In a new interview with The Metal Voice, former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens spoke about the fan response to the first few shows from KK’S PRIEST, his current band with another ex-PRIEST member, guitarist K.K. Downing. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s been unbelievable. I think if anybody’s read the reviews or saw anything on it, it’s been incredible. I think it’s always funny when I read someone was shocked that it was as good as it was. But I think what they’re shocked at is that we have a pretty big production, pyro, the screens. I mean, it’s a great show. It’s a costly show and it’s a great show. But we’ve been on fire. We’ve gotten better with every show, as you would. Coming out of the gate like that, you’re a new lineup and doing it. But it’s been really, really great. I’m singing as good as I’ve sang my whole life at this moment. Now, next week I might not be. I’m almost 56, so I might just go to the toilet, but I’ve been on fire, man. I’ve just had total control. And it’s a lot of fun; we’re having a lot of fun up there.”
Regarding how it has been singing material from his era of PRIEST alongside some of the band’s classic songs, Owens said: “It’s funny — the classic PRIEST songs have always been easier songs for me to sing than my own. So it’s kind of funny. I mean, even KK’S PRIEST songs are much more — they’re the more difficult songs in the setlist to sing than the classic PRIEST songs. But what’s great about doing the PRIEST songs is I sing them like me; that’s the great thing about doing it. But they’re just a little bit easier to sing. I had five years [where] I’ve said in interviews that I wasn’t singing as great, and then the past year I’ve just gotten it back full-on all of a sudden. And it’s been pretty good.”
Tim was also dismissive of any suggestions that KK’S PRIEST is nothing more than a glorified “tribute band.” He said: “K.K.‘s the founding member of JUDAS PRIEST. I was in JUDAS PRIEST. Half the set now is our own songs, and three-quarters of the set’s gonna be our own songs now. I mean, it makes no sense. But [people] have their opinions, and it’s great. You get to have it. It’s when they’re stupid opinions that’s funny.”
KK’S PRIEST made its live debut on July 6 at Downing‘s KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.
Owens and Downing are joined in KK’S PRIEST by guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE),bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
KK’S PRIEST has been performing tracks from the band’s debut album, 2021’s “Sermons Of The Sinner”, plus new material from KK’S PRIEST as-yet-unreleased second LP, “The Sinner Rides Again”, as well as many a PRIEST classic thrown in for good measure.
“The Sinner Rides Again” will be released on September 29 via the Austrian rock and metal empire Napalm Records. The nine-song effort was produced and written by Downing and mixed/mastered by Jacob Hansen.
KK’S PRIEST will embark October U.K. headlining tour. The “Priests, Killers & Witches” tour starts at the O2 Institute in Birmingham on Saturday, October 7, and visits London, Glasgow, Manchester and Nottingham. Special guest on all dates will be Paul Di’Anno who will be performing a full set of classics straight from the first two IRON MAIDEN records, and opening up the bill is BURNING WITCHES.
“Sermons Of The Sinner” was released in October 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.
Downing spent four months writing and recording “Sermons Of The Sinner” and, along with new ideas, he even resurrected a few archived riffs from the 1980s.
K.K. formed KK’S PRIEST after JUDAS PRIEST turned down his offer to rejoin the band for their 50th-anniversary tour. It followed a couple of celebrated stage appearances, first with former MANOWAR guitarist Ross The Boss in the summer of 2019, then with a one-off lineup that included former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson and former PRIEST drummer Les Binks later that year.
Downing was reunited with JUDAS PRIEST for a performance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony last November at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at the event, which honored Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
In 2019, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band’s 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.
In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as “a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music,” while the second was “angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties.”
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was “a key reason” he wasn’t invited to rejoin PRIEST after Glenn Tipton‘s decision to retire from touring.
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997’s “Jugulator” and 2001’s “Demolition” — before PRIEST reunited with Rob Halford in 2003.
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