Combine 3 Former Priest Members With Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson, And You’ve Come Up With A Band That Sounds Better Than The Current Judas Priest Line-Up
Judas Priest founding member, guitarist K.K. Downing retired from the band in 2011 due to concerns about conflict within the band, its management company and the quality of their live performances. Since then Downing has talked about reuniting with his former band, especially after Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton stepped down from touring in 2018 due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
But hard feelings remain between elements of the band and their management, with Downing so no reunification is foreseeable.
So what did Downing do a couple of weeks ago? He performed with a band that proved it can out-Priest, Judas Priest.
How do you accomplish that?
You bring in Judas Priest’s gifted drummer, Les Binks who recorded three classic albums with the band from 1977-1979. Then, you add Tim “Ripper” Owens the vocalist who replaced Rob Halford from 1996 -2003 when Halford left Priest for a few years. Throw in the mix Dave Ellefson the talented bass player with Megadeth. The final piece: put an ace of a lead guitarist on stage in the form of A.J. Mills from the British band Hostile.
Now you put this band on stage November 3, 2019 in Wolverhampton.
The result is this –
The band idea was Ellefson’s and Downing said this was a one-off show, meaning it probably won’t happen again. But damn, were they good. For £10 admission (just £10!) the enthusiastic audience see this band perform Judas Priest songs. Among the 14 songs the band performed were Priest classics; Riding on the Wind, Running Wild and Exciter.
Judas Priest has never performed Before The Dawn live. This band did.
Then there was the 1978 masterpiece that was written by Les Binks,, Beyond the Realms of Death.
With no disrespect to Rob Halford, everything K.K.’s band did sounded more authentic than the current version of Judas Priest.
You could tell K.K. Downing was having a ball as was the rest of the band. Singer Ripper Owens looked more relaxed here than he ever did while he was a member of Priest. Ellefson soaked up every moment, jumping all around the stage. This is in stark comparison to Ian Hill, Priest’s bassist, who has been nailed to his position in the dark and rear of the stage throughout every Priest show for the past 45 years. Guitarist A.J. Mills was every bit as good as Ritchie Faulkner the man who replaced Downing in Priest.
The topper of the show was seeing Les Binks show off his skills which have not diminished one drop over the last 40 years. It’s a dream come true for many Priest fans seeing him play many of the songs he originally played on so long ago. As a drummer, Binks is one of the all-time greats who is a musicians musician, known throughout the recording industry, but not among the public with the exception of classic Priest fans.
For Judas Priest fans, one can only hope this unnamed, superstar Downing led band decides to make a return to the stage and tour the world. Give them a larger venue, better lighting and sound and you will have unleashed a monster.
In 2020, if Downing tours and you have to choose between seeing Judas Priest perform or Downing’s band, the choice would be obvious.