Judas Priest have issued the following 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  [guitarist/producer] Andy [Sneap] for all you’ve done and continuing to be in the production team for our new album… See you all soon headbangers!”

Bassist Ian Hill is the only remaining original member of the band, which formed in 1969. Singer Rob Halford joined the group in 1973 and Tipton signed on in 1974. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Richie Faulkner.

Sneap will reportedly focus on production work.

Judas Priest are scheduled to return to the road for their 50 Heavy Metal Years, with special guests, Queenrÿche. The tour is set to begin on March 4th in Peoria, Illinois and wind down on April 13th in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

To see Priest’s entire 50 Heavy Metal Years itinerary, please click here.

19 Responses

  1. This is terrible news! Jusas Priest is a band fueled by a twin guitar attack…….bring back KK Downing to have a real 50th Celebration for Judas Priest.

    Or how about gutting Janick Gers….he’s a surplus, throwaway third guitarist in Iron Maiden, anyway….

    1. Brilliant idea to send Janick over to Priest. Why the can’t they workout things with KK who appears to be healthy & capable of playing in his band.

      I figure they’ll use backing tracks of Titpton live anyway. I won’t be going to this show and I’m glad I didn’t get tickets ahead of time.

    2. Maybe Priest can get Tommy Thayer as a guitarist….Thayer has experience impersonating other guitarists, maybe he can impersonate KK, Tipton, or Sneap….or maybe even all three!

    3. I’m curious as to why Gers gets such cold feelings toward him…? I get it, Dave Murray is incredible, Adrian Smith is a hell of a rock solid player. I have been going to Maiden shows since 84, and the addition of Janick, to me, worked and still works nicely for the chemistry of the band. The band likes him as a mate, he’s a great player and showman. It’s not like he replaced Dave. I’m just wondering why fans bag on him.

    4. Mr. Rock and Roll,

      I am not sure if that question was posed to me or others?

      I am not a Maiden fan, so I cannot answer the question. To each their own, but I do find his onstage moves, quite silly, and in my opinion, does not seem to co-exist properly with the Maiden sound nor their image.

    5. Mr. R&R, as a Maiden fan since 1980, I can’t stand Janick’s stage prancing. Maiden is a metal band, and there is nothing “metal” about his prancing. Also, while a talented player from the “Richie Blackmore school”, his live playing is sloppy. For other Maiden fans, it could be that Janick is associated with Maiden’s least popular era and he replaced a ‘classic’ member, and many people don’t like change.

      Janick seems like a good dude and he seems to get along with the other band members. But, personally, I think he remains a Maiden band member, even after Adrian Smith’s return, cuz of his history with Bruce Dickinson, Maiden, and cuz the band members simply like Janick and they’re giving their bloke a gig.

    6. Rattlehead: Regarding your Tommy Thayer comment, I thought Priest had already done that when Richie Faulkner replaced KK Downing.

  2. NOT a good decision, IMO. I saw Priest with Sneap on the Firepower tour and I thought he was good, a steady rhythm guitarist to Richie’s lead stature. Priest is a two-lead guitar attack, it’s their sound, going with just one will be less powerful. Richie on lead, all you are gonna hear is Ian’s bass pounding away. I know everyone will be clamoring for KK, but I doubt that will ever happen. Go get another Sneap to fill the void.

  3. Completely ridiculous, priest has a 2 guitar attack ,that’s their core sound – whoever is running this band should be fired , priest needs KK Downing , and they need him now – let us pray ….

  4. Considering the twin-guitars is part of their trademark sound, I’m curious what’s the real reason to tour as a four-piece. Sneap is a fine musician/producer and the band, at least for the record, seem to still get along with him. I have to wonder if this decision is nothing more than a financial one…

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