In a brand new interview with "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon", original JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing was asked if he regrets leaving the group eight years ago. He responded: "I don't know. As I said before, everybody has the perception that PRIEST is a massive band and that, but in reality, so many other bands just became much more bigger commercially, really, than PRIEST when it comes to packing people in. We were overtaken and I felt that we should have been every bit as successful as a lot of other bands. And it just seemed to be on a decline — that's all. And whether it was commitment from other members in the band, a hundred percent, like I was, or not, I don't know, but something wasn't right about the whole organization; the whole thing wasn't right. We just weren't doing what we were supposed to be doing, I think, in the way of being a successful band."
Downing also clarified his recent statement that he has to accept the fact that he will not be invited to play with JUDAS PRIEST again and that he has to "just move forward." Asked what "moving forward" entails for him, Downing said: "Well, I think in one sense, moving forward is not thinking that you might not have to move forward. If you actually recognize that one day, that you need to stop thinking about what might happen, because it might never happen. So you need to move forward from that train of thought. It's one way of moving forward. Other than that, it's, for the first time in my life, jumping on the stage with other musicians, since 1969 — since the very, very early days — playing with another entity as opposed to JUDAS PRIEST. So that is moving forward in another way."
During the chat, Downing also talked about the hostility he has encountered from some PRIEST fans over the comments he has made in various interviews he has given since the release of his autobiography last year, particularly as it relates to the circumstances under which he exited the band.
"You said earlier on, the fans have a misconception about various things," K.K. said. "I read one thing where someone said on Blabbermouth, 'Why does K.K. keep writing in and posting shit on Blabbermouth?' The thing is, those guys never do interviews. They obviously selectively pick interviews and then create a headline. And sometimes they take what's said and just put it out of context a little bit, and it starts to have a different meaning. As I said before, if I say that it seems like I don't have an alternative but to move on, that's different to saying I want to move on. Wanting to move on and not having a choice to move on, it's completely two separate things. So when you create a headline to the fans, that's what the puts the guys on a bum steer. So I would say to all the fans, please, whatever you do, take the time out, as many of you obviously don't, to actually listen or read the original interview, to listen and make your own mind up as to how everything is said and in what context everything is said… And what I find out is actually sometimes the headline that's printed is nowhere near as interesting as a lot of things that you might [say] in the original interview anyway; I'm sure that that is the case. So I definitely would like to try and recommend that everyone, please, take the time out to log in and listen to the original interview, as I would, as a fan."
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
Last summer, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST after Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.
Downing's autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September via Da Capo Press.
K.K. will join ex-MANOWAR axeman Ross "The Boss" Friedman for several songs at this year's Bloodstock Open Air festival on August 11 at Catton Park, Derbyshire, United Kingdom. This will be Downing's first public performance since October 17, 2009 when JUDAS PRIEST played the final "British Steel 30th Anniversary" date on the "Nostradamus" world tour at Japan's Loud Park festival in Chiba City, Japan.