Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing spoke to the "Neil Jones Rock Show" about his virtually ubiquitous presence in the heavy metal press since the release of his autobiography last year.
"You see a lot of things about me in the press, and it's because the thing is, if people wanna speak to me and they're interested in what's happening, it's because they know the fans, because they're connected to the fans… And I'm happy to speak to people," K.K. said (hear audio below).
"We know we have the infamous Blabbermouth, and I love Blabbermouth, and they provide a good service, but they do tend to cherry-pick a headline out of an interview, and it puts the conversation out of context," he continued. "And it seems to create this kind of situation, controversy and stuff like that. And that's why I said last [month], fans, please listen to the interviews. Please, guys, take the time out, listen to the whole thing and you'll find things of more value than the headline."
Asked if there was a particular "out-of-context" headline on BLABBERMOUTH.NET that really annoyed him, Downing said: "Yeah, well, there is quite a lot of them, really. There's one that 'K.K. says that Ripper [Tim Owens, former JUDAS PRIEST frontman] is a better singer than Rob [Halford, current PRIEST vocalist].' Hold on a minute. The guy that was interviewing me, he was a big Ripper fan and said that he actually thought that Ripper was a better singer than Rob. I said, 'Well, I'm not gonna disagree with you, because Ripper's a great singer.' However, Rob is infamous — everybody knows how great he is, and he is the voice of JUDAS PRIEST. And that's why he was invited back into the band when there was an opportunity for him to do so. But it was a shame, because Ripper is killer, and he's such a great guy as well. But the fans [said], 'K.K.'s posted this. He thinks Ripper's better…' Well, it didn't come across… It wasn't like that.
"I believe honesty is the best policy," Downing added. "The only thing I would say is I am willing to talk to the press, and I'm willing to talk to the people. I wear my heart on my sleeve; I say it as it is. If it comes out wrong, I don't care. It is what it is."
K.K. also once again confirmed that there have been no discussions between him and JUDAS PRIEST about him taking part in the band's 50th-anniversary tour next year. "I don't know any more than anybody else," he said. "So it would be good if the guys [in PRIEST] would be willing to speak to the press and just make a press release and tell 'em exactly what the deal is: 'K.K. is out, and he always will be. And this is not happening, but this is happening.' Give everybody an insight 'cause people wanna know."
Downing, who left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance, was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
Last summer, 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.
K.K.'s autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September 2018 via Da Capo Press.