OwensFormer JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens says that he “hates” the fact that guitarist and founding member Kenneth “K.K.” Downing is no longer part of the legendary British heavy metal band but urges all metal fans to support the group as it continues its “farewell” tour.

During an appearance on today’s (Monday, August 29) edition of “Eddie Trunk Live” on SiriusXM, Owens was asked for his opinion about K.K.’s departure from JUDAS PRIEST and the band’s decision to carry on touring without Downing. “I hate that K.K.’s not in the band,” Tim said. “I’m friends with all of them. I just saw Ken up in Manchester when DIO DISCIPLES played there. We went and had some dinner, he hung out all night. It was a great time.”

He added, “Listen, I was in the band and Rob Halford wasn’t there, so I can’t be the one to say, ‘Well, it’s not the same without somebody.’ That’s not the case. But it does stink that Ken’s not there. Because I am friends with him and as a band, we did everything together — I mean, Glenn [Tipton] and Ian [Hill] and Scott [Travis], we always did stuff together. I hope he’ll be back and they’ll get back at it. But they’re out there doing it. Ken’s excited; he’s at home, he’s enjoying his time off, he’s having a good time at home. And the guys are out there touring and all the metal fans should go support them.”

Owens recorded two studio albums with JUDAS PRIEST — 1997’s “Jugulator” and 2001’s “Demolition” — before the band reunited with Halford in 2003.

Downing issued a statement in April regarding his departure from JUDAS PRIEST in which he blamed his decision to leave on the fact that “there has been an ongoing breakdown in (the) working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band’s management for some time. Therefore I have decided to step down rather than to tour with negative sentiments as I feel that this would be a deception to you, our cherished fans.”

Halford told French magazine Rock Hard, “K.K. leaving was his own decision, for the reasons he made public on his web site. . . K.K. has his own life to live and we can’t force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.”

Regarding Richie Faulkner’s addition to JUDAS PRIEST, Tipton recently said, “Richie was recommended to us and we checked him out online and I asked him up to the studio and said, ‘Show me what you can do,’ and I just knew straight away he was the man for the job. The beauty about Richie is he’s never tried to replace what Ken did. He does it in his own way and that’s the magic of it. Straight away we were all amazed at the contradiction; that he can do his own thing but he really blends in and works with PRIEST. We were all astonished by it.”

Source: www.blabbermouth.net