During a recent appearance on “The High Way With Kyle Shutt”, the podcast hosted by THE SWORD guitarist Kyle Shutt, former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing spoke about the process of writing his autobiography, “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest”, which was released in September 2018 via Hachette Audio as a digital download, and in print and ebook from Da Capo Press. The book was co-written by the Scottish author and journalist Mark Eglinton, whose previous collaborations include “Official Truth, 101 Proof” with Rex Brown of PANTERA and “Confessions Of A Heretic” with BEHEMOTH‘s Adam “Nergal” Darski.
Downing said: “It was something different, really. It was definitely interesting. It was quite time consuming. But I’m glad I did it because I just wanted fans to get to know me a little bit better, really. Because fans knew of me, but [they didn’t] necessarily have an insight to me and my life and my personality.”
Three years ago, Downing told VintageRock.com that writing his autobiography provided him with a sense of closure concerning his time in JUDAS PRIEST. “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,” he said. “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. But it kind of happened — Rob [Halford, vocals] and Glenn [Tipton, guitar] 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.”
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
In 2019, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band’s 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.
In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as “a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music,” while the second was “angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties.”
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was “a key reason” he wasn’t invited to rejoin PRIEST after Tipton‘s decision to retire from touring.
In “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest”, Downing wrote that he told Tipton and PRIEST manager Jayne Andrews that he had “hated” them both “since 1985.” Earlier this year, he explained his outburst to Classic Rock magazine: “I was angry. Glenn had formed a relationship with Jayne from day one, and it felt a bit like a John-and-Yoko situation. I didn’t like that.”