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Judas Priest's Glenn Tipton hits out at KK Downing over "crazy" accusations

Judas Priest
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton has spoken to Guitar World about the fractious relationship between the band and their former guitarist KK Downing, revealing that he's chosen to break his silence on the simmering feud as his former friend has been levelling "sillier and sillier" accusations at both Priest, and Tipton personally.

Downing officially left Judas Priest on April 20, 2011, telling fans he was stepping away from the British metal legends due to “an on-going breakdown in working relationships between myself, elements of the band and management for some time.” Since Downing returned to the spotlight with his current band, KK’s Priest, rarely a week has gone by without him offering his thoughts on the band he quit after 41 years.

“I never wanted to get into a public argument after KK left,” Tipton tells Guitar World in a new interview. “I never said a word and I stuck to my guns for over 10 years, but there comes a point when you read things that have been said that are just crazy. It's time to say something, really because he's saying things that he really shouldn't be saying. They aren't fair.”

“He's insinuated that he was the driving force of the band,” he continues. “It just isn't true. Priest [is] made up of five guys working together. [There's] not just one person driving the band. He's said all these things that, I think, are meant to upset us and get us to say something in response and for a long time we didn't. But I've got a lot to say and enough's enough.”

One matter which Tipton was keen to address was an accusation Downing levelled against him in a December 2021 interview with Guitar World, where he claimed that Tipton's drinking before shows and in between songs was “slowing [Priest] down”.

In Tipton's new Guitar World interview, he brands these claims as “silly”.

“Everyone knows it's not true,” he says. “Like I said, the fans aren't stupid and they've seen me for 50 years playing around the world. I may have had a couple of beers onstage, but that's all. It's never affected the concert or my performance whatsoever and he knows that.”

“I would never have talked about Ken that way,” he continues. “It’s just that his accusations have gotten sillier and sillier – and I deserve to respond. He left the band. We couldn’t convince him to stay. And then he accused me of taking six years off to write two solo albums. I only did the solo albums because we were inactive at the time while Rob was doing his solo things.”

Read the full interview with Glenn Tipton in the new issue of Guitar World (opens in new tab).

Downing's replacement, Richie Faulkner, recently called on his bandmates and their former friend to end their "shit show" feud.

“That whole situation with him and the band over the last 10 years, to me, has been totally unnecessary,” says Faulkner, who replaced Downing in 2011. “It's been a bit of a shit show. And I don't know why that is. To me, music aside, they should maybe pick up the phone and just talk to each other as buddies and go and have a beer and just be pals. You know, fuck music for a minute; let's just be pals. And then whatever happens, happens. They were pals for 40 years. They lived pretty much together for 40 years — four decades!”

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.