Rob Halford Speaks Out on KK Leaving Judas Priest

(Gibson) With their farewell tour kicking off in just a few weeks, Judas Priest have been rehearsing intensively—a job made more challenging due to the abrupt exit of guitarist and founding member K.K. Downing in April. Downing issued a press release stating that he left because of a breakdown in his relationship with members of the band and the group's management. Frontman Rob Halford addressed the topic with Spanish metal journalist Rafa Basa (as reported on Blabbermouth), who asked the metal god why he thought Downing timed his departure right before the group's farewell tour.

"It's a great question. I can't answer it. You have to get in touch with K.K. and ask him that question, 'cause I can't answer it. I think we've tried to be as honest and as straightforward as we can be on both sides of the discussion, and it is very emotional. I mean, you could just as easily [have asked] that same question—which you may have done—when I was away from the band, and Ripper, my good friend Ripper, was holding the mic for me. You just have to carry on. I think more than anything, it's just kind of difficult, 'cause it's a farewell tour. Why is it happening now? Well, you've got no control over life, have you? [Laughs] You can't control life and these things happen. So you just have to accept them and see what your options are. So that's the way it is.

"Of course, it will never be the same without K.K., like I'm sure a lot of people said it was never the same without me. But you can't just grind to a halt, you can't just stop everything—that would be ridiculous. We have obligations to our fans and to promoters and to everybody else, and to our record company, and we wanna fulfill them and be professional and do the right thing, which is what I think we are doing."

Halford confided that the departure hit him and the rest of the band on a personal level.

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