Wow. Even though this new column idea of mine has been offering up some of my shock about certain events in the Metal Republic, this is one event that I didn’t expect at all. Despite that feeling, the news is true – K.K. Downing has retired from the ranks of Judas Priest. At the time of this announcement two days ago, Downing had been a member of the band for over forty years. As one of its founders he knew bassist Ian Hill and original drummer John Ellis since they were boys. The band Judas Priest was formed in 1970 to best of my knowledge and Downing has been in the role of guitarist in the lineup since that day.
While the news shocked me, I guess I do kind of understand it because they had been going almost non stop since their inception. Yes there were some shifts in the vocal duties and these caused some slowdowns in their touring agenda but the band was always on the active side and never broke up in the official sense of the word. The original news was that Priest was going to be doing one final major go round of the world and call it their “Epitaph” tour. After this had hit all the proper spots on the globe the band was going to call it a day. It was acceptable news to some as the band had really offered up a lot of good for the Metal realm and no one could argue with their wanting to rest and relax instead of always running around in buses and planes at their age. Shortly after that it came to pass in the news that the band would do some more recordings and smaller tours but that K.K. Downing would not be taking part in them and in his place would be guitarist Richie Faulkner. On April 20th, 2011 he officially announced his retirement from the band.
The amusing thing is that while this has happened I somehow get the feeling that we have not seen the last of K.K. Downing on the stages with Judas Priest. Remember when Ozzy retired? That was more than a decade ago and he has been going strong since his “return”. This is all that some of these guys know, so maybe this is more like a leave of absence. Only time will tell. Since this news followed similar information about Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, I was actually wondering who was going to surprise us next.
Stay tuned I guess.
Official Website: http://www.judaspriest.com