Well this is a shocker.
I admit I haven’t been following the news of Judas Priest for a while as I just assumed that everything was ok in their camp and the band would have a few records and tours left in their heads and hearts until it was time to retire.
Evidently, as early as Christmas last year, the band had some inner shake-ups, to the point where guitarist K.K. Downing approached Priest vocalist about retiring from the veteran heavy metal band.
A quick search of Blabbermouth.net revealed a conflicting timeline of the events.
As early as November of last year, KK was announcing that Priest was gearing up for another world tour in 2011.
By December, it was announced further that the 2011 outing would be their final world tour, entitled “Epitaph.” This would have been around the time when Halford and Downing met to go over the details of the tour, the visuals, etc. Downing was also speaking about the anniversaries of Point Of Entry (30 years) and Painkiller (20 years). Why he decided to include Point Of Entry as a point of discussion is beyond me, since that album sucks balls.
On February of this year, Downing was still speaking about the final world tour, proclaiming that the band may continue to release new material after the tour was over
“As for the future,” he explained, “we probably need the help of Nostradamus!” Slyly referencing the shitty double album Nostradamus that Priest released a few years ago and have been hinting that the band would perform the album in its entirety at some point, to the 300 fans who actually believe the album is decent.
But on April 21, KK released a statement on his website stating, “There has been an ongoing breakdown in (sic) working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band’s relationship for some time.”
In other words, it’s a conflict over money.
The band went on to further state that would continue with the “Epitaph Farewell Tour” with a new guitarist while still suggesting that a new album is still in the works.
Sorry, but you don’t have Priest without Halford (which they did, if you remember Ripper Owens) and the same goes if you don’t have the twin guitar attack of Downing/Tipton) and you sure as shit don’t book a “Farewell Tour” and sell tickets to it when you’re in the middle of a dispute with one of the original members.
You pull the plug on those plans and address the issue.
And if the issue can’t be resolved, you end the band.
Drummer Scott Harris-ironically a member who replaced someone else-mentions in a quick interview that “the fans want us to continue.” But I can’t think of anyone who is looking forward to an older Priest (who haven’t released a decent album since Painkiller twenty years ago) going out on the road under the pretense of a “final” tour.
That’s not a “final” tour, that’s a “Contractual Obligation” tour or a “Last Dash For Money” tour. It’s certainly not one that enhances your legacy or leaves fans with a good feeling that Priest is nearing the end of their time together on a high note.
Who knows who's to blame here, and there's certainly no chance of finding the answer since it's pretty obvious that the band-including KK himself-have been entirely honest about this whole thing to begin with.