Estranged Judas Priest guitarist K. K. Downing recently confirmed that he will join his former band onstage at their upcoming induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, to take place on November 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
The guitarist told Ultimate Classic Rock that while he hasn’t spoken to anyone in the Priest camp in person, he and former drummer Les Binks (who played with the band from 1977 through 1979), will be performing.
"It'll go by in a flash, won't it?" Downing said. "I think we've probably got eight or nine minutes. I’m not even going to be able to break a sweat. The main thing is to represent the attitude and hopefully the legend of what Judas Priest is and has become and what it means to everybody who's been on that very long journey through the decades with the band. And hopefully, it will just kind of remind people and bring back some cherished memories of the heavy metal parking lots all around the world."
Now, long time Priest bassist Ian Hill has commented on Downing’s participation at the Rock Hall ceremony. In a new interview with the Detroit Metro Times, Hill was asked if he believes there’s any chance of reconciling with Downing and having him rejoin the band. To which he responded:
"I think time is not on our side for that, you know? Never say never, put it like that. [Downing’s] gonna be there at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anyway. He’s gonna get up and play some songs with us there. It might kickstart something, I don’t know."
Hill then laughed, and added, “On the other hand, he might pull us all apart.”
A founding member of the band, Downing played on every Priest studio album from their 1974 debut, Rocka Rolla, through 2008’s Nostradamus. He parted ways with the group in 2011, with his position taken up by current guitarist Richie Faulkner. Ever since, Downing and his former band mates have traded barbs in the press about what led to his departure, as well as whether he would ever be welcomed back.
"Obviously a lot of things have happened and stuff," he told UCR. "But we're kind of all old people, you know? A lot of water's gone under the bridge, a lot of miles have been traveled, a lot of notes have been played. The thing is we can all kind of be there, have a few beers together, a glass of wine and perform and enjoy ourselves. At the end of the day, it really is an accolade, and I think, if everybody were to be honest with themselves, they would all like to have that accolade."
He continued that “it'll be quite something to look forward to, just to get up there and crank the amps up and just do it once again, for that short moment in time."