KK'S PRIEST, the new band featuring former JUDAS PRIEST members K.K. Downing (guitar), Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals) and Les Binks (drums), will release its debut album in 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group. The group will also play select shows next year to mark the 50th anniversary of PRIEST and Downing's career as a founding member. KK'S PRIEST's setlist will consist of PRIEST classics and new songs.
On December 24, Downing posted the following message on his social media: "Dearest Metal Fans, Season's greetings to you all! I wish you sincere heart felt sentiments from myself and KK'S PRIEST members.
"We were so disappointed when our summer gigs were cancelled, but we certainly intend to make up for it in the new year with an abundance of concerts and the release of our new album.
"Although we are still in the middle of the battle, predictions seem to be that we will be maneuvering back towards normality quite soon, thanks to the multiple vaccines now available to us.
"This year I would like to extend my sincere thanks everyone at Explorer1 Music and all at KK'S PRIEST.
"As always, I would also like to thank the workers at the Steel Mill for their continued great work and commitment.
"I am sure that you all, like me, are more than ready to say goodbye to 2020. With that said, let's look forward to 2021 as I am sure it will reward our patience and perseverance with some of the greatest music and concerts that we could possibly hope for.
"Until then, I hope you are all having fantastic holidays and I will see you all again very soon!"
KK'S PRIEST is rounded out by guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE) and bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX).
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.
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.
Last year, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band's upcoming 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.
Downing, Binks and Owens performed a full-length set of PRIEST classics with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson in November 2019 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. Joining them on second guitar was Mills of HOSTILE, the British metal band whose two albums, "Eve Of Destruction" and "The New World Disorder", were both produced by Downing.
Binks played drums on PRIEST's "Stained Class", "Hell Bent For Leather" (released as "Killing Machine" in the United Kingdom) and "Unleashed In The East" albums.