Guitarist KK Downing has left Judas Priest just before their final tour. I can’t even begin to understand why he would leave the band if the band is about to embark on their “Farewell” tour. Maybe KK saw what happened with KISS’ “farewell” tour as a sign of things to come and figured he’d bow out now before embarking on a 15 year “farewell” tour. Who knows. All I can say is that I’m so damn proud to have seen the classic Judas Priest line up along with the “Painkiller” line up so I’m a happy dude. 31 year-old British guitar player Richie Faulkner has been tapped as the replacement for KK. The official statement released by the band is below:

“It is with regret that Judas Priest announce that KK Downing has formally retired from the band and will therefore not be joining them on their forthcoming Epitaph tour. The band respect his decision and naturally wish him well.

Having thought long and hard about how to proceed, Rob, Glenn, Ian and Scott unanimously agreed that they should go ahead with the tour and not let the fans down all around the world.

Fate also stepped in and delivered the perfect replacement – 31-year-old respected guitar player Richie Faulkner [who has played with Lauren Harris; he is pictured below] – he has blended into the band perfectly and is a great talent who is going to help set the stage on fire!

The Epitaph tour will include songs from every Priest studio album and also tracks they have never before performed on stage plus all the old favourites!

With a new album due to be released next year the metal gods are preparing to tour the planet once more – heavy metal at its best complete with lasers, lights, bikes and hellfire! It’s a show not to be missed!”