really, really care about winning Grammys, but lots of other bands do. We're thinking, 'Why do we get pushed to the back of the queue?' So I guess the Hall Of Fame, there's still a lot of fantastic bands that have still not been let into the Hall Of Fame, but I guess that everyone's turn will come." During a 2015 interview with Guitar International, Downing elaborated on his reasons for leaving PRIEST. He said: "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." K.K. also said that he didn't think his return to PRIEST would "ever, ever happen." He explained: "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." The top Rock Hall vote-getters will be announced in December and inducted on April 14 at a ceremony in Cleveland. HBO will broadcast the ceremony later in the year. To be eligible for this year's ballot, each nominee's first single or album had to be released in 1992 or earlier. For the sixth consecutive year, the public will have the opportunity to vote alongside the more than eight hundred artists, historians and music industry insiders of the Rock Hall voting body. From now until December 5, fans can vote on the Rock Hall's site for the nominees they'd like to see inducted. The top five acts will comprise a "fan's ballot" that will count as one of the ballots that determine the class of 2016. The induction ceremony this year could feature some other reunions: RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE has not performed together since 2011, and it's unknown whether reclusive frontman Zack De La Rocha would turn up for the event. BON JOVI guitarist Richie Sambora left the group in 2013 under less-than-amicable circumstances. Jon Bon Jovi later told "Today" that he had moved on, though he insisted that he still had a special place in his heart for his former bandmate.
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