KK Downing “shocked” that Judas Priest didn’t ask him to replace Glenn Tipton

KK Downing and Glenn Tipton onstage in 2008
KK Downing and Glenn Tipton onstage in 2008 (Image credit: Getty)

Former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing says he’s “shocked and stunned” that he wasn’t asked to rejoin the band after Glenn Tipton was forced to take a step back from live duties due to his battle with Parkinson’s.

It was revealed earlier this month that the 70-year-old was suffering from the disease and would miss the majority of the band’s upcoming tour dates in support of new album Firepower.

Rob Halford and co announced that producer/guitarist Andy Sneap would fill in for Tipton, who might still appear onstage with his bandmates from time to time on the road.

But Downing, who left Priest in 2011 due to a breakdown in their working relationship, says the fact he wasn’t asked back proves he was “unappreciated by more than one member” during his time with the metal icons.

Downing says in a statement: “The news that Glenn has finally been forced to come to terms with his unfortunate condition long term came with deep regret and sadness for me. Equally, this ending of our guitar duo era is also something that I have to come to terms with.

“The insatiable appetite that myself and Glenn had for creating inspired and unique music for the world to enjoy for many decades, is something that can never be erased.

“However, everyone who has witnessed the evolution of our beloved music must come to terms with the fact that things will inevitably change, or just simply end.”

The guitarist adds: “I have to state with great sadness also that I am shocked and stunned that I wasn’t approached to step into my original role as guitarist for Judas Priest.

“Whether I could have stepped back into the band or not, the potential for this situation arising never entered my head when I departed – although I too am officially and legally still a member of Judas Priest.

“However, I know now more clearly than ever that I did the right thing by leaving the band when I did – as it seems that my time spent in the band, and my value in terms of crafting its huge legacy, was and is unappreciated by more than one member.

“I sincerely hope, for the fans’ sake, that the decision not to approach me was not a financial one.”

Downing calls Sneap, who co-produced Firepower with Tom Allom, “one of the greatest contributors to rock and metal that you will ever have the privilege to meet” and adds: “To that end I have no doubt that his contribution to the new Judas Priest album was much more than just as a producer.

“All that’s left is for you the fans to go out and enjoy the band as it is, in order to complete a part of music history in which every one of you has played such an important role.”

Judas Priest will head out on tour across North America from mid-March in support of Firepower, which will launch on March 9 via Columbia Records.

Judas Priest 2018 Firepower tour dates

Mar 13: Wilkes Barre Mohegan Sun Arena At Casey Plaza, PA
Mar 15: Youngstown Covelli Centre, OH
Mar 17: Uniondale Nassau Coliseum, NY
Mar 18: Washington The Anthem, DC
Mar 20: Newark Prudential Center, NJ
Mar 22: Uncasville Mogehan Sun Arena, CT
Mar 25: Ottawa The Arena At TD Place, ON
Mar 27: London Budweiser Gardens, ON
Mar 28: Oshawa Tribute Communities Centre, ON
Mar 30: Rama Casino Rama, ON
Mar 31: Detroit Masonic Temple, MI
Apr 03: Milwaukee Riverside Theater, WI
Apr 05: Green Bay Resch Center, WI
Apr 08: Bloomington Grossinger Motors Arena, IL
Apr 10: Casper Events Center, WY
Apr 11: Loveland Budweiser Events Center, CO
Apr 15: Kent ShoWare Center, WA
Apr 17: Portland Veterans Memorial Coliseum, OR
Apr 19: San Francisco The Warfield, CA
Apr 22: Los Angeles Microsoft Theatre, CA
Apr 24: Phoenix Comercia Theatre, AZ
Apr 26: Tulsa BOK Center, OK
Apr 28: Dallas Bomb Factory, TX
Apr 29: Sugarland Smart Financial Centre, TX
May 01: San Antonio Freeman Coliseum, TX
Jul 19: Athens Rockwave Festival, Greece
Jul 21: Plovdiv Hills Of Rock Festival, Poland
Jul 31: Munich Zenith, Germany
Aug 08: Dortmund Westfallenhalle, Germany
Aug 10: Bloodstock Festival, UK

Downing: Hard to imagine a world without Priest

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.