Downing officially left Judas Priest on April 20, 2011, telling fans he was stepping away from the British metal legends due to “an on-going breakdown in working relationships between myself, elements of the band and management for some time.” Since Downing returned to the spotlight with his current band, KK’s Priest, rarely a week has gone by without him offering his thoughts on the band he quit after 41 years, most headline quotes emphasising his irritation at not being invited to re-join the band in the wake of Glenn Tipton stepping down from worldwide touring in 2018 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
“That whole situation with him and the band over the last 10 years, to me, has been totally unnecessary,” says Priest’s current guitarist Richie Faulkner, who replaced Downing in 2011. “It's been a bit of a shit show. And I don't know why that is. To me, music aside, they should maybe pick up the phone and just talk to each other as buddies and go and have a beer and just be pals. You know, fuck music for a minute; let's just be pals. And then whatever happens, happens. They were pals for 40 years. They lived pretty much together for 40 years — four decades!”
“I wish it was different,” says Faulkner. “All that weirdness of the last 10 years didn't need to happen. If they'd parted on good terms, maybe things would be different now. But, unfortunately, that didn't happen.”
The guitarist was speaking on the In The Trenches With Ryan Roxie podcast, which can be viewed in full below. In the same hour-long interview Faulkner also revealed that he’s looking to secure a deal for a solo album he’s been writing.
“There is something I've kind of been [putting] together during the COVID period,” he told the host. “I mean, I know we're still going through it but there's been a lot of downtime. So I've used that time to kind of get some songs I've been working on, get them together, polish them up, get some people together that I respect in the music business and record some stuff… It's in the process of being finalised, and we're looking for deals and stuff.”