Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing has once again said that he would consider returning to the band if was approached the right way about coming back.
Last summer, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates eight years ago when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST following Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from the road due to his battle with Parkinson's disease.
During a recent interview with the "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" podcast, Downing was asked if he would ever consider playing with his former bandmates again, either for a full tour or a special one-off event.
"Well, it depends on the circumstances of me being asked back," he said (hear audio below). "If the guys had said, 'K.K., Glenn is not well. He's not able to do the tour. We really want you to get back in, we wanna add some fortification and go out there with the PRIEST and give the fans as much of PRIEST as we can possibly give them. So we'd like you to step back in and it will be a level playing field, total democracy. Everybody's got an equal say. Go out there and have some fun,' then it would have been difficult to say 'no,' really. It would have been hard to say 'no,' because I would have had confidence. I'd be stepping up there with a new guitar partner, but there's no doubt Richie [Faulkner, Downing's replacement] would just move over. I'd take my place back and [Richie] takes Glenn's parts. I think we would have been a pretty good duo, to be fair. But the situation has got a little bit undesirable — you know, things said. Even Richie has made a comment [about why Downing wasn't asked to return to PRIEST]. And I'm thinking, 'I don't think that's appropriate.' But bands are always falling out and then, next thing you know, they're kissing and hugging. 'Oh, it's great to have you back in the band.'"
Faulkner told the Goldmine magazine podcast that there are "lots of reasons" why "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap is the right guy to fill in for Tipton on PRIEST's current tour. "The general consensus seems to be that K.K. left," Richie said. "As far as I'm aware, the band gave him a grace period and they wanted him to come back and they wanted him to stay initially, and he didn't want anything to do with it. So why the band should ask him to come back, I'm not quite sure what he thinks. But there's lots of different facets that go into these sort of decisions, both to get Andy in and lots of other things. There's a lot of personal reasons — all those sorts of things. It's not as clear cut as the Internet has you believe. There's a lot more that goes into it, and I think people understand that as well, if they gave it some thought. But, you know, we're forging forward."
Last summer, JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill dismissed the possibility of Downing returning to the band, explaining that "Ken's place in the band has already been taken. It's also two albums down the road since 'Nostradamus', which is the last one he played on, and is he gonna be prepared to play music from the new album, which he probably would not," he said. "And on top of that, he's gonna have to learn Glenn's parts too. So it's all reasons why we didn't [ask him to return]. Apart from that, he's been retired for nearly eight years. He hasn't since set foot on stage as far as I know, so he's hardly at the peak of his game at the moment."
A year ago, Downing sold his share of the royalty rights to 136 of JUDAS PRIEST's tracks, including classic songs "Breaking The Law", "Living After Midnight" and "Painkiller", to Round Hill Music. The deal was made following the collapse of his luxury golf course venture.
K.K.'s autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September via Da Capo Press.