Former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing claimed that Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens’ replacement over Rob Halford saved the band during a recent appearance on Rock Pages.

Judas Priest released one of their most succesfull albums back in 1990, ‘Painkiller.’ After the release of the recording, the band decided to promote it by going for a ‘Painkiller’ tour in the next year.

Following the tour, Rob Halford wanted to leave the band because he felt like there was a lot of tension between the band members, taking drummer Scott Travis with himself for thrash metal band, ‘Fight.’

After making such a decision, Judas Priest agreed with Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens to replace the long-time singer, and they recorded two studio albums, ‘Jugulator’ and ‘Demolition,’ prior to Rob’s return for ‘Angel Of Retribution’ record.

In the conversation, KK Downing pointed out that they should be grateful for Ripper because he saved the band. According to KK Downing, Judas Priest was a mess when Ripper joined.

Even though the original members left the band, Ripper managed to help Judas Priest to stay alive for fourteen years. As KK Downing said, they should be proud of the two albums they made during the tough period.

KK Downing on Ripper’s addition:

We should be grateful for Ripper because he saved the band, really, the band was in a mess. Rob left the band, 14 years, I didn’t see him from 1990 to 2004, and Glenn left to do a couple of solo albums, and Rob took the drummer with him when he left.

So we didn’t really have the band. When Ripper came along, we were able to stay alive and keep going, he was our salvation, and we should be eternally grateful, and we should be proud and grateful for those two albums he helped us do as well.”

You can listen to the full interview below.