KK Downing has been speaking to Midlands Rocks (via Classic Rock) about his departure from Judas Priest. In the interview, the guitarist has revealed that he didn’t retire from the band, but quit because he wasn’t enjoying being in the band:
"I'll never get away from this 'retirement' thing. What happened was that I quit. 'Retired' implies that I am not physically able to do it. 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 thirty reasons why I didn't want to do it at the time, and that's an awful lot of reasons.
"In all honesty I think that in so many respects it had run its course. If you're part of a songwriting team you get the recognition and reward for creating something. But for me Priest became about going out and playing live and replicating exactly what people had enjoyed ten, twenty or thirty years ago. The fans would be just as happy if they could see us take them on a walk down memory lane - 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."
Downing also notes that music industry changes had soured his desire to be in a high-profile touring band:
"If the industry was still healthy and people still had to spend their hard-earned money buying a record, it would be different. We used to buy an album and think, 'Well it's not that good, but I'll play it a million times and I'm sure I'll get into it.' Now it doesn't get a second chance. In the past there was always the opportunity to create a record like "The Dark Side of the Moon" or "British Steel" or "Back in Black" that would be indelible, and people will always come back to. I think that opportunity has gone now - it would take a miracle for one of those to happen again."