Judas Priest revealed that they’ll be hitting the road as a four piece this time out, according to Loudersound.com. The band’s touring guitarist and co-producer Andy Sneap will sit things out to focus on studio work. Guitarist Glenn Tipton, who’s retired from the road due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease, will make periodic appearances with the band. The upcoming dates mark the first time the band has tour as a quartet since 1974.
Amazingly, guitarist Richie Faulkner, who suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection while playing onstage last year during Kentucky’s Louder Than Life festival is back in top shape on set to be on board when Priest launches its North American trek on March 4th in Peoria, Illinois with Queensryche.
Judas Priest said in a statement:
Hello maniacs! We are chomping at the British Steel bit to return to world touring… celebrating 50 years of Judas Priest as an 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… See you all soon headbangers!
Andy Sneap told Blabbermouth the decision for the band to tour without him came out of the blue: “Rob (Halford) called me last Monday and said they wanted to move on as a four-piece, which I find incredibly disappointing after this amount of time but I respect his decision as they obviously have a vision how they want this to play out. This always was a temporary situation, and like I’ve said before, I’ll always help the band any way I can, and that applies going forward also.”
He went on to say, “I’ve been a huge fan of the band since the early ’80s and it was mind-blowing to play onstage with the guys and quite frankly terrifying in the beginning at such short notice. We are moving forward with the new album next month and look forward to making a killer follow-up to Firepower.” (Blabbermouth)
Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford told us that an unexplainable transition occurs prior to him hitting the stage, which turns from soft-spoken, mild mannered man offstage to “Metal God” by showtime: “Something happens — I don’t know what it is. It’s kind of intangible. It’s probably best left unanalyzed, because it might be (laughs) too scary to find out what the hell’s going on. I know that something takes over — that’s just the full extent of the passion that I have for my music, and the fact that to some extent, it’s always been my therapy.”