It’s on! In a new chat with Ultimate Classic Rock, guitarist KK Downing confirms he will be performing with Judas Priest at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Additionally, he also names a second former member who will also be performing with the band.
“That’s what I’ve done so many times,” the guitarist said. “It’s almost like breaking a beer, let alone riding a bike. It’s ingrained in me. It’s what I do. So it’s going to be something to look forward to, just to get up there and ride the amps and just do it again, for this short time.”
As Judas Priest’s induction into Rock Hall on November 5 approaches, discussions of what’s really going to happen have been more frequent in recent interviews. Earlier this month, drummer Scott Travis confirmed to 107.7 RKR in Kalamazoo, Michigan that the band will perform at the Rock Hall ceremony as recipients of the Music Achievement Award. The drummer also hinted that with only a certain amount of time to play, the band is taking some of his classics and turning them into a medley.
Shortly after, singer Rob Halford confirmed to Ultimate Classic Rock that “there’s been a lot of emails. I’m as much in the dark as anybody else. I hear things a day, then it’s completely the opposite the other day. I’m just like, ‘Let’s go! Let’s all go, let’s all be there at blah, blah hours and we’ll see what happens. And that’s great, because it’s rock ‘n’ roll. It’s chaos! It’s going to be a great day.”
Now, in the new UCR interview, Downing has confirmed there have been email exchanges, but he hasn’t spoken to anyone in person. He also confirmed that he and Les Binks, the band’s drummer from 1977 to 1979, will take part in the performance.
“It’ll pass in a flash, won’t it?” said 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 everyone who has taken this very long journey through the decades with the band. And I hope it will remind people and bring back treasured memories of heavy metal parking lots all over the world. “
Elsewhere in the interview, Downing spoke about the rift between himself and the band and what he hopes the night brings to everyone involved. The guitarist parted ways with the band in 2011, citing a “continuing breakdown in working relationships”. After its release, the band continued with Richie Faulkner entering the band on guitar. With fellow guitarist Glenn Tipton revealing his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 2018, the guitarist said he had not been approached about returning to the band, with the band instead using the talents of producer Andy Sneap. In recent years Downing have launched KK’s Priest and the band are currently working on their second album.
“Obviously a lot of things happened and stuff,” he told UCR. “But we’re kind of all old people, you know? A lot of water has flowed under the bridge, a lot of miles have been covered, a lot of notes have been played. The thing is, we can all be there, take a few beers together, a glass of wine and playing and having fun. At the end of the day, it really is an accolade, and I think if everyone were honest with themselves, they would all like to have that accolade.”
Regarding Priest’s induction via the Music Excellence Honor instead of being inducted via Rock Hall’s voting body, the guitarist concludes, “Judas Priest was always proud to fly the metal flag. and to open as many doors and pave the way for as many new artists as possible, and I hope we’ve been great ambassadors for that.
He continues: “Regarding [the Rock Hall], if Judas Priest wasn’t or couldn’t get in, well maybe no one could. I would like to see the mighty [Iron] Maiden and Saxon and all the others get in there. Hopefully the doors will open to these guys as well. It took us a long time, so the only message I would like to say to everyone behind the scenes is, be patient because it looks like you must be considerably old and considerably, dare I say, a legend before even to sniff that distinction.”
What the band will play during the allotted time at the ceremony remains to be seen, but the big day is approaching soon. The Rock Hall 2022 ceremony will take place on November 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.