Judas Priest's Glenn Tipton Won't Tour Due To Parkinson's

Judas Priest announced Monday that longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton won’t be part of the band’s upcoming Firepower Tour due to his battle with Parkinson’s 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,” the 70-year-old explained, in a statement. “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.”

Tipton, who joined Judas Priest in 1974, was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s a decade ago.

Andy Sneap, who produced Firepower, will step into his spot as tour guitarist.

In a statement, Judas Priest said: "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.

"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 added: “We also can't wait to have him with us at any time any place on the road.”

Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford told Kerrang! that fans need to know Tipton is still part of the group. “He can’t tour, but it’s going to be great for fans when he comes out every now and then to do ‘Breaking The Law’ or ‘Living After Midnight.’ The love that we’ve had already has been amazing, and I know when he walks onstage whenever we do that, it’s going to be something special.”

The Firepower Tour includes stops in Ottawa on March 25, London on March 27, Oshawa on March 28 and Orillia on March 30.