Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing says that he never meant to insinuate that producer Andy Sneap played Glenn Tipton's guitar parts during the making of the band's new album, "Firepower".
Two weeks after Tipton announced that he was retiring from the road due to his battle with Parkinson's disease, Downing released a statement in which he said that he was "shocked and stunned" that he wasn't approached to rejoin the band and suggested that Sneap's "contribution to the new JUDAS PRIEST album was much more than just as a producer." His comments appeared to get a rise out of JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford, who fired back that "a lot" of K.K.'s statement was "completely superfluous" and dismissed as "a thousand percent false" the idea that Tipton didn't personally lay down all of his guitar work on "Firepower".
Earlier today, Downing released a follow-up statement in which he said he wanted to "clarify" his original comments as he felt that "parts" of them were "regretfully misinterpreted."
Downing said: "Just to clarify that my complimenting Andy Sneap as I did was no more than I would have said about any other guitar-playing producers that have also contributed much more than expected to our past albums. Great talent such as Chris Tsangarides (R.I.P) and Roy Z both not only produced, but also contributed song ideas, riffs and licks, lyric ideas etc. Consequently, albums like 'Painkiller' and 'Angel Of Retribution' would not have been the same without them. Even George Martin, I believe, provided much more for THE BEATLES than just the role of a normal producer. An extra musician in the studio, like the aforementioned talented producers, really does bring a great benefit."
Tipton, who is now 70 and has performed on every PRIEST album since the group's 1974's debut set, "Rocka Rolla", is not quitting the outfit, but simply cannot handle the rigorous challenges of performing live. Joining PRIEST for its upcoming dates will be Sneap, who has previously played with HELL and SABBAT.
Downing 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 He has since been replaced by Richie Faulkner, who was once the guitarist in the backing group for Lauren Harris, daughter of IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris.
In his statement on Tuesday, Downing said that he knows "now more clearly than ever" that he did the right thing by leaving the band when he 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."
"Firepower" will be released on March 9 via Epic.
The North American leg of the "Firepower" tour will kick off on March 13 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and will wrap on May 1 in San Antonio, Texas.