Judas Priest to tour as a four-piece as Andy Sneap departs live lineup

Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap
(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It’s been announced that Andy Sneap has left the Judas Priest live lineup in order to focus on his production work, meaning the band will continue their 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour as a quartet.

The announcement was made in a statement issued by the band, which also revealed Glenn Tipton – who stepped back from his Priestly duties after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018 – will once again be called upon to make cameo appearances throughout the tour.

Sneap, who co-produced the band’s 2018 album Firepower, was brought into the fold to replace Tipton on the album’s tour, and initially rejoined them on their run of 50th anniversary Judas Priest live shows around the US last year.

However, after the tour was postponed last September following Richie Faulkner’s onstage aortic aneurysm, it’s now been confirmed Sneap will not complete the tour, choosing instead to turn his attention back to production.

The statement also seemingly confirms the return of Faulkner, who recently issued a series of promising updates regarding his recovery, and was seen in the studio recording a guest solo for Demon Hunter.

“Hello maniacs!” said Judas Priest in their statement (via Louder). “We are chomping at the British Steel bit to return to world touring, celebrating 50 years of Judas Priest as an even more powerful, relentless four-piece heavy metal band – with Glenn coming out on stage with us here and there as before. 

“Big thanks to Andy for all you’ve done and continuing to be in the production team for our new album,” they continued. “See you all soon, headbangers!”

As such, it will be the first time the band have performed as a one-guitar four-piece since 1974 – the year in which Tipton would join Rob Halford, K.K. Downing, Ian Hill and John Hinch in the Judas Priest lineup.

If all goes according to plan, the band will continue their 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour on March 4 at the Peoria Civic Center in Illinois. 

To find out more about the 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour, head over to the Judas Priest website.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.