Former JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist K.K. DOWNING Launches Career As Rock Concert Promoter

According to Shropshire Star, former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Kenneth "K.K." Downing has has started a career as a rock promoter under the banner The Future Of Heavy Metal. His first show will be at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton, England on May 16, followed by a gig at The Asylum in Birmingham the following day. The shows will feature Black Country band HOSTILE, along with the French act MORAY FIRTH. Two more bands will also appear.

Downing told Shropshire Star was moving into rock promotion with Bridgnorth-based music guru Dave Coleman, who has been involved in the industry for many decades.

"The Black Country and Birmingham are known as the home of heavy metal and now it's time for the next generation to step up to the plate," Downing said.

"In some ways, it has been difficult for other bands to fill the void. Back in the '70s and '80s the Black Country and Birmingham produced so many good rock bands, from BLACK SABBATH and LED ZEPPELIN to JUDAS PRIEST and even SLADE."

HOSTILE features in its ranks bassist Alex Hill, son of JUDAS PRIEST's Ian Hill. The band's debut album, 2011's "Eve Of Destruction", was produced by Downing.

Not only did K.K. produce HOSTILE's debut CD, he also wrote and performed on the song "Avenger", the first time the guitarist has ever written for a band outside of PRIEST. K.K. became interested in HOSTILE's talent and potential after seeing them perform at a club called JB's in Dudley, Midlands.

In April 2011, Downing revealed that he would be leaving JUDAS PRIEST prior to the band's "Epitaph" world tour. In October that same year, Downing spoke to Valley Radio Online about what happened, although he declined to go into specifics.

"It was a set of circumstances that led me to not go out [on tour with PRIEST] this year," Downing said. "I was kind of geared up for it, but there was a multitude of reasons. It pretty much came down to an unsettlement on my part with working relationships.

"It's like anything else. If anybody out there is thinking it's hard to live with one woman, they should try to live with four guys and hold it together. [Laughs]"

Downing's place in the band was filled by new guitarist Richie Faulkner.

"It was a massive consideration," Downing said. "Obviously, the fans, who I love, and many of them have become very good friends. But I just hoped that they would appreciate that I couldn't continue with the way that I felt inside for reasons which I'll… I mean, certain reasons I will never, ever disclose.

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