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Judas Priest’s K.K. Downing on Leaving Band: ‘I Wish Things Could Have Been Different’

KK Downing
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

When guitarist and founding member K.K. Downing left Judas Priest earlier this year, it came as a surprise, but it wasn’t exactly a shock. He’s 60 years old, after all, and had definitely done his time in the trenches after spending more than 40 years in the studio and on the road. In fact, a lot of people assumed he was retiring to pursue a life of well-deserved leisure, running the golf courses on his property.

As it turns out, Downing’s reasons for leaving the band were a little more complicated — and all too familiar to anyone who’s watched their favorite bands splinter over personality conflicts. Without getting too deeply into the specifics, Downing revealed in a recent interview that it “pretty much came down to an unsettlement on my part with working relationships.”

“”It’s like anything else. 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,” continued Downing, laughing. “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.”

That doesn’t mean Downing is without regret over the way things ended. “I wish things could have been different, so I could have continued,” he admitted. “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,” he continued. “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.”

Judas Priest, currently completing dates on its Farewell Epitaph World Tour (we reviewed Tuesday night’s performance right here) while working on songs for the band’s next album, their first with Downing’s replacement Richie Faulkner.

Watch K.K. Downing talk about his departure from Judas Priest

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