Spanish newspaper El Progreso has reported that former Judas Priest and Trapeze drummer Dave Holland died last week at the age of 69.

Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing has responded to this report with the following tribute on Facebook: "It is with deep regret that I have to accept the sudden and unexpected news that Dave Holland has passed away. Dave was a solid friend in life and solid musician both on the stage and in the studio; I will cherish the many gigs we played together and the albums that we made and I will always be grateful to the indelible contribution that Dave gave to Judas Priest. My sincere condolences to all of Dave’s loved ones Family and friends and to all of the fans that so much appreciated Dave’s musical ability and his life’s work. R.I.P. Dave."

Holland appeared on several of Judas Priest’s best-selling albums during his tenure from 1979 to 1989, but sought seclusion in recent years after being convicted of sex offenses in 2004.

In 1969 Holland became a founding member of Trapeze alongside Glenn Hughes and Mel Galley, his bandmates from a previous group named Finders Keepers. He sat through several lineups before joining Priest a decade later, in time to appear on their groundbreaking 1980 album British Steel and its follow-ups Point of Entry, Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of the Faith and Turbo. The band used electronic percussion for most of 1988’s Ram it Down, although Holland was credited, and he left the following year citing personal and family reasons, to be replaced by Scott Travis.

Holland went on to act as drum tutor and producer, while also becoming involved in further Trapeze work with Hughes, and drumming duties with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, among others. In 2004 he was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of rape and indecent assaults against a 17-year-old man with learning disabilities, who had been receiving drum lessons from him. He continued to insist on his innocence in the years following his conviction. Rock And Roll Garage detailed a 2006 correspondence between Holland and Judas Priest biographer Neil Daniels, in which the drummer said: “I was convicted of a crime that I didn’t commit, and like so many others in similar situations to the one in which I find myself, an offense that never even existed in the first place.”

El Progreso reported that Holland had moved to the secluded Lamas de Campos community in the mountainous A Fonsagrada area of Lugo, and died in the city’s University Hospital Lucus Augusti de Lugo on Jan. 16, with no cause of death confirmed. The paper added that he’d been “known by very few” of his neighbors, although those who did know him thought he was a “very kind and proper person,” and that his remains had been cremated.

El Progreso / Google Translate


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