Former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens has once again defended Kenneth “K.K.” Downing over the comments the ex-PRIEST guitarist made about his former bandmates in his 2018 autobiography, explaining that Downing is just telling the truth.
K.K. departed the iconic band 11 years ago but looked back on his time with the British metal titans in “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest”, which came out in September 2018. The book, which was written with collaborator Mark Eglinton, covers all of the behind-the-scenes turbulence that led to Downing‘s exit from PRIEST, including his strained relationship with guitarist Glenn Tipton and his gripes with certain managerial decisions.
During a new appearance on “The Jasta Show”, the podcast hosted by HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta, Owens said that Downing had every right to tell his story, including insider details on band collaborations and machinations. “Listen, he just told truths in the book,” Owens said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “He told truths, and you get crap for it. Unfortunately, that’s what happens. Should he have said all the things? He was hurt. Things happened. It didn’t go right. He talked about it in his book. If he didn’t tell those things and he made a book that was just about other stuff, people would have said, ‘Why didn’t he talk about the other stuff?’ And then you do the interviews, and people said, ‘K.K. needs to stop bringing these points up.’ And I’m, like, ‘Well, no. He’s being asked about these points. And then he’s answering the questions.’ And then it’s on the front of Blabbermouth that whatever…”
According to Owens, tensions between Downing and Tipton had been brewing for quite some time before K.K.‘s exit from the group.
“I saw it during [the] ‘Demolition’ [album cycle],” he said. “We weren’t even together hardly at [the time we made] ‘Demolition’; it was never Glenn and Ken together ever. I would go to Ken‘s house on the weekends and we would hang out and have a pint, play some snooker. And it was brewing then. And, obviously, money helps out, so you get [former singer] Rob [Halford] back and you get your millions back and you’re not playing [smaller venues] anymore.”
Tim, who recently launched a new band with K.K. called KK’S PRIEST, went on to say that Downing doesn’t ever bring up any grievances with his former bandmates during their interactions. “He still doesn’t say bad things about those guys when we’re together; he never talks bad about ’em — ever,” he said. “You know why? Because I don’t ask any questions about it. I’m not the guy interviewing him going, ‘So, what did….?’ I don’t really wanna know — I don’t wanna know about it. I read the book. I know what’s going on. All that stuff that he talked about, I knew half of it, that went on. But people ask him, so it sounds like he’s whining. He doesn’t walk into an interview going, ‘All right. Let me tell you about the dirty laundry. Let’s talk about this.'”
K.K., who is a founding member of the British heavy metal legends and was part of the group since 1969, announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011.
In 2018, Downing told Rolling Stone that he tried talking things out with Tipton to let his bandmate know what was bothering him about their working relationship before Downing exited PRIEST. “I did when it came to his drinking before and during the gig,” K.K. said. “That didn’t get me anywhere. It just made me nervous, because I’m a beer drinker and I know I couldn’t do that. It seemed to be slowing the show down as well.”
Downing confirmed that PRIEST‘s roadies tried to limit Glenn‘s alcohol intake by watering down his beer during live performances. “I just hated going on every night and wondering, ‘Are we together here?'” K.K. said. “It made me so fucking nervous. It wasn’t funny. Ripper [who was singing for PRIEST at the time] used to come over and tug at my stage clothes and say, ‘Do something.’ I’d go, ‘I’m playing the guitar, mate. I can’t do anything.’ Not that anybody probably noticed. I stopped enjoying playing. It got to me.”
Downing also said that he thought Tipton was controlling band decisions, such as when PRIEST toured. Asked if he ever discussed that with Glenn, Downing said: “The thing was, so much of it went on [behind the scenes], and we knew, but there was never any kind of proof. You can’t make an issue out of something you can’t back up. For the most part, it was done in a certain way. You knew it was done, but you couldn’t make an issue out of it. Sadly.”
Downing claimed that the other members of JUDAS PRIEST felt pretty much the same way as he did about Glenn‘s control issues, which is why K.K. thought it was odd that he wasn’t approached to rejoin the band following Tipton‘s decision to retire from the road due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease. “Yeah, because they all knew my problem was with Glenn with the beer drinking and the decision-making with him and [management],” Downing said. “I was just tired of it. I felt like I was working a nine-to-five job and the other guys felt the same. There’s no doubt in my mind their preference would have been to have me in the band, because why wouldn’t you?”
PRIEST recruited Owens in 1996 and released two studio albums, 1997’s “Jugulator” and 2001’s “Demolition”, before reuniting with Halford in 2003.