Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton has announced that he will not join the band on their upcoming Firepower tour, due to his battle with Parkinson's disease.
Tipton—who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008—is still able to play and perform some of the less challenging songs in the Judas Priest catalog, according to a statement from the band, but has decided to step back from full-on touring to the progression of the disease.
“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," Tipton said in a statement. "I don’t rule out the chance to go on stage 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.”
Tipton personally selected Andy Sneap—who co-produced the band's new album, Firepower—to replace him for the tour.
“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," the band said in a statement.
"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!”