K.K. DOWNING: There Were 'Lots And Lots Of Reasons' I Left JUDAS PRIEST
February 15, 2016
Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing was interviewed on a recent edition of "The Five Count" radio show in Mankato, Minnesota. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On why he decided to leave JUDAS PRIEST:
Downing: "I think it was a lot of things, in all honesty — an awful lot of things. I think that we'd had… Well, I'd been going since the late '60s — a good forty years — and I came offstage in November 2010 in Japan pretty exhausted and tired. That was just before Christmas. And it was, basically, I'd been home not really long ,and the management called up and said how soon could I start writing for an EP, I think it was, that they wanted to do. How soon could I start writing after Christmas? And I just wasn't totally in agreement with the idea, to be honest — not after we just made the epic 'Nostradamus'. We just had a long, long world tour, after forty years, and I just thought that… '[I'm] not too sure about that.' And I just started to think about myself and my life and everything. And I didn't think a hundred percent of what we were doing, every night up on stage, was what I really thought the fans were expecting. And it was about another thirty reasons other than that, really — lots and lots of other reasons; some small, some not so small. And collectively, putting everything together, I thought that I wasn't totally in a happy place, so I thought it was time to make way, really. And that's what I did. But it's been good to see the seasons change in my home country, for once, and to spend a bit more time with my family. My dear mom is quite… She's well into her eighties now. So there's lots of good… Some business, some health, some social… lots of reasons, really. But I'm still here. I do something pretty much… I do something every day to do with music, whatever it is; I'm always pretty active doing things. It's in my blood. And that's it, really. And we'll see what happens next, as they say."
On whether he can see himself getting involved with a new musical project at some point or whether he is official retired from playing:
Downing: "I really don't know. I think I'm gonna get this year out of the way here and finish up pretty much what I'm doing here, and I'll see what happens; I'll see how I am, mentally and physically. I think that, actually, today I am a better player than I was yesterday or five years ago when I left the band, because I've had a chance to relax a little bit and take in and absorb stuff that I've learned and practice, as opposed to learning something and zipping off somewhere and having to do this, that and the other. So, yeah, I still learn and practice, and one day there'll be a show somewhere. But we'll have to see. As they say, never try to promote history, because has a habit of promoting you, if it wants to."
On his other projects and his relationship with fans:
Downing: "I speak and hook up with people; I'm in contact with people all the time. My only regret is there are lots of things I get invited to do that I'm not able to do it, really, from the time thing, or the time is not quite right. But, yeah, even though I'm not actually actively touring and recording, it's undeniable that there's a part of… The evolution that I was talking about, of JUDAS PRIEST and certainly I have been a part of… And I know the fans never forget; the fans will always remember a concert or the signing of an autograph, or getting a guitar pick thrown out, or buying the first-ever JUDAS PRIEST record, or whatever record it was. So the fans are always loyal, and I know that they are, and there's still that communication that I can feel and sense that is out there, just as it is from me, and I want all the fans to know that. I'm not forgetting that forty years or any of the fans; it's embedded in me, all those wonderful memories. And like I say, it would be great if everything in life and everything could go on forever, but, unfortunately, it doesn't. But I can only say that the fans have given me the best reward I could ever have had in my life, just purely for the fact that they've been good, loyal fans of the PRIEST."