In a brand new interview with Brazil's Diário De São Paulo, founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing, who is promoting the debut album from his KK'S PRIEST project, was asked if there is any chance of him ever returning to PRIEST. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "No. I asked [them] many, many times in writing. Even before doing this project, I said, 'Are you absolutely sure?' And they said, 'You're out. The door is closed.' So then I decided to put KK'S PRIEST together, and that's the only choice I've got. And now I'm fine with that. I don't see that there's any other option ever.
"I think it's absolutely unbelievable that Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] left the band for 12, 14 years, Glenn [Tipton, PRIEST guitarist] did solo albums with other musicians, but I was the loyal [member of] PRIEST. And I introduced them into the band in the beginning. For them not to allow me to continue… Because they told the world that I had retired, so why not allow me to come back out of retirement, if that's the only problem, the only issue, when there was an opportunity. But there's a lot of misinformation. So, without going into too much detail, I just need to move on."
Downing went on to praise the rest of KK'S PRIEST, in which he is joined by former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals), along with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
"The band is great. I'm really happy with the band," he said. "They're in love with the music, in love with everything. They're totally dedicated. And we'll kick some serious ass when we play live. You know me — I only do it one way.
"One of the reasons I was unhappy [with PRIEST] in 2010 was the band seemed to slow down and lost the energy and the will to wanna go out there and give 101 percent," K.K. said.
"I'm very grateful to all the fans that travel so far and spend money and take the time out to make arrangements. So when you're on the stage, you have to give 101 percent; you have to do that and enjoy doing that."
KK'S PRIEST's debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", was released on October 1 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.
Downing spent four months writing and recording "Sermons Of The Sinner" and, along with new ideas, he even resurrected a few archived riffs from the '80s.
K.K. formed KK'S PRIEST after JUDAS PRIEST turned down his offer to rejoin the band for their 50th-anniversary tour. It followed a couple of celebrated stage appearances, first with former MANOWAR guitarist Ross The Boss in the summer of 2019, then with a one-off lineup that included former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson and former PRIEST drummer Les Binks later that year.
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 2019, Downing 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.
In his 2018 autobiography "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", Downing wrote that he told Tipton and PRIEST manager Jayne Andrews that he had "hated" them both "since 1985." Earlier this year, he explained his outburst to Classic Rock magazine: "I was angry. Glenn had formed a relationship with Jayne from day one, and it felt a bit like a John-and-Yoko situation. I didn't like that."