Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing was interviewed on a recent edition of the “Rockin’ Metal Revival” Internet radio show. You can now listen to the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his decision to leave JUDAS PRIEST in 2011:
“I thought I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the seasons change in England… you know, spring, summer, autumn and winter. [That was] one thing. But when I actually added everyting up, there was so many reasons, really, why I decided to not continue. Another reason is time does get shorter as you get older. I feel a lot of the listeners out there won’t be the age that I am, but I can promise you when you get to a certain age, you start to think that things are zipping by, so it’s time to take a bit of a step back and think about spending a little bit of time with the family and stuff like that. Not exactly living a normal life, but just getting in tune with reality again. Because, as I say, it’s almost like an amazing fantasy world to live in the world that I had been living in. But it was time not to continue to be selfish and just put a bit of time into other people that have supported you over the years.”
On whether he is still in contact with any of his former bandmates in JUDAS PRIEST:
“There is some contact, which, mainly, obviously, [is] e-mail these days. Obviously, the guys have been extremely busy since my departure, doing a lot of things. I think they’ve done two world tours and a very lengthy album , and I know how much time that takes. So it’s all good, it’s all good. So the PRIEST is still alive and still rocking.”
On whether he thinks JUDAS PRIEST will ever get inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:
“Well, I certainly hope so. But everything comes to us in the end, I guess and hope. As hard workers and as prolific a band as we’ve been, producing material and tours for so long, it was… not as though we really, really care about winning Grammys, but lots of other bands do. We’re thinking, ‘Why do we get pushed to the back of the queue?’ So I guess the Hall Of Fame, there’s still a lot of fantastic bands that have still not been let into the Hall Of Fame, but I guess that everyone’s turn will come.”
On how he looks back on the Tim “Ripper” Owens era of JUDAS PRIEST:
“It was a fantastic period. We loved it. It was challenge, you know. And I would definitely say, ‘Jugulator’, in particular, I know, it’s one of those things… That album gets cited by so many of the young musicians as being the album that actually got them… I mean, the young lads from [the U.K. metal band] HOSTILE, for example, that was the first time they ever saw PRIEST, and they’re just crazy about that album. I think it’s the bible of riffs. But, yeah, it was a lot of fun. There’s a lot of stuff on there that is tongue in cheek. I’ve played it recently, along with other PRIEST albums, and I think that… It’s the one thing that PRIEST had that other bands didn’t have was that we were never afraid to introduce versatility with our metal, whether it was ‘Nostradamus’, ‘Point Of Entry’, whether it was ‘Turbo’, whether it was ‘Jugulator’… whatever it was. We always said that we were proud to be able, and wanted to be able, to push the boundaries of rock and metal as far and wide as possible to gain a bigger acceptance from listeners, to get on board and to see what our genere of music had to offer. It’s not as though that’s the main reason we were so versatile, I think, in our recordings, but it was just for ourselves as well, I think — just out of curiosity, to see exactly what we could bring to the table. Unlike a lot of bands that very much stick in the groove that they feel their comfort zone is, PRIEST, we changed guitar sounds, we changed a lot of things in the way that we presented out material. And proudly, for better or for worse. You have to take the rough with the smooth, with some critique along the way. But when I look back on our career, I’m quite proud of the fact that [there is] a wide variety of what we actually introduced everyone to.”
On what message he has for the JUDAS PRIEST fans out there:
“My life on the road has been my life, and I still consider it to be my life, with all the miles I’ve traveled and all the gigs I’ve done and all the people I’ve met. To all the fans out there, a big thank you for getting on board. But because I’m not there, it’s not the end of the world. As I said before, I couldn’t envisage a world without the PRIEST, and PRIEST is still out there putting on great performances. So, by all means, get a chance to see them if you can. And without disclosing all of the reasons for my departure, it is what it is. I kind of miss the early days when it was fun, exciting and every band was considered to be virtual gods, and every band was good in those days. But things have moved on, times have moved on, and for myself, [it was time to] consider other priorities that I felt I’d neglected for so long. And it’s one of those things — I guess, you get to a certain age and maturity kicks in, and reality, and responsibilities. And I think that that’s it. But certainly my life and career with PRIEST, I always thought that, irrespective of what anybody thinks about ‘Nostradamus’, if people don’t get it, they don’t get it, but I love it, and I think it’s a great work of JUDAS PRIEST, and I think time will tell and see that piece of work have its day, again. I think that, for me, I wanted… I didn’t think that PRIEST, you know, for me… I think that that would have been the right way to end our recording career, for me, and I think that live gigs from there on would have probably been my chosen route, whether it was a world tour that never ended… a farewell tour, I mean, that probably never ended. And I think that that was it. Because, as you get older, time becomes relevant, and to shut myself away in a recording studio for three years, I didn’t think it was right for me, and so, that was my decision, really. And that’s pretty much the crux of it.”
Downing, who is a founding member of the British heavy metal legends and was part of the group since 1969, announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011.
K.K. in 2011 shot down as “inaccurate” reports that he left JUDAS PRIEST because he chose to concentrate on running the 18- and nine-hole golf courses on his property.