Wednesday, April 27, 2011

KK Downing Quits Judas Priest

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 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.


Kiko Jones said...

" 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."

This. Plain and simple.

Cousin J said...

To battle over money at this point seems completely insane. Please feel free to correct me if you think I'm way off base here but, it seems to me that there are certain bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Rush, AC/DC that can, with near certainty, determine the exact amount of money that they will make off of ANY tour. These are bands that have a loyal fan base and may gain or lose a few fans with each tour but not enough to tip the scales one way or another. They nearly always play the exact same venues to the exact same fans! They probably can determine how much merch they will sell too.

Again, my point is, the amount of money that they will make on this tour is the same amount that they made on the last 3 or 4 previous tours. They have reached their maximum earning potential. So why quit now over money? And I'm sure it has to be money. Does KK want a bigger cut after 40 years? I'm pretty sure that aside from the drummer, the other 4 dudes all get nearly an even cut (the bass player has been there forever too and is/was married to Rob's sister so no skimping him!) No one in Judas Priest gets a bigger cut than KK!

I wish he was quitting over something really scandalous like Rob deciding to charge the band members for BJ's before and after gigs as opposed to the free ones that they used to get. Allegedly. You know something really worth quitting over.

Todd Totale said...

No idea. It may be as simple as "I just opened up a golf resort (I think this is actually true with KK) and it's gonna take a pretty penny to keep me from the links.
I can appreciate that. I can't wait until I retire and there will be plenty of golf and pot smoking when I do. But I think you owe it to your mates, to your fans, and to your retirement fund to give it one final go while you're still upright.
These guys have been on the road every summer since Rob came back, and I understand the road is fuckin' hard, like Tenacious D once declared. Then take a year off before the retirement tour! Rob's voice won't be that much worse and Ian Hill will always look old and ugly! Build the hype and you might find a few more of those seats in the back filled as a result of the time off!
I think that Travis has got to be a full time member with benefits at this point since he's been the drummer longer than anyone else and he stuck with them during the Ripper years AND may be the reason why Rob came back to the fold.
At the same time, shame on the rest of the band for agreeing to carry on. I know you've got contracts signed and I know there's a ton of money on the table, but it's KK! This band is known for two things: Halford's voice and a twin-guitar attack. You don't dismember one of the twins and put a transplant in there and call it a retirement tour! Pull out some bullshit Point of Entry anniversary tour and then do the retirement tour when KK's ready to come back. And KK's not completely without fault either. He was speaking to the press about this retirement tour right around the same time he was visiting with Halford, talking about cold feet. That sounds like a money grab conversation right there, and he may have been totally off on how much money the band is really able to make.