Ex-JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing says that his former bandmates have no intention of including him in their upcoming 50th-anniversary tour.
Earlier this year, PRIEST announced that it will celebrate the half-century milestone with extensive touring in 2020, with a number of summer European festival dates already booked.
Downing, who co-founded PRIEST when he was still a teenager, addressed the possibility of his participation in next year's trek in a statement issued earlier today.
He said: "First of all, I want to once again express my huge appreciation to all fans worldwide for the overwhelmingly positive response to my Bloodstock appearance in August and the Wolverhampton gig in early November. I am truly humbled and grateful. I am also taken aback with the compelling fan outcry for me to participate in the JUDAS PRIEST 50th-anniversary celebrations next year. Consequently, I felt the right thing to do was to reach out to my former bandmates to gather their thoughts on this, and their response is they are not receptive to my participation in the band and they do not intend to include me in the 50th anniversary celebrations. However, the great news for the fans is that I will be continuing to forge ahead. I am looking very much forward to seeing you all on the road in 2020. Together we will take on the world."
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.
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.
Last month, it was announced that JUDAS PRIEST is among the nominees for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's class of 2020. The top vote-getters will be announced in January and inducted May 2, 2020 at a ceremony at Cleveland's Public Hall.
Downing; Tipton; drummers Dave Holland, Les Binks and Scott Travis; singer Rob Halford; and bassist Ian Hill are on the ballot for JUDAS PRIEST.
Halford told Billboard in 2017 that he was not opposed to the idea of reuniting with Downing at the Rock Hall induction ceremony if they were to ever receive the honor. "Everything's on the table for anyone that's been associated with PRIEST in and out of the band," the singer said.
Earlier this month, Downing played a one-off set of PRIEST classics alongside Binks, ex-PRIEST singer Tim "Riper" Owens and MEGADETH's David Ellefson in Wolverhampton, England.
Downing returned to the stage over the summer, joining former MANOWAR guitarist Ross The Boss for a four-song performance at the U.K.'s Bloodstock Open Air festival.
K.K.'s autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September 2018 via Da Capo Press.