Former JUDAS PRIEST members K.K. Downing (guitar), Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals) and Les Binks (drums) have joined forced in a new band called KK'S PRIEST. The group, which will pay homage to Downing's past, is rounded out by guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE) and bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX).
"Forging ahead with KK'S PRIEST was not only inevitable but essential for me to perform and deliver everything that is expected from me and KK'S PRIEST," Downing said in a statement. "Due to the massive demand and overwhelming support from fans around the world, I feel this is where I belong, and a set combining the true, classic songs and sound of PRIEST, together with great, newly forged metal tracks, is what fans can expect when KK'S PRIEST is taking to stages."
KK'S PRIEST is working on its debut album, to be released via Explorer1 Music Group. It will also play select shows later this year to mark the 50th anniversary of PRIEST and Downing's career as a founding member. KK'S PRIEST's setlist will consist of PRIEST classics and new songs.
KK'S PRIEST is represented exclusively by Andy Gould for Explorer1, with Jim Morewood handling the band's global bookings outside the U.S. for the K2 Agency.
Downing, Binks and Owens performed a full-length set of PRIEST classics with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson in November in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. Joining them on second guitar was Mills of HOSTILE, the British metal band whose two albums, "Eve Of Destruction" and "The New World Disorder", were both produced by Downing.
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
Downing recently said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band's upcoming 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.
In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates 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 after Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.
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 Rob Halford in 2003.