It was announced that long time Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Tipton’s place onstage will be taken by Andy Sneap, who co-produced the band’s upcoming Firepower album and has a lengthy discography, both as a producer and a musician.
The British-born, 48-year-old Sneap got his start as a founding member of Sabbat, who released three albums from 1988 and 1991. After their breakup, he built Backstage Recording Studio in his native Derbyshire so that he could make demos and record local bands. His expertise behind the board — as an engineer, mixer and producer — soon attracted the attention of such established metal acts as Exodus, Napalm Death and Machine Head. In 2001, the studio expanded to a 15-acre residential farm. Sneap would go on to produce albums by Megadeth (United Abominations), Accept (Blood of the Nations, Stalingrad, Blind Rage) and Testament (Dark Roots of Earth).
Sneap joined a reunited Hell in 2008, more than 20 years after the death of guitarist Dave Haliday, who taught Sneap to play guitar when they were growing up together. “Unfortunately, he never got to see where [playing guitar] took me in life and how it influenced me,” Sneap said. “But when he died, he left me all the rights to all his songs – and all his equipment. He left me everything, pretty much, in his will. I don’t know why he had faith in me, to be honest. He must’ve seen something in me, I guess.” Sneap has since recorded two albums with Hell: 2011’s Human Remains and Curse and Chapter two years later.
Judas Priest’s Official Statement:
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 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
“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!”