Judas Priest has announced that longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton is taking a step back from touring due to his battle with Parkinson's disease. The band is scheduled to hit the road behind on their upcoming album, Firepower, in March.
A statement issued by the band says, "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."
Tipton added: “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”
The other members of Priest — singer Rob Halford, bassist Ian Hill, drummer Scott Travis and guitarist Richie Faulkner — expressed their support for Tipton in the following statement.
"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!”
Tipton follows Neil Diamond who recently announced he would immediately retire from touring due to the Parkinson's disease. Mr. Big drummer Pat Torpey passed away last Wednesday (February 7) due to complications of the disease.