In a new interview, former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing says he’ll never completely share the reasons why he decided to retire from the band prior to their ‘farewell’ Epitaph world tour.
"It was a set of circumstances that led me to not go out [on tour with Priest] this year,” Downing tells Valley reporter Grace Bailey at his home at Astbury Hall in Shropshire, England. “I was kind of geared up for it, but there was a multitude of reasons. It pretty much came down to an unsettlement on my part with working relationships.
"It's like anything else,” continues. “If anybody out there is thinking it's hard to live with one woman, they should try to live with four guys and hold it together. [Laughs] It gets to be like that, but obviously, with certain things, I just wasn't completely happy with the way things were, with the way it was, [and I just felt like] it was probably best if I stepped down, and I did."
Richie Faulkner was brought in by the metal gods to fill out their sound, joining Glenn Tipton on guitar.
"I wish things could have been different, so I could have continued,” says K.K. “Obviously, 'cause of the passion [I had for the band]. In the [late] Sixties, I was very instrumental in creating Judas Priest, and it was a hard bullet to bite. But I thought that if this is gonna be the way that it's gonna be, then perhaps it's time to step down.
"It was a massive consideration," says the guitarist. "Obviously, the fans, who I love, and many of them have become very good friends. But I just hoped that they would appreciate that I couldn't continue with the way that I felt inside for reasons which I'll… I mean, certain reasons I will never, ever disclose.
"I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to do so many shows and tours and records, and come out of it healthy and well. But I haven't really spoken to anyone about the inner details [behind my decision], really."
Priest band members have publicly stated that they have no idea why Downing retired, with some reports speculating that his decision was based on K.K.’s need to run his 9- and 18-hole golf courses on his estate, which the guitarist has flatly denied.
Hear what K.K. has to say in the Valley interview…
Priest continue the North American leg of the Epitaph tour this week with shows in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.