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Passings: Dave Holland, Drummer For Judas Priest (1948 to 2018)

by VVN Music

What started out as a rumor earlier in the day has now been reported to be the truth.  Drummer Dave Holland, who played with Judas Priest from 1979 to 1989, has died at the age of 69.

The news was first reported by the Spanish paper El Progreso, who said he had died on Tuesday, January 16 at the Hospital Universitario Lucus Augusti in Lugo, Spain.  They went on to say that Holland had been living in exile in Fonsagrada where he moved after being released from jail for attempted rape of a teenage boy.

For awhile, there were no corroborating reports but, later on Monday afternoon, Priest guitarist K.K. Downing released a statement:

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 actually started playing the piano but soon found he had an affinity for the drums. By 14, he was playing with a local band, initially being fascinated by jazz music, but eventually moving more in the direction of rock and funk.

Moving to Rugby, Holland, he joined a group called the Liberators which would become Pinkerton's Assorted Colors, scoring a number 8 hit in the U.K. in 1966 with "Mirror Mirror".

In August 1968, Holland moved to the band Finders Keepers, which also included Glenn Hughes, and recorded a number of singles before the expanded the band and renamed it Trapeze. The band signed with Threshold Records and Dave appeared on all six of the group's studio albums but, in 1979, he left to join Judas Priest.

Holland was drummer for Priest during their classic period, appearing on British Steel (1980), Point of Entry (1981), Screaming With Vengeance (1982), Defenders of the Faith (1984), Turbo (1986) and Ram It Down (1988). He left the band in 1989 due to family and health problems.

Throughout the 90's, he played with a reformed Trapeze, The Screaming Jets and as a studio musician for a number of artists; however, in 2004, he was convicted of attempted rape and indecent assault against a 17-year-old boy with learning disabilities who was taking drum lessons from him. Holland, who admitted to being bi-sexual, steadfastly stated that the charges were untrue. Holland was released in 2012 and moved to Spain where he lived in anonymity.