K.K. Downing has shot down the suggestion that his new band KK'S PRIEST is another version of JUDAS PRIEST. The founding PRIEST guitarist is joined in KK'S PRIEST by ex-JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
"I don't see it that way," Downing told Bryan Reesman of Billboard about the comparisons between his new band and the legendary British heavy metal outfit. "We're not a new old band or an old new band.
"This is not just a version [of JUDAS PRIEST]. That's where the fans are looking at this wrong. I understand that, though. This is not me saying, 'Oh, this is my JUDAS PRIEST.' [But] I don't want to dispense with the name PRIEST, because it belongs to me as much as it does anybody else… and more."
Downing also said that he can't quite relate to some fans' insistence on comparing KK'S PRIEST's debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", to past PRIEST efforts, notably its Grammy-nominated 1990 LP "Painkiller".
"I don't quite see that myself, but then again, would I if I'm so close to it?" Downing said. "It's all subjective. It's absolutely down to the fan, and everybody's individual as to what they perceive and what they hear."
K.K. went on to say that he "enjoyed" making his first album since his departure from PRIEST a decade ago. "To me, it sounds fresh. It sounds K.K. fresh, if you know what I mean, and I feel energy from it. I think that's a good thing."
Read the entire interview at Billboard.
"Sermons Of The Sinner" will be released on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The LP's first single, "Hellfire Thunderbolt", came out last month. The title track followed earlier this week.
KK'S PRIEST will play select shows 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.
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.
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.
Downing's autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September 2018 via Da Capo Press.