Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton is retiring from touring due to Parkinson’s disease. Tipton, who is now 70 and has performed on every Priest album since the band’s 1974’s debut set, Rocka Rolla, is not quitting the band, but simply cannot handle to rigorous challenges of performing live. Joining Priest for its upcoming dates will be their co-producer and Hell guitarist Andy Sneap.
Glenn Tipton and Judas Priest issued an official statement, which reads:
Ten years ago Glenn was diagnosed to have the onset of the early stages of Parkinson’s — from then until recently Glenn has lived his life as the great heavy metal guitar player he has always been, maintaining by his own definition a standard of quality and performance that is incredibly important. Right now Glenn is able to play and perform some of the Priest songs that are less challenging but due to the nature of Parkinson’s progression he wants to let you all know that he won’t be touring as such. True to the metal spirit of ‘the show must go on’ Glenn has requested Andy Sneap to fly the flag on stage for him.
(Glenn Tipton said): “I want everyone to know that it’s vital that the Judas Priest tour go ahead and that I am not leaving the band — it’s simply that my role has changed. I don’t rule out the chance to go on stage as and when I feel able to blast out some Priest! So at some point in the not too distant future I’m really looking forward to seeing all of our wonderful metal maniacs once again.”
Rob, Richie, Ian and Scott have this to say: “We have been privileged to witness Glenn’s determination and steadfast commitment over the years, showing his passion and self belief through the writing, recording and performing sessions with Priest — he is a true metal hero! We are not surprised by Glenn’s insistence that we complete the Firepower tour and thank Andy for joining us to make Glenn’s wishes become real – as Glenn has said we also can’t wait to have him with us at any time any place on the road….. We love you Glenn!”
Rob Halford spoke with Kerrang.com and shed light on the news about Tipton, saying, “There’s been a lot of emotion today with the announcement. But we’re very happy for Glenn, that he’s been able to make a decision that’s good for him and where he’s at right now. Glenn’s thing was that this was all about the band. It was the band, the band, the band. And we said, ‘No, it’s about what’s best for you,’ and he said, ‘No, I want what’s best for the band.’ Which just goes to show you where his heart is at.”
- Halford went on to say: “The most important thing is that Glenn is still in Judas Priest. It’s just that his role is going to be different. He can’t tour, but it’s going to be great for fans when he comes out every now and then to do ‘Breaking The Law’ or ‘Living After Midnight.’ The love that we’ve had already has been amazing, and I know when he walks onstage whenever we do that, it’s going to be something special.”
- Not too long ago, Glenn Tipton told us that paying attention to new music has always helped Priest keep their sound fresh: [“Every day you listen to new music and without knowing it, if you pay tribute and respect to the younger bands, y’know, you’re listening and learning from them. You’re a fool if you don’t keep your ear to the ground. Everybody in this band is aware of what’s going on, and we’ve sort of never let the sands of time cover us over. We’ve always moved on. We’ve always been aware of what’s going on around us.”] SOUNDCUE (:20 OC: . . . on around us)
- Judas Priest next performs on March 13th at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania’s Mohegan Sun Arena At Casey Plaza.
- Five days later, on March 18th, the band will release its 18th studio set, Firepower.