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Shocker: K.K. Downing Quits Judas Priest

On the eve of their farewell tour, guitarist K.K. Downing quit Judas Priest. Color me stunned. Quite frankly I don't think anyone saw this coming. Downing has been playing with the band for more than 40 years.

In a statement on the official Judas Priest website the band announced Downing's retirement. Guitarist Richie Faulkner will perform on the upcoming tour.

Also part of the statement:


"Having thought long and hard about how to proceed, Rob, Glenn, Ian and Scott unanimously agreed that they should go ahead with the tour and not let the fans down all around the world."


Judas Priest plans to play songs from every one of their studio albums on the Epitaph tour. The tour begins in June.

What do you think about this? In my opinion, I am now considering Judas Priest officially "dead."


Reader Comments (20)

I have heard that this was health related and if so I understand his leaving.However,I would not be surprised to see him turn up at the last couple of performances.

No Priest is not dead and won't be until Tipton and Halford come out and say "yeah we're done". They have a new album due out following the tour and I can see KK performing on that album since it is way different than performing on a world tour at his age. Then things may be done but who knows? Until then I hope this new album comes out, He's on it, and it totally rocks. PRIEST!!!
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Not dead yet. But a nail in the coffin for sure.
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
What a tragedy!

I hope and pray he's okay.

Maybe they can get him to come back.

In the meantime, Priest must soldier on!

p.s. OTSK!
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
No, not dead. I can't imagine K.K. "retiring" for any reason other than health. Just hope that it's nothing too serious and that he'll be okay in the long run. Seen them on their last tour in Chicago and I thought all looked good except for Rob who put out 100% but was holding on to the mike stand for all he was worth at the end.
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOld Sarge
From his website:

K.K. Downing press release

Dear friends,

It is with much regret that I will not be with you this summer. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your concerns about my health. Please rest assured that I am O.K.

There has been an ongoing breakdown in working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band's management for some time.

Therefore I have decided to step down rather than to tour with negative sentiments as I feel that this would be a deception to you, our cherished fans.

However I would urge you to please support the Priest as I have no doubt that it will be a show not to be missed.

All my love and respect,

KK Downing
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTony
Hmmm, this is interesting indeed. My next question would now be whom or what elements of the band the problem resides. I'm not sure who manages them but this isn't the first time a member of a band has been at odds with their management. Still I'm kinda worried now that this isn't throughout the whole band. How this plays out in the next 48 hrs could be crucial.

"Fight for you life, Fight for your money!" ??? maybe? idk.
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Totally kicked me in the balls also Ally. I remeber seeing these guys back in 1978 at Agriculturakl hall in Allentown,pa. They "opened" for Angel. For chrissakes, any takers on who blew whom off of the stage, at least on that particular night? KK and Tipton totally tore the place apart,trading leads with precision that completely blew me away.Immediately went home and proceeded to learn every Priest song I could get my grubby little fingers on!

Hopefully this will hash out and KK will be able to join them, at the very least, on selected nights throughout the tour. Guaranteed they will still kick some major ass, but it just won't be the same without KK and Glen trading off blistering solo's....
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Yeah, I was looking forward to catching these shows, but I probably won't bother, not without KK. I'll inevitably get the CD, I even own the Ripper stuff. But, it's not priest without him. I'd say the same if Glenn left, although KK and Ian are the original members.
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
KK will be missed for sure but JP is definitely not dead.
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Wow! I never thought K.K. would quit. Ever. I'm glad to hear it's not his health and he will for sure be missed.
April 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteri'mtheone
The farewell tour just lost a LOT of it's orignal appeal to me.
April 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSnoot
Without K.K. , it's dead.
April 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
This suxx! Yet another big band loses their classic line-up!


p.s. I'm sure whoever takes K.K.'s place will cover his lead parts more than competently, though it'll still never be the same as when the original creator of those guitar parts plays 'em.
April 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Bummer! Definitely takes some of the shine off the tour - I'll have to decide if I want to go when US dates start coming down the pike.
April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNIgel
They are being hush about this since releaseing the news huh? Did anyone else notice this? I will see try to see them because Downing or not they're stil better than half the other bands out there touring the U.S. right now.
April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
The question is... Who will they get to replace him?! I mean, who can play his sh*t?! It can't be easy. For instance, even greats like Zakk Wylde or Jake E. Lee...

Could they really keep up? I mean, maybe, since they played Rhoads' stuff, though I don't think quite as fast.

p.s. OTSK! At least about this stuff. But you're wrong about Danger Avenue, Punk!, hahaha!!!
April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Metalboy! check out the official press release they released on they name the replacement He is a guy called Richie Faulkner. Played in bands i haven't heard of. They say he's good but we'll see.

Jake E Lee could easily file KK's shoes, Zakk, Hell no....FREEWHEEL BURNING!!!! WOOOOOOOWWAWAWAWWAOWOWOWOWOO HAHAHAHA!!!!

I thought about Chris Holmes but idk.
April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Chris Holmes! Hahaha!!! He's a killer but he never struck me as someone who could handle stuff as intricate as K.K.'s.

I've heard of one band Faulkner was in, Dirty Deeds, if that's the same Dirty Deeds I'm thinkin' of, as they are from the U.K.

Yeah, OTSK! Don't forget, if Zakky boy had joined, he woulda had to cure himself of his Pinched Harmonicitis in order to do K.K.'s stuff. Downing didn't go in for any of that gimmicky sh*t!*

Went on Priest's site and it is interesting to see how they are still billing this Tour as their Final Tour. If it really is their final tour, one would hope K.K. will show up for a few select dates here and there.

I remember someone sayin' on here that Priest has since backed off of the "This will be the Last Tour" stance, but you can't tell that from the site.

If they were calling it quits after this last World Tour, "The Epitaph Tour", maybe K.K. would have gone through with it. He may have thought, "This is great. Go out with one last bang". And then ride off into the fake sunset in the backdrop of the "Heading Out To The Highway" video.

So, once K.K. found out "The Epitaph Tour" actually wasn't going to involve an actual Epitaph for Priest, he decided to write one of his own in the form of a Dear John letter.

Or, did he actually quit because he did not want this to be a farewell tour. Somehow, I think it's the former. K.K. assumed this was the last tour and then they changed their minds and he didn't. Still, though, why wouldn't he wait until after the tour to quit. Too much speculation on my part.

What the h*ll is up with K.K.? I guess we won't know until all is said and done.

I wonder if this really is the last tour.

*Not sayin' I don't mind a pinched harmonic here and there but Wylde really can get a little carried away with it.

p.s. Shad -- I'll let you go THIS TIME on Danger Avenue. I still think they're awesome as h*ll. Don't forget to get Cheap Trick, "In Color". Awesome album!
April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
The last bang should be the album thats where he should be and thats where I think he's needed the most. I don't care about a one time tour, an album lasts forever and that is what I'll judge them on long after they're gone.
April 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Right. But either way, why wouldn't he make HIS Last Bang be goin' out on tour one last time? After all, isn't it performing on stage for the legions that really gets him going?

Albums are for mortality. Playing live is for the soul, both the performer's and the audience member's.

Hopefully, as some suggest here, he'll pop up for some dates if this is, indeed, the farewell tour.

You still gotta wonder, though. Why not tour one last time, if it is indeed THE FAREWELL TOUR?

Unless, of course, it turns out, they've backed off that idea, which we've also heard, and just threw up his arms and threw up his little white terry cloth Golf caddy's towel, too, in frustration, if that's actually the case, AFTER they all agreed THIS WOULD BE THE LAST TOUR.
April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

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