In the days leading up to the release of K. K. Downing's new book, Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest on September 18th, his Priest band mates were out on the road.
With the semi-retirement of fellow Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton due to the advancing symptoms of Parkinson's disease, fans began to question whether Downing would return to the fold.
And there it began. A back and forth of what amounts to, "I want to return"/"we didn't know" from both parties through various media outlets like mine.
I read K.K.'s book. He made no bones about wanting to be done with the band, so I'm not surprised that the rest of Priest may not have expected him to even want to return.
Both K.K. and Halford pointed out to me in conversations just a week apart that Downing and Tipton are both still, legally I take it, part of the band. In hearing them speak of one another and from what K.K. has recently published, there is still a great deal of love and respect between all parties. Downing notes his naturally "non-confrontational" personality in the book, and I think that illustrates why it may be easier for the guys to put out "feelers" through others.
Metal fans everywhere would rejoice in seeing Downing return to the live stage for Priest's 50th anniversary, something they can probably milk for a few years, given the original incubation time for the band. So there is plenty of time.
Meanwhile, K.K.'s book, co-written by the Scottish journalist Mark Eglinton is a good rock 'n roll read, and quickly devoured. Judas Priest is still kicking ass on stage. And having been through the rounds with guys like me, both parties without a doubt know what fans want.
I hope we get it. I sense that the guys would wind up loving it even more than us.