In a new interview with Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing talked about the time when the band was fronted by Tim “Ripper” Owens.
He said (via Ultimate Guitar):
“I think when Rob left, you know, we didn’t have a choice – we had to go ahead without Rob because he’d made a decision.”
“We allowed Rob quite a few years, to be fair, to change his mind and come back, but I think it was about five or six years, we found Ripper and went forward without another choice.
“Inevitably, I’ve kind of got this fear that I do tell people that there is a voice that’s synonymous with each band. There is Mick Jagger – The Rolling Stones; Bruce Dickinson – Iron Maiden… with a couple of exceptions to the rule.
“Ian Gillan – Deep Purple; Freddie Mercury – Queen… it kind of goes on, and that’s what the fans were kind of portraying to us, really.
“As great singer as Ripper was, obviously Rob is the voice of Judas Priest. You can kind of understand them wanting the return of that because they grew up with it from a young age as fans. So that’s a very understandable situation really.”
Downing also talked about selling his catalog just like Dee Snider. He said:
“Yeah, if you’re subjected to paying tax on your assets, it’s not fun. Every year, you’ve got to write a check. It’s a thing with tax situations, we all have the right to mitigate tax as much as we can, but yeah, it’s like a pension fund, really.
“All of my life, we were writing albums and songs, and at any point, you felt that you were doing the right thing because it was a lot of hard work, enjoyable, but hard work, building some kind of pension.
“You never know what’s going to happen, an accident can stop you playing, so you have to be a bit like a footballer really, soccer player I suppose. If you get injured, your pension’s off. There just comes a time, really, when it makes sense to liquidate the money as opposed to sitting there and be subject to tax liabilities, that makes a lot of sense.”