When Judas Priest co-founder and guitarist Glenn Tipton announced he would be relinquishing his live role in the band to Andy Sneap due to complications from Parkinson's Disease, K.K. Downing, who left Priest in 2011, wondered aloud why he was not asked to return to the group to relieve Tipton. Ian Hill, the lone founding member currently in the live ranks, explained why they didn't turn to their erstwhile bandmate at a press conference at France's Hellfest.

"I didn't know, really, where he was coming from with that comment," Hill said of Downing's declaration that he was "shocked and stunned" he wasn't invited to rejoin Judas Priest. "I mean, Ken's place in the band has already been taken; he's sitting right there [referring to Richie Faulkner who succeeded Downing]." The bassist noted that Downing had not contributed to the band since 2008's Nostradamus and pondered if the guitarist would have been prepared to play new material he wasn't a part of making, surmising he would not.

"And on top of that, he's gonna have to learn Glenn's parts too," Hill stated as another reason, adding, "Apart from that, he's been retired for nearly eight years. He hasn't since set foot onstage as far as I know, so he's hardly at the peak of his game at the moment."

Ultimately, Hill suggested Downing was just playing "a bit of mischief."

Judas Priest are currently on the road supporting their new record, Firepower, and will return to North America on a co-headlining tour with Deep Purple this summer. Head here to see a list of all upcoming dates.

Meanwhile, Downing will release his memoir, Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest in September and is selling off his rights to over 130 Judas Priest songs. Tipton has been active outside of music as well, launching Glenn Tipton's Parkinson's Foundation.

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