It’s on! In a new chat with Ultimate Classic Rock, guitarist K.K. Downing confirms that he will perform with Judas Priest at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Plus, he also names a second former member that will be onstage with the band as well.
“It’s what I’ve done so many times,” the guitarist stated. “It’s almost like cracking a beer, let alone riding a bike. It’s embedded in me. It’s what I do. So 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.”
As Judas Priest’s Rock Hall induction on Nov. 5 nears, discussion of what will actually happen has been more prevalent in recent interviews. Earlier this month, drummer Scott Travis confirmed to 107.7 RKR in Kalamazoo, Michigan that the band will play at the Rock Hall ceremony, as they are recipients of the Musical Excellence Award. The drummer also alluded that with only a set amount of time to perform, the band is taking some of their classics and working them into a medley.
Soon after singer Rob Halford confirmed to Ultimate Classic Rock that “there’s been a lot of emails going on. I’m as much in the dark as anybody else. I hear some things one day, then it’s completely the opposite the other day. I’m just like, ‘Let’s get it on! Let’s all go there, let’s all be there at blah, blah o’clock and we’ll see what happens. And that’s great, ’cause it’s rock ‘n’ roll. It’s chaos! It’s going to be a great day.”
Now in UCR’s new interview, Downing confirmed that there has been email exchanges, but that he hasn’t spoken to anyone in person. He also confirmed that both he and Les Binks, the band’s drummer from 1977-1979, will be taking part in the performance.
“It’ll go by in a flash, won’t it?” says the guitarist, adding, “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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Downing talked about the divide between himself and the band and what he hopes the night will provide for all involved. The guitarist split from the group in 2011, citing an “ongoing breakdown in working relationships.” After his exit, the band continued on with Richie Faulkner coming into the band on guitar. With fellow guitarist Glenn Tipton revealing his Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis in 2018, the guitarist had been vocal about not being approached to return to the band, with the group utilizing the talents of producer Andy Sneap instead. In recent years, Downing has started up K.K.’s Priest and the band is currently working on their second album.
“Obviously a lot of things have happened and stuff,” he tells 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.”
As for Priest being inducted via the Musical Excellence honor as opposed to being inducted via the Rock Hall’s voting body, the guitarist concludes, “Judas Priest have always been proud to fly the flag for metal and open as many doors and pave the way for as many new artists as possible. Hopefully we’ve been great ambassadors of doing that.”
He continues, “In respect of [the Rock Hall], if Judas Priest wasn’t or couldn’t get in there, well possibly nobody would be able to. I would like to see the mighty [Iron] Maiden and Saxon and everybody else get in there. Hopefully, the doors will open to those guys as well. It’s taken us a long time, so the only message I would say to everybody that’s in the wings is, Be patient because it seems that you have to be considerably old and considerably, dare I say, a legend before you even get a sniff of this accolade.”
What the band will perform during their allotted time at the ceremony remains to be seen, but the big day is coming up soon. The 2022 Rock Hall ceremony will take place Nov. 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.