Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing has has posted the following message on his his Steel Mill web site:

“Well, it has been a while. I haven’t been hibernating this winter but often thought of doing so. Hopefully the worst of the weather is behind us and we can look forward to a great festival season.

“I had a call from one of the world’s great singers Geoff Tate who I guess knew that I would be available to guest on one of the tracks of his new album. Despite the sad division within the band at the moment, in the name of music I decided to go ahead.

QUEENSRŸCHE, as you know, have long since galvanized their position in the world of metal and are known and respected for the hard work that they have dedicated to music over so many years. PRIEST have had the pleasure many times to have played alongside the band and I can say openly that I have many great memories of the fun and crazy times that we shared whilst on tour. I remember one incident that nearly killed or at least maimed me — that was DEATH BY SOFA!

“Let me explain. One night after the show — mentioning no names — one of the QUEENSRŸCHE guys suggested levitating a ginormous sofa between just four of us using just one finger each. After quite a few beers, something was destined to go wrong. Anyway, we proceeded and it was amazing until the thing was over our heads. Then two of the guys dropped out. As the thing came careering in my direction, I had immediate visions of a hospital bed. By the skin of my teeth, I somehow managed to escape the flying sofa. My tour could have well and truly ended there! Anyway someone said: ‘Who’s for a beer?’ and the night went on. However, I often think of what the headline might have been: ‘Rock musician killed by a sofa!’

“Anyway, now back on safer ground in the UK I have been trying to create a circuit that unsigned bands can tour without paying to get on. It is not easy but I guess it’s early days. So if you are close to Wolverhampton Slade rooms on the May 16th or Birmingham Asylum on the 17th please swing by for a full on metal night with HOSTILE, MORAY FIRTH (from France), UNDER BLACKENED SKIES and LEFT UNSCARRED for the start of Future of Metal.

“Talking of great singers I was speaking to (Tim‘Ripper’ (Owens; formerJUDAS PRIEST and ICED EARTH singer) recently and he told me of his plans to open his own bigger and better venue soon in his hometown. So watch this space for updates on that. I am sure the opening party will be very metal and one not to be missed.

“Have a great summer festival season and thank you for feeding the flames!”