Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing issued a statement saying he was "stunned" he was not asked to rejoin the band after Glenn Tipton made the decision to opt out of the Firepower tour as he's been battling Parkinson's Disease for a decade. Now, bassist Ian Hill has made some clarifying comments that explain why the metal legends did not turn to their old bandmate.

"Well, I don't know where Ken is coming from, to be honest. He retired seven years ago and he made it clear at the time that he didn't wanna come back. So I'm surprised that he's saying that he was surprised that he wasn't asked," Hill told Metal Wani in a recent interview. "I think we all thought he probably would have been surprised if we had asked him. So I don't know," the bassist went on, adding, "It's a bit like your quarterback retiring, you replace the guy, and then two or three years down the line, [when the new guy] gets injured, you're not going to come back to the guy that just retired. You'll find somebody else. And it's pretty much the same thing."

Downing's statement led many to believe that he insinuated that Sneap also handled some of Tipton's role in the studio as Priest tracked Firepower, but Rob Halford quickly dispelled this notion. The erstwhile guitarist then cleared up his words, noting that Priest had used guitar playing producers in the past and that they had made contributions to the music.

Firepower, the 18th studio album from Judas Priest, drops on Friday (March 9) and the supporting tour begins on March 13. For a list of all stops, head here.

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