“We were like brothers… I always thought it was me and him”: KK Downing says bassist Ian Hill decided against him rejoining Judas Priest

“How can Ian, the bass player that’s never written any songs, deny me the opportunity of being in the band?”

[L-R] KK Downing and Ian Hill

Credit: Getty Images

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KK Downing has opened up about being rejected from re-joining Judas Priest. According to the rock guitarist, it was bassist and former close friend Ian Hill who turned down his request.

Downing now plays in KK’s Priest. The band released their most recent album, Sermons Of The Sinner in 2021, with their second record The Sinner Rides Again, set to land on 29 September this year.

In an appearance on the Rock Of Nations podcast, Downing was asked about the possibility of him ever joining the original Judas Priest again (via Blabbermouth): “Well, I asked them if they want me to step back into the role a couple of times in writing, and the answer came back, ‘No.’ So it is what it is,” he begins. “And then I went, ‘Okay, fine. Then I will start [a new] band,’ and that’s what I’ve done [with KK’s Priest].

“And now I’m pretty happy, really, because I’ve rediscovered… I mean, I used to write all the material for the band back in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s and I forgot what it was like to be… It’s kind of nice to put material down and just say what goes and what doesn’t yourself, without having to collaborate and everything takes so long. It’s great just to get on with it.”

Downing went on to explain how founding member Ian Hill is apparently the member who decided against having him rejoin the group. “Honestly, the worst thing about the whole thing is that Ian has denied me the opportunity to step back into the band,” he says. “I mean, we went to kindergarten together; we were like brothers. And we spent many years at the back of the bus complaining about everybody else. [Laughs] I always thought it was me and him for many years.”

“Something’s wrong somewhere. It doesn’t make sense. How can Ian, the bass player that’s never written any songs, deny me the opportunity of being in the band? All of those years, and I’ve written all of those songs and riffs, but how can he stand over there and play bass and not allow me to play the guitar to those songs?”

He later adds, “Am I that bad? [Laughs] But anyway, so I’ve gone ahead and made two albums [with KK’s Priest] in two years, and those guys have done two albums in 14 years. I just don’t get it. I don’t get it.”

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