Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford and bassist Ian Hill have reflected on the moment guitarist Glenn Tipton told them he couldn’t carry on due to his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

They exclusively tell Classic Rock, “As we said in the statement, Glenn’s been battling with this for 10 years, he’s been touring for 10 years, writing for 10 years, recording for 10 years – and it was only until last Thursday that he came to the conclusion that it was not going to be,” says frontman Rob Halford.

He continues, “He said, and this is typically Glenn, ‘I can’t do this because it’s not right for the band. If I go out, it’s not right for the band.’ He’s always thought about the band, always thought about the band first, so we know how difficult it was for him to make that decision and I think we were all relieved that he’s been able to find some balance and harmony in making that decision.”

Bassist Ian Hill reports that they went through a similar situation with the guitarist when they were rehearsing for their Redeemer Of Souls tour four years ago and adds, “When he started then, he was shaky, but, as we went through, he was getting better every day.”

He continues, “At the end of the second week, he was ready to go. He put in a superb performance on the last tour, and we were all hoping that was going to happen again. But after the first week, it was obvious to all of us that it wasn’t getting any better.

But Glenn being Glenn, he’s nothing if he’s not a scrapper. He will fight tooth and nail to make it happen and in the middle of last week, in the middle of rehearsals, he had to admit it. We were all hearing this and we were living it with him. We felt every note.

He came in and he made the bravest decision anybody will ever make, saying, ‘I can’t do it any more.’ There wasn’t a dry eye in the control room where we were sitting at the time.

It’s not like he’s been stupid and fell off his motorbike or got whacked out on some drug – it’s not a stupid decision he’s made, he just can’t do it. He said, ‘Guys, my brain is telling my hands to do something and they’re not doing it’ and he had to admit that to himself as well as us.”

Hill confirms that the band will be taking Tipton’s equipment on the road with them so he can join them onstage for some songs, and adds, “When he was doing the album he was fine – he was okay for 10 minutes or so to run through a song. But standing there for two hours and after a while you can see he’s got no stamina there.

But who knows? Strides are being made in medical science all the time, so we’re all hoping and praying that somewhere along the line somebody comes up with something that at least controls his symptoms if nothing else, so he can get out and at least play through a few songs with us on stage.”

Firepower will launch on March 9th through Columbia Records, with tour dates set to commence from mid-March.

source: Classic Rock via teamrock.com

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  • shannon mehaffey on

    I knew Glenn was on the new record…there’s people saying Sneap and Richie did all the guitars…NO WAY, for one, I can tell when it’s Glenn taking the solo, and another…Glenn is too committed to give up that much control in the studio.

    I’ve just been thinking about how much Priest has been a part of my life…how much we used to look forward to the new Priest, it was like they gave us a reason to live.

    • Rattlehead on

      Shannon, I feel the same way about Priest. Unleashed in the East was my first Priest album. I bought it only cuz I thought the live shot on the cover looked cool. Victim of Changes, Exciter, and Sinner were my favorite songs. I still remember my friends and I couldn’t wait an extra day for our local record shop to get Defenders of the Faith, so we drove 30 miles in the rain to buy it at Tower Records, which had it available on it’s Release Date.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      That’s awesome Rattlehead, I remember seeing that Unleashed cover when I was 12 and those one word, aggressive, song titles, and being somewhat freaked out by them…plus, they weren’t Kiss or Van Halen, or Foreigner…then, about three years later, this kid down the street from me had British Steel recorded on a blank cassette, spelled Judas Preist..with side two on first (for the longest time I thought “Living After Midnight” was the first song, etc.) I played that tape so much, I never gave it back to him…..I had a subscription to Circus and they said the new record was in the mold of Steel…with Tipton in there defending Point of Entry despite it’s disappointing sales (I hadn’t heard it yet)…So, I see the ad for Screaming in Circus, “white hot guitars, screaming vocals…” …I made some money doing yard work, and took the city bus across town to buy it….I got home, and that inner sleeve shot I thought was the coolest band shot you could ever dream up….then I put it on, with the headphones…after “The Hellion/Electric Eye” finished, I took the needle off the turntable and just sat there…I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard…it was such a huge step forward from British Steel, I was just stunned. When Defenders came out I got that and the kids I knew that were cool, we played that record for one entire day over and over again. We debated if it was as good as Screaming, I wasn’t sure, but this other kid, who was a really good guitar player, said it was their best since Unleashed..lol….

    • Rattlehead on

      Great memories, Shannon! Thanks for sharing. Personally, I like Screaming better than Defenders. On Screaming, I think the collection of songs are a little more aggressive and I think the guitar tones sound a little better.

  • Taskerofpuppets on

    I like how the Band is sharing this info with us. Positive vibes to Glenn and Co. ” Grindeerrrrrr”

  • Keith G on

    You really have to feel for Glen in making this decision. Judas Priest has been his life for so long, it had to be so hard to finally have to tell your band mates that you just can’t do it anymore. I love Judas Priest, as they have been one of the pillars of my musical life since the first time I heard UNLEASHED IN THE EAST. But I hope that, after this tour for their new album, they close up shop and leave the stage for good. Judas Priest with out Glen Tipton is NOT Judas Priest! It would be a Rob Halford solo band! Rob should reform Halford and maybe bring Ian Hill into that band, if they want to keep going. Just don’t ruin Priest’s reputation by going out as Judas Priest with TWO new guitar players. Richie F. has done a terrific job filling in for KK, but that situation was different in that KK voluntarily left the band. Glen is being forced out due to health reasons. It’s not the same. Priest has always been about Rob, Glen, and KK (no disrespect to Ian). You can’t take two of those three out of the equation and still have Judas Priest. It’s time to call it a day!

  • Doug on

    “Shannon,” loved your Priest story. Man, that is what its all about. We all have our personal stories about hard rock and heavy metal. My first exposure to Priest was “Stained Class,” just mean riffs! And to “Keith G.” you cannot ever leave out Ian Hill. He’s been there forever riding that E string!!

  • shannon mehaffey on

    Thanks Doug, and I agree 100% about Ian Hill. He’s the best in the business actually. If you want to hear him stretch out more, it’s on Demolition.

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