Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton has announced that he is to quit touring due to Parkinson’s disease.
Tipton, 70, joined the heavy metal band in 1974, shortly before they released their debut album ‘Rocka Rolla’.
A statement from the group reveals that Tipton was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s a decade ago but has now decided to go public with the news.
“Ten years ago Glenn was diagnosed to have the onset of the early stages of Parkinson’s,” the band say in a statement. “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 touring as such.”
Tipton himself adds: “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.”
It has also been revealed that Tipton has requested that guitarist Andy Sneap, who produced the band’s latest album ‘Firepower’, replaces him live.
“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 have said.
“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.”
Judas Priest release their 18th album ‘Firepower’ in March.