K.K. Downing Was ‘Kept Segregated’ From Judas Priest at Rock Hall
The guitarist discussed the experience during a recent interview with Sirius XM host Eddie Trunk.
Downing admitted he “deliberated” on whether or not to attend the event, noting it was “a long, long way to go” from his U.K. home.
Although the guitarist was “delighted” when management gave him the news of Judas Priest’s induction, Downing revealed that the tone soon shifted.
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“Shortly after that, we had another email saying, ‘Just to let you know, you and Les [Binks] are guests of the band,’” Downing recalled. “So straight off the bat, I’m thinking, ‘Oh, here we go.’”
According to Downing, he and the band's former drummer Binks were deliberately separated from the rest of Judas Priest for most of the event.
“We were kept segregated – flights, dressing rooms, hotels, the red carpet,” the guitarist explained. “So, it was just total segregation.”
Downing Still Enjoyed His Hall of Fame Experience
Downing was quick to note that one member of Judas Priest’s current lineup went out of his way to say hello: fellow guitarist Richie Faulkner.
“Richie was great. He came into the dressing room a couple of times,” Downing remembered. “We had a good few laughs. Lots of people were coming to our dressing room, it was good. Dave Grohl popped his head in because he’s such a lovely guy. So down to earth, and that was funny. We had a few laughs. And it was great. Didn’t see any of the other [Judas Priest] guys, but there it is.”
Downing joined Priest onstage for three songs during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony: "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," "Breaking the Law" and "Living After Midnight."
“Once I got on that stage and I did it, I was glad that I did it,” he admitted. “Because I think that, justifiably, I earned that. And there was some energy, there was a lot of energy from me and Richie.”
Still, Downing revealed that it wasn’t exactly like old times during the set: “I have to be honest, it just didn’t feel like it used to. It was far from it.”
Why Isn't K.K. Downing in Judas Priest?
Downing was one of Judas Priest’s longest-tenured members, joining the fledgling band in 1970. He became a major element of the group’s distinctive sound, helping Judas Priest rise to become one of the most legendary metal acts in history.
The guitarist played on the band’s first 16 albums, including the successful British Steel and Screaming for Vengeance LPs. In 2011, after more than 40 years in the band, Downing acrimoniously departed Judas Priest. He later explained that things turned sour after singer Rob Halford and guitarist Glenn Tipton enjoyed solo success.
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“Rob and Glenn went off and did their lengthy solo careers, and that became a bit disruptive,” Downing admitted in 2018. “I guess there was no particular right or wrong – some people have more tolerance than others, and it takes a bloody miracle really to stay together for 40 years. Someone has to give. And it has to be give and take. But inevitably, it becomes a bit of an imbalance, and I like to think that democracy is always the best policy. And there wasn’t enough of it there, I don’t think.”
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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff