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.
During an appearance on yesterday's (Tuesday, September 17) edition of SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation", Downing talked about how the gig came about.
"Dave had this idea, 'cause he was coming up to the U.K. He wondered if I would join him in the celebration of the release of his new book," K.K. recalled. "And just through telephone conversations, it was a case of, 'What about this?' and, 'What about if we do that?' And the next thing was, I'm involved with this really quite large venue in the U.K. So I said, 'Why not? We'll come up to the Steel Mill and play a show and make a really good event of it.' So that's what it's gonna be. On the night, there'll be me, Dave, Ripper, Les Binks and a great guest guitar player, A.J. Mills, who is a player also from the Birmingham area. So that's a pretty good fit with the roots of PRIEST. And A.J. looks good, plays good and performs good, and I like that. And it's gonna be a great show… And also we've got the interview with various personnel — definitely Dave, obviously, because it all surrounds his evening — with interviews, questions and answers. And it's just gonna be a big celebration, really, party event. Kind of a 'MegaPriest' fest, I think. We're really looking forward to it."
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.
Last year, 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.
Downing reconnected with Binks in 2017 for the first time in nearly four decades. Downing later described the experience of meeting his former bandmate as "great" and called Les "one of the greatest drummers in the world and a good friend and a great guy."
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.