In a brand new interview with Planet Rock's "My Planet Rocks", founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing once again elaborated on his decision to call his new band KK'S PRIEST, an obvious nod to his former group. His is joined in KK'S PRIEST by former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
Asked if it's fair to say that KK'S PRIEST is essentially his version of JUDAS PRIEST, Downing said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, the last thing I wanted to be is an offshoot or an offspring, but the thing is that I'm here [and] I've offered up my services [to come back to JUDAS PRIEST], which have been turned down. All I can say is the fact that I didn't wanna just dispense with a PRIEST. I've been a PRIEST since 1968. I've spent my life evolving. JUDAS PRIEST became the archetypal heavy metal band with the leather and the studs, and I was the first one to don the leather and studs, with the image of the band. So I feel justified that I can, with this great band, [approach KK'S PRIEST] as a continuation of this wonderful music and a celebration of rock and metal that I've always been instrumental in and been a part of so proudly. And the fans are there. We've grown older together. Why stop or change? Let's just carry on."
He later added: "I could have called the band something totally obscure and not related, but when you hear the music and everything, you're automatically gonna think of K.K. Downing. And the music will speak for itself and the fans know what they like and I'm here to do what I like and give the fans what I sincerely hope that they like."
KK'S PRIEST's debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", will be released on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The LP's first single, "Hellfire Thunderbolt", was released in May. The title track followed last month.
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.