…but Judas Priest bassist Hill says Downing didn’t want to stay – now the band anticipate “a lot of touring”

Ian Hill

We tried everything: Ian Hill

Judas Priest tried everything to persuade guitarist KK Downing not to quit the band – but he just didn’t want to be there any more, says bassist Ian Hill.

Downing announced his retirement last month, just as the band were about to start rehearsing for what’s been called their last-ever world tour. He’s been replaced by Lauren Harris axeman Richie Faulkner.

And Hill, now the last remaining founding member of the 43-year-old outfit, says fans have nothing to worry about.

He tells Metal Hammer Germany: “If you’re concerned we’ll no longer sound like Priest you can put your minds at rest. Richie is a fabulous guitarist and the perfect replacement for KK. You’ll miss nothing from the show and the sound.”

The bassist says Downing’s departure had to happen: “We did everything in our power to persuade Ken to stay in the band – but he no longer had the enthusiasm to keep going.”

And like drummer Scott Travis before him, Hill now seems more confident that the metal gods will be seen again after their Epitaph tour. “I don’t think these will be our last-ever performances,” he says. “There will be no more two-year trips after this, but we still have a lot of touring ahead of us.

“If anyone asks us, why shouldn’t we continue playing?”

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