Former JUDAS PRIEST members K.K. Downing (guitar), Les Binks (drums) and Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals) will team up to perform "a full-length set of PRIEST classics" with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson on November 3 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. Joining them on second guitar will be A.J. Mills of HOSTILE, the British metal band whose two albums, "Eve Of Destruction" and "The New World Disorder", were both produced by Downing.
During an interview with The Metal Voice, Owens talked about how the gig came about.
"I talk to everybody in PRIEST — Rob [Halford] included," Tim said (hear audio below). "I had gotten a call from some mutual friends of all of us — of K.K. and David. And he was, like, 'Listen, I think it's a good idea. David's going there. He's doing this book thing; he's doing a tour.' And trying to see if maybe K.K. would do it, 'cause it's his hometown. And 'are you interested?' And I'm, like, 'Yeah.' … When they asked me, I was, like, 'Absolutely.' I definitely want to do it. And it'll be a fun time. So I [am] looking forward to it."
Asked about the possibility of further shows with Downing, Ellefson and Binks, Owens said: "I don't know. Right now, this is it — this is what we're doing. First of all, it's not gonna be a cheap thing to do if you would do [a tour]. So that's an issue. It would have to be done right. This is just a one-off special show. So, everybody around the world, know that… Right now, that's the only plan. It's hard to do it. I mean, I've got so much going on that it's hard to get it done. To me, the great thing for me is I get to tour solo; I could actually just spend my time non-stop touring solo. But doing all of these kind of things is what makes it way more enjoyable for me.
"Doing a tour like this with Ken and with David and Les, I think it would be great, and I would love to do it," Tim added. "It's just a matter of could it work out with everybody's schedules. I mean, listen, with THE THREE TREMORS and solo touring, I'm booked up pretty solid, and that's not even throwing in a [Ronnie James Dio] hologram tour, if we end up doing another one. But I guess something like this would have to have pretty far advance notice anyway — you would have to book it way in advance. So it could be a year later, if it was ever done again. But right now, the whole thing is that's what makes this show so exciting, 'cause it's a one-off show; this is it. We're coming together for this special thing, so it makes it pretty cool."
The one-off show at K.K.'s Steel Mill will feature a full band set from Ellefson's "Sleeping Giants" band, followed by the PRIEST set with Downing, Binks and Owens. Former IRON MAIDEN vocalist Blaze Bayley will be the evening's opening support act. Additionally, the Steel Mill will also host a special pre-show VIP event whereby attendees will be treated to a "More Life With Deth" book-signing event and one-on-one question-and-answer session with Ellefson, Downing and Ellefson's "More Life With Deth" co-author Thom Hazaert, moderated by Mark Eglinton, who co-authored Downing's recent memoir "Heavy Duty Days And Nights In Judas Priest".
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 year, 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.
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.
Downing reconnected with Binks in 2017 for the first time in nearly four decades. Downing later described the experience of meeting his former bandmate as "great" and called Les "one of the greatest drummers in the world and a good friend and a great guy."
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Halford in 2003.