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David Holland (5 April 1948 – 16 January 2018) was an English heavy metal drummer born in Northampton, England, best remembered for his stints with Trapeze from 1969 to 1979 and Judas Priest from 1979 to 1989.

Dave Holland
Born(1948-04-05)5 April 1948
Northampton, England
Died16 January 2018(2018-01-16) (aged 69)
Lugo, Spain
  • Drums
  • percussion
  • piano
  • vocals
Years active1965–2004
Associated acts

Early lifeEdit

At the age of six Holland began piano lessons, but soon developed a "mania for the drums" in his own words and begged his parents to let him have a set. After his first appearance as a stand-in for a local band, Holland realised he wanted to be a musician. When he was 14 years old, he supplemented his pocket money by playing with another local band called The Drumbeats, and selling furniture and carpets.

As a youngster, Holland listened to traditional jazz. He cited his first rock influence as Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. Later, he became interested in funk music in the vein of Booker T & the MG's, the blues rock of Free and progressive–psychedelic music of Traffic.


Early bandsEdit

In early 1965 he was with Northampton band Dorian Gray. Later that year Holland was persuaded to leave and join The Liberators who had recording and management contracts ready within a few weeks to evolve into Pinkerton's Assorted Colours, a pop band that put autoharp to good use, taking after The Loving Spoonful. In 1966 a single, "Mirror Mirror" (released 15 January 1966 on Decca, produced by future The Moody Blues producer Tony Clarke), peaked at No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart.

Finders KeepersEdit

Holland stayed with the band until August 1968, when he joined Finders Keepers, a pop cover outfit. However, Holland continued studio session work. He did not play on a 1969 No. 5 hit single "Smile a Little Smile for Me" released by the band that used to be Pinkerton's Assorted Colours under the name of The Flying Machine.

Finders Keepers, who were soon joined by Mel Galley (guitar) and Glenn Hughes (bass), recorded several singles, with some of the songs now available on various compilations. Soon afterwards the threesome joined forces with vocalist and winds player John Jones and multi-instrumentalist Terry Rowley of The Montanas fame to form a quintet called Trapeze (the band name was Terry Rowley's idea).


Trapeze appeared in the British TV show Colour Me Pop and soon was swamped with offers of recording contracts, including one from The Beatles' Apple. Trapeze, however, settled for the newly formed Threshold label, belonging to The Moody Blues members. The band would soon open for The Moodies and other well-known acts. On Threshold, the band released three records, the debut as a quintet and the rest as a power trio.

Trapeze were gaining momentum at the time, especially in the southern United States, but lost a major contributor as Glenn Hughes decided to leave the band and join Deep Purple for the recording of their Burn album.

Mel Galley and Dave Holland added a bass player and a second guitarist. Dave Holland and Mel Galley also toured as part of John Lodge (musician)Justin Hayward (of The Moody Blues fame) band The Blue Jays (Blue Jays (album)).

In 1978 Trapeze recorded their last studio LP, Running/Hold On.

Earlier on, both Galley and Holland lent a hand in the recording of Glenn Hughes' first solo album, Play Me Out, offering a unique blend of psychedelic jazz funk. Holland was assisted by Mark Nauseef on percussion.

In 1979 and 1980, Holland recorded some drum parts for Justin Hayward's solo albums, Songwriter and Night Flight.

Judas PriestEdit

Holland left Trapeze and joined Judas Priest in August 1979. He played drums on many of Judas Priest's platinum albums, such as British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of the Faith, Turbo and Ram It Down.

During the 1980s, Holland also collaborated with guitarist Robin George, as part of his band Life and on George's solo project, Dangerous Music.

In 1989, personal problems (health and family issues) and musical differences forced Holland to leave Judas Priest. He was replaced by original Saints Or Sinners drummer Scott Travis, who had also previously played in the band Racer X.

Later careerEdit

Throughout the 1990s, besides touring with briefly reformed Trapeze and filling in for various bands like The Screaming Jets during their European tours,[1] Holland gave drum clinics and private lessons, managed and produced bands such as the Swedish "teen funk trio" Shutlanger Sam (fronted by Kim Fransson who later had a solo career where he collaborated with among others hit songwriters Andreas Carlsson and Desmond Child) whom Holland introduced in person at a show with his former Trapeze bandmate Glenn Hughes in Vänersborg 1996,[2] and played on various recordings of his former mates. In 1996, he participated in sessions that involved Glenn Hughes, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath fame, and keyboardist Don Airey. In 1998, a collaboration with Al Atkins, Judas Priest's original singer, was released, featuring a few covers of early Priest songs that Holland did not originally play on. Judas Priest with Atkins at the helm had supported Trapeze in 1971.


In 2004, Holland was found guilty of attempted rape and several indecent assaults against a 17-year-old male with learning difficulties to whom he had been giving drum lessons.[3] In an interview during the criminal proceedings, Holland revealed that he was bisexual.[4] He was sentenced to eight years in prison. As a result, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi chose to replace Holland's drum parts (re-recorded by Jimmy Copley eight years later) on The 1996 DEP Sessions because he did not want a convicted sex offender appearing on his album.[5] Holland was scheduled for release in 2012 and was reportedly out by June that year.[6]

In late 2006, Holland, who had steadfastly maintained his innocence, revealed that he was in the process of writing a tell-all autobiography. Writing to biographer Neil Daniels from prison, Holland stated "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...".[7]


On 18 January 2018, management of Trapeze confirmed that Holland, who was "a very private person", had died "a few days ago", with no cause of death reported.[8][9] Initially, his death was reported to be a hoax, when Judas Priest fans confused him with a similarly-named jazz musician.[9]

On 22 January 2018, Spanish newspaper El Progreso reported that Holland had died six days earlier at Hospital Universitario Lucus Augusti in Lugo, Spain, a hospital close to A Fonsagrada, a town in the mountains where the drummer had lived at the time of his death. No cause of death was revealed, but the newspaper stated that he was already cremated.[10]


With The LiberatorsEdit

  • With them only for a few weeks, no recordings made in that time[11]. The band changed their name to Pinkerton's Assorted Colours.

With Pinkerton's Assorted ColoursEdit

  • Mirror Mirror / She don't care (single) (1965)
  • Don't stop loving me baby / Will ya? (single) (1966)
  • Magic Rocking Horse / It Ain't right (single) (1966) (as "Pinkerton's Colours")
  • Mum and dad / On a street car (single) (1967) (as "Pinkerton's Colours")
  • There's nobody I'd sooner love / Duke's Jetty (single) (1968) (as "Pinkerton's")
  • Kentucky Woman / Behind the mirror (single) (1968) (as "Pinkerton's")

With Finders KeepersEdit

  • No recordings with Finders Keepers, he was briefly in the band.

With TrapezeEdit

With Glenn HughesEdit

With Justin HaywardEdit

With Judas PriestEdit

With MarchesiEdit

  • Encrucijada (1992)

With Tony IommiEdit

  • Eighth Star (1996) (unofficial release, later in 2004 released as The 1996 DEP Sessions, with Dave Holland's drum tracks re-recorded by another drummer)

With Al AtkinsEdit


  • Personal recollections of Bob Ketchum
  • Steve Gett, Metal Mania (1984)
  • Judas Priest Tourbooks


  1. ^ "The Screaming Jets bio". Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) at the band's official site
  2. ^ "Judas Priest Info Pages – Alumni Profile". Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  3. ^ "News – Former Priest Member Convicted". Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Former JUDAS PRIEST Drummer DAVE HOLLAND: 'I Am Bisexual'". BlabberMouth.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "TONY IOMMI Erases Sex Offender From 'DEP Sessions'". BlabberMouth.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Al Atkins Interview, June 2012". Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  7. ^ 2007 Article from Archived 22 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Dave Holland of TRAPEZE & JUDAS PRIEST Fame Dies". 18 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b "R.I.P. ex-Judas Priest and Trapeze drummer Dave Holland (1948-2018)". 21 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Report: Former JUDAS PRIEST Drummer DAVE HOLLAND Dead At 69". 22 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  11. ^ Tom Long member of Liberators.