Former JUDAS PRIEST members K.K. Downing (guitar), Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals) and Les Binks (drums) recently joined forced in a new band called KK'S PRIEST. The group, which pays homage to Downing's past, is rounded out by guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE) and bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX).
Speaking about Mills, Downing said: "A.J. was just 14 when he saw his first-ever concert at our show in Birmingham England in 2001 with Ripper on vocals. Since then, he has aspired to be a guitarist. Years later, I was introduced to A.J. and his band HOSTILE through his uncle Steve who I went to school with. Needless to say, I became involved and started to help where I could, producing their two albums and writing a song for them. The band went on to support internationally bands such as MEGADETH, MANOWAR and MACHINE HEAD, to name a few.
"A.J. is from my hometown, so I feel very comfortable having him as a guitar partner and it's good to keep connected to the origins and the birthplace of the original PRIEST.
"A.J. has gone from strength to strength as a guitarist, and please check out A.J. playing 'Beyond The Realms Of Death' with me at our one-off gig at the Steel Mill last November. [See video below.]
"We very much appreciate your support and look forward to presenting to you a new album which is well on the way and a world tour as soon as possible."
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.
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.
MEET THE BAND - KK INTRODUCES AJ MILLS!
AJ was just 14 when he saw his first ever concert at our show in Birmingham...