K.K. Downing finally revealed the reason he quit heavy metal icons Judas Priest in 2011, and admitted relations with his former bandmates were not at their best. The guitarist was replaced by Ritchie Faulkner in 2011 - and Priest have since released two albums, Redeemer of Souls and Firepower.

Asked if writing his upcoming memoir Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest had offered closure over the split, Downing told VintageRock.com: “Yeah, I think so. I guess it’s the same with any long term relationship – whether it’s a husband or wife, or father or son or whatever – you spend enough time together, and idiosyncrasies show up. I guess there was no particular right or wrong – some people have more tolerance than others, and it takes a bloody miracle really to stay together for 40 years. Someone has to give. And it has to be give and take. But inevitably, it becomes a bit of an imbalance, and I like to think that democracy is always the best policy. And there wasn’t enough of it there, I don’t think.”

He continued: “Rob [Halford] and Glenn [Tipton] went off and did their lengthy solo careers, and that became a bit disruptive. I didn’t even mention that in the book. But Rob actually released two albums and did his own tour in the exact year before I left. And then when they said, ‘K.K., we want you to start writing for a five-track EP,’ I went, ‘Fucking no way in hell! Rob has just released two albums in the last year, and we are only releasing an EP? Something is not right.’ Enough was enough really, and I bailed out there. And like I said in the book, I tried to put it as diplomatically as I could. But in a nutshell, enough was enough, really. And that was it.”

On the subject of his current dealings with the band, Downing reported: “I can’t say it’s overly sweet at the moment. Nothing lasts forever. I started in the late 60s, so certainly guys from that time, we’re not going to be around forever. Obviously, we’re losing a lot of good friends along the way. It is the way it is. For my own part, there is always a better way, and I always believe that democracy is the epitome of the way forward for everyone. That’s all that needs to happen. But, it’s a case of someone always wants a bigger share of the pie or whatever it is. It is what it is.”

He recently criticized Priest for failing to ask him to return in place of Tipton, who bowed out of the live lineup for health reasons. However, he didn’t rule out a future return, saying: “Before, I wasn’t asked, but if I would have been asked, it probably would have been depending on how I was asked, really, and how it was going to be going forward. And that would still be the same in the future. … I can’t really foresee that there would be another opening, so I guess it would be all too late. But if something did happen, I would have to see how the land lays at that particular point.”

Priest are currently touring North America with Deep Purple.


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