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K.K. Downing on Leaving Judas Priest: I Did Not Retire, I Quit

K.K. Downing
Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing has been relatively quiet since his departure from the iconic heavy metal act in 2011. After 41 years of making heavy metal, Downing put down his axe and bid farewell to Judas Priest, which he recently addressed in a new interview.

In a very comprehensive interview with The Midlands Rocks, Downing went through Priest’s entire career, shedding light on a truly legendary career. Downing even confirmed the classic tale that after a Priest world tour, he rented a house in Hawaii and played golf for seven months straight. “Once you got on the merry-go-round you could never get off, we were always in that cycle of touring, songwriting and recording,” Downing shares. “The pressure was immense really and I’m not sure how much Glenn or Rob felt it but we were there in Hawaii and I was faced with the option of going out to play golf or staying in the apartment after having just coming off a long tour when we had been shut away in hotel rooms.”

The shredder goes on to address his leave from Judas Priest. “I’ll never get away from this retirement thing, but what happened was that I quit, retired implies that I am not physically able to do it,” says Downing. “I am able to do it but I didn’t want to do it; I just wasn’t enjoying it any more, 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.”

Check out the full interview with K.K. Downing at The Midland Rocks.

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