Downing quit Judas Priest in 2011, right before the band embarked on its Epitaph World Tour, citing “an ongoing breakdown in working relationships between myself, elements of the band and management for some time.” But in his 2018 memoir, Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest, Downing revealed that he “never found Glenn to be particularly easy to get along with” and said, “If you were going to relate to him, you would do so entirely on his terms” (via The Guardian).
Downing — who now performs in KK’s Priest with former Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens — also said he expected Judas Priest to hang up their spurs after the Epitaph World Tour and lamented, “They didn’t want any part of me, even though I was one of the only original members.”
Now, Tipton has broken his silence on his former co-guitarist and offered his take on the disintegration of Downing’s relationship with Priest. “I never wanted to get into a public argument after K.K. left,” Tipton told Guitar World. “I never said a word and I stuck to my guns for over 10 years, but there comes a point when you read things that have been said that are just crazy. It’s time to say something, really because he’s saying things that he really shouldn’t be saying. They aren’t fair.
“He’s insinuated that he was the driving force of the band,” Tipton continued. “It just isn’t true. Priest [are] made up of five guys working together. [There’s] not just one person driving the band. He’s said all these things that, I think, are meant to upset us and get us to say something in response and for a long time we didn’t. But I’ve got a lot to say and enough’s enough.”
Tipton also took umbrage with Downing’s accusations that Tipton’s drinking before shows and during songs was “slowing us down.” “Everyone knows it’s not true,” Tipton claimed. “Like I said, the fans aren’t stupid and they’ve seen me for 50 years playing around the world. I may have had a couple of beers onstage, but that’s all. It’s never affected the concert or my performance whatsoever and he knows that.”
Moreover, Tipton claimed he “used to piece [Downing’s] leads together” in the studio and “did a lot of editing to make his lead breaks worthwhile.”
Tipton bowed out of touring full-time with Judas Priest in 2018 following a Parkinson’s diagnosis but remains “actively involved” with the group and still occasionally joins them onstage. Judas Priest recently announced they would tour as a four-piece with one guitarist when they resumed their 50 Heavy Metal Years trek in March, but they quickly reversed course and decided to continue touring as a five-piece with guitarists Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap.
The Best Song on Every Judas Priest Album
Eighteen tracks that prove the British veterans never abandoned their core principles.