Their three-song set last month marked the first time Downing shared the stage with his ex-bandmates since their angry split in 2011 – and it was also the first time he met his replacement, Richie Faulkner.
“I have a lot of things on at the moment and initially I thought, ‘It’s a lot of fuss,'” Downing tells MetalTalk. “Can I really be bothered with going all the way over to Los Angeles to play three songs and break the ice with the guys? But when I reflected on it, it was the band I started 50 years ago, and I would probably regret it if I didn’t go. So I accepted the invitation.”
As Faulkner, Downing said that “shared the stage and even jammed together. It could have been awkward, but it wasn’t. I’ve nothing but respect for him, and I know he’s working on other projects outside Priest, and I wish him well.”
He added light-heartedly: “The only potentially awkward moments were because I like a lot of room and have always raced around the stage, and we had to avoid each other!”
Downing said he enjoyed the experience of catching up and “breaking bread” with all the current band members, as well as former drummer Les Binks. “The only decision, despite my initial brief reservation, was which Flying V guitar I took with me,” he explained, “and would it survive the flight?”
The second album from Downing’s offshoot band K.K.’s Priest – which once featured Binks and still includes ex-Priest vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens – is in the “pre-production stage, ready for release in 2023.” They’ll also be touring next year, Downing added, including “maybe some open-air festivals in the summer.”
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