Former JUDAS PRIEST members K.K. Downing (guitar), Les Binks (drums) and Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals) will team up to perform "a full-length set of PRIEST classics" with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson on November 3 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. Joining them on second guitar will be A.J. Mills of HOSTILE, the British metal band whose two albums, "Eve Of Destruction" and "The New World Disorder", were both produced by Downing.
Checking in from early rehearsals with Downing and Mills, Binks wrote on the K.K. Downing's Steel Mill Facebook page: "It was in 2017 that I re-connected with K.K. Downing after a long hiatus since my departure from JUDAS PRIEST. I'd been asked by an American rock journalist to do an interview for K.K'.s Steel Mill website, which introduced me to Jari Asell, the editor in chief. Jari and I eventually met up at a hotel bar for a drink and a chat, and at the end of the evening, he handed me his phone: 'Someone wants to say hello.' I recognised the Brummie accent straight away. 'Hello, Mr. Downing.'
"Ken and I decided to meet up and catch up over a few pints of Guinness in one of his local pubs. We spent a very pleasant evening looking through some photos I brought along from our time together on tours. Guitarist A.J. Mills also joined us that evening and assisted in keeping the Guinness flowing.
"Around about the same time, I was asked to take part in a one-off recording project for the DEVILSTAR organisation based in Las Vegas. This involved former ANTHRAX guitarist Paul Crook, now guitarist and producer for Meatloaf. I agreed to record a new version of 'Beyond The Realms Of Death'. It just so happened that Tim 'Ripper' Owens was playing a show in London. I had never met him before as he joined PRIEST long after I left, so I decided to attend his show and say hello. Next thing I know, I'm on stage behind the drummer's kit playing songs I'd recorded with PRIEST but this time with Ripper. We had a long chat backstage afterwards and I asked him to do vocal duties on this new recording. He agreed, great! All we needed now was a guitarist to play K.K.'s solo section, so who better to ask than the man himself. With K.K. on board, we now had all three former JP members on the same record. The excellent Joey Vera provided the bass parts.
"Fast forward to late August 2019 while on a trip to Ireland I get an e-mail from K.K.: 'Would you come up and join me, Ripper and Dave Ellefson for a one-off show at the Steel Mill in Wolverhampton on 3rd November?' Well, with a lineup like that, it was a definite 'count me in!'
"After a recent brief rehearsal with K.K. up in Shropshire, I'm happy to report that he is on great form and playing better than ever.
"I'm immensely excited and looking forward to this show. It will the first time that K.K. and I have walked on to a stage together since our time together in JUDAS PRIEST and with Ripper, Dave and the amazing A.J. Mills, this promises to a once-in-a-lifetime, not-to-be-missed kick-ass monster metal event of the year."
The one-off show at K.K.'s Steel Mill will feature a full band set from Ellefson's "Sleeping Giants" band, followed by the PRIEST set with Downing, Binks and Owens. Former IRON MAIDEN vocalist Blaze Bayley will be the evening's opening support act. Additionally, the Steel Mill will also host a special pre-show VIP event whereby attendees will be treated to a "More Life With Deth" book-signing event and one-on-one question-and-answer session with Ellefson, Downing and Ellefson's "More Life With Deth" co-author Thom Hazaert, moderated by Mark Eglinton, who co-authored Downing's recent memoir "Heavy Duty Days And Nights In Judas Priest".
Downing, who left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance, was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
Binks played drums on PRIEST's "Stained Class", "Hell Bent For Leather" (released as "Killing Machine" in the United Kingdom) and "Unleashed In The East" albums.
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Halford in 2003.
Les Binks image courtesy of Metal Talk