JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Glenn Tipton has thanked fans for their messages of support in the four weeks since he announced that he was retiring from the road due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease. He is being replaced on tour by “Firepower” album producer Andy Sneap, also known for his work as the guitar player in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.
Said Tipton: “By now, many of you will know I won’t be doing the forthcoming JUDAS PRIEST tour because of health issues. I’m so sorry, but four years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and was told by my specialist that I had already had it for over ten years. I knew something was wrong with my co-ordination and fluency regarding my playing, but I worked around it and battled on. I have good days and bad days, but the disease is degenerative and I would never want to compromise the greatest metal band in the world. It was therefore during the last rehearsals I decided to step down and have Andy Sneap fill in. He’s a great guy and I’m sure he’ll do a great job. I’m sure the band will be as strong than ever.
“I have been overwhelmed by the massive support and love I’ve had from other artists and from fans all over the world and from many friends and metal maniacs out there. It’s not the end for me — I’ll still be able to write and record and on good days even join the band on stage for a few songs. With new medication and advances being made, who knows what the future holds, but one thing’s for sure: it will certainly involve PRIEST!
“Finally, the biggest thanks goes to Rob, Richie, Ian and Scott who have stood by me and supported me through everything.”
JUDAS PRIEST kicked off the “Firepower” world tour Tuesday night (March 13) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
“Firepower” was released on March 9 via Epic. The follow-up to 2014’s “Redeemer Of Souls” was recorded by Sneap, the band’s longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). The cover artwork for “Firepower” was created by the Chilean/Italian artist Claudio Bergamin.
The North American leg of the “Firepower” tour will wrap on May 1 in San Antonio, Texas.