KK Downing comes out of retirement…
Former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing has come out of music industry retirement – but instead of taking the stage the guitarist will be working behind it as a promoter.
The iconic axeman has announced his first two shows, one in Wolverhampton and one in Birmingham, where he’ll showcase rising-star talent.
His aim to is ensure the Black Country – where he war born and where he lives today – remains on the rock and metal map for years to come. His promotion firm will operate under the title The Future Of Heavy Metal, and it’s a collaboration with experienced industry man Dave Coleman.
Downing tells the Shropshire Star: “The Black Country and Birmingham are known as the home of heavy metal. Back in the 70s and 80s the area produced so many good bands from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to Judas Priest and even Slade.
“In some ways it’s been difficult for other bands to fill the void. Now it’s time for the next generation to step up to the plate.”
His first tips are local outfits Hostile, Left Unscarred and Under Blackened Skies, alongside French band Moray Firth.
He surprised fans when he bowed out of Priest in 2011, to be replaced by Richie Faulkner. The band’s original singer, Al Atkins, recently said he’d thought Downing might make a few guest appearances with his former colleagues, but added: “That’s not to be, so I’ve been told.”