Previously, bassist Ian Hill had said that Downing would perform at the ceremony, but the guitarist’s latest remarks are the first time he himself has affirmed his appearance alongside his old bandmates.
“It’s what I’ve done so many times,” the Downing told Ultimate Classic Rock regarding playing with Priest. “It’s almost like cracking a beer, let alone riding a bike. It’s embedded in me. It’s what I do. So it’ll be quite something to look forward to, just to get up there and crank the amps up and just do it once again, for that short moment in time.”
Downing was a member of the band from 1969 until his exit in 2011, and has been estranged from Priest since his departure. He has since formed a solo act, KK’s Priest, laying claim to half of his ex-band’s namesake. Nevertheless, his contributions during his four-decade stint with the NWOBHM pioneers remain essential to the Judas Priest legacy.
When Priest were announced as part of the class of 2022 via the Musical Excellence Award, many wondered whether Downing would perform at the ceremony alongside his former bandmates. Thankfully, fans can expect a full-blown reunion at the November gathering.
“It’ll go by in a flash, won’t it?” said Downing of the upcoming performance. “I think we’ve probably got eight or nine minutes. I’m not even going to be able to break a sweat. The main thing is to represent the attitude and hopefully the legend of what Judas Priest is and has become and what it means to everybody who’s been on that very long journey through the decades with the band. And hopefully, it will just kind of remind people and bring back some cherished memories of the heavy metal parking lots all around the world.”
Downing also said that former Priest drummer Les Binks will also perform at the induction. Binks was in the band’s lineup from 1977 through 1979, contributing to two classic albums (1978’s Stained Class and Killing Machine / Hell Bent for Leather) in that short span.
“Obviously a lot of things have happened and stuff,” Downing concluded. “But we’re kind of all old people, you know? A lot of water’s gone under the bridge, a lot of miles have been traveled, a lot of notes have been played. The thing is we can all kind of be there, have a few beers together, a glass of wine and perform and enjoy ourselves. At the end of the day, it really is an accolade, and I think, if everybody were to be honest with themselves, they would all like to have that accolade.”
Along with Judas Priest, other inductees in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2022 include Eminem, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Lionel Richie, and Pat Benatar. The ceremony will air on a later date on HBO.