After more than two years away from the legendary Judas Priest, guitarist K.K. Downing has become a concert promoter. With the goal in mind of helping young bands reach the heights of iconic acts such as Judas Priest, Downing has created The Future of Heavy Metal promotions.
The legendary shredder has teamed up with longtime promoter Dave Coleman to hand-pick heavy metal acts which may become the Judas Priests or Black Sabbaths of the new generation. The Future of Heavy Metal’s first showcase included performances by Hostile, Under Blackened Skies, Fury and Moray Firth. Downing’s newest venture also aspires to ascend the English Midlands into a top destination for live music.
“This is a new venture for us, but we hope to roll it out around the UK, I felt that I wanted to give something back and this seems like an ideal way,” Downing tells the Birmingham Post. “I think the way the industry is now it is exceptionally tough for young bands as there is no one around any more who is willing to back and support them. In the past when you had some interest from managers or record companies you could get advances. Record companies would give an advance to buy instruments or make a record. That’s not happening any more.”
He adds, “It’s going from bad to worse too and bands are actually being asked to pay to buy onto a tour which goes against the grain. Young bands can’t afford that. Some would be prepared to play for no fee and are willing to sleep in the van as we did in the old days. But to find the money to pay as a guest is not do-able unless they have got rich parents.”
Downing continues to reflect on how constantly performing during Judas Priest’s infant period helped the metal legends ascend to godlike status. “We did 50-odd concerts and the experience of playing five or six times a week was invaluable,” says Downing. “Bands today are never going to get their act together until they get out there playing with other bands and getting some touring experience … On my travels all over the world wherever I have been, Japan the US or wherever, the home of metal has always been Birmingham and the Black Country and I would like to see it continue. I’d like to think there is a future of heavy metal and that this area is going to be at the forefront, leading and paving the way for others.”
Read the full story on K.K. Downing’s promotions venture at the Birmingham Post.