Downing: Hard to imagine a world without Priest

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Retired Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing says it would be hard to imagine a world without the band he helped form in Birmingham in 1969.

Replaced by Richie Faulkner following his retirement in 2011, Downing has maintained a low profile, dividing his time between family, golf and music.

Downing tells VH1’s That Metal Show: “I’ve appeared on a couple of albums – just did a couple of solos. It didn’t work out great, but other than that, I’ve been helping a couple of local bands, giving them a leg up. And just keeping my finger on the pulse, playing a bit of guitar and stuff.

“Essentially getting my whole life together after so long. Getting to see the seasons change in the UK for once. And checking in on the family, and just checking in on my own life, really.”

He adds: “It’s been good. People say, ‘Oh, do you miss it?’ But it just seems like yesterday that I stepped off that stage in Japan in 2011. Time goes by pretty quick. You get to a certain age and it goes by very, very quickly.”

The guitarist maintains he remains on good terms with his former bandmates, who released their first post-KK album, Redeemer Of Souls, last year and are already considering their next project.

Downing says: “Those guys have been pretty busy since I left the band. I’m glad that the Priest machine is still rolling, because it would be hard to imagine a world without Priest. And I think that’s good. And I’m glad Richie has taken up the baton and has allowed the band to carry on.”

As for Redeemer Of Souls, Downing says he has yet to give it a complete listen. “I can’t say I heard the whole thing in its entirety yet, but when I get around to it, I will do that, for sure.”