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K.K. Downing Opens Up About Leaving Judas Priest

K.K. Downing
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Judas Priest fans were shocked in 2011 when guitarist K.K. Downing left the band he founded in 1969. In a new interview, he spoke in depth about his reasons for leaving, and the differences in the industry between now and when he started.

“I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore,” he told The Midlands Rocks. “A lot of things had changed. I think I counted about 30 reasons why I didn’t want to do it at the time, and that is an awful lot of reasons. In all honesty, I think that in so many respects it had run its course.”

Downing hesitated to use the word “retirement,” however, because it suggests that he’s physically unable to continue playing and going on tour. But the current state of the music business means that there’s more interest in nostalgia than in creating something new.

“Priest became about going out and playing live and replicating exactly what people had enjoyed 10, 20 or 30 years ago,” he said. “The fans would be just as happy if they could see us bin all of the modern guitars we now play and take them on a walk down memory lane, because I think that’s what people enjoy most. And I understand that, because if I could go out now and see Eric Clapton with Cream, then I would be the happiest person in the world.”

Next: Top 10 Judas Priest Songs

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