JUDAS PRIEST Announces Farewell 'Epitaph' Tour

After storming the world for nearly 40 years and taking its very special brand of heavy metal to all four corners of the planet, JUDAS PRIEST — one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time — has announced plans to embark on a final world tour. However, the mighty PRIEST will certainly be going out strong as it rocks the planet starting in 2011 on the massive "Epitaph" trek — hitting all the major cities throughout the world where it will play the songs that helped make the name JUDAS PRIEST synonymous with heavy metal.

With all guns blazing and amps cranked to eleven, the band will be giving all its fans one last chance to witness the ultimate metal experience that is JUDAS PRIEST!

JUDAS PRIEST will be starting its world tour in Europe and has just confirmed the following festivals for 2011:

Jun. 09 - Sweden Rock Festival, Sölvesborg, Sweden
Jun. 11 - Sauna Open Air, Tampere, Finland
Jun. 17 - Copenhell, Copenhagen, Denmark
Jun. 19 - Hellfest, Clisson, France
Jun. 22 - Gods of Metal, Milan, Italy
Jun. 25 - Graspop Metal Meeting, Dessel, Belgium
Jul. 23 - High Voltage, London, UK
Aug. 05 - Wacken Open Air, Wacken, Germany

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Singer Rob Halford told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that PRIEST wouldn't have sustained such a lengthy career without the support of their fans. "It's an ongoing metal love affair that's been solid and kept us going and motivated, quite frankly," he said. "Bands don't exist without the people that support them, and so it is with PRIEST, you know? Without our fans we're nothing, so we love our fans dearly, and we do as much as we can to keep that bond strong and solid."

The earliest version of JUDAS PRIEST was formed in 1969 in Birmingham, England by bassist Ian Hill and guitarist K.K. Downing.

Halford joined in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton joined a year later, completing the core lineup of the band for most of its career.

The group released seven albums between 1974 and 1980, finally hitting it big with 1979's concert set, "Unleashed In The East", and its 1980 studio follow-up, "British Steel".

Halford left the group for a 11-year period between 1992 and 2003, with Tim "Ripper" Owens taking over on vocals for two studio albums and a live set. Halford returned in 2003.

JUDAS PRIEST has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and is considered by many to be the second most influential heavy metal band after BLACK SABBATH.

Halford almost singlehandedly established the "leather and studs" look that became synonymous with metal music for years, while Tipton and Downing established the "twin lead guitarists" sound emulated by countless heavy rock acts.

JUDAS PRIEST was honored in the "Best Metal Performance" category at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, which was held on January 31, 2010 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. PRIEST was nominated for the track "Dissident Aggressor", from the band's 2009 live album "A Touch of Evil: Live". Halford and the band's drummer, Scott Travis, accepted the award at the event.

In his acceptance speech, Halford said, "The fifth time is the charm," referring to the fact PRIEST had been nominated four previous times and gone home without the award every time. He mentioned that PRIEST have been making metal for 35 years and that they still love what they do. He also remembered to thank all the radio stations and press that have supported the band, and he dedicated the award to all heavy metal fans.

In a 2008 interview, Hill stated about being part of a band that has defined a genre and spawned countless imitators, "We are very proud of what we have achieved. When I formed this band way back in 1970 I had no grand plan. K.K. Downing [guitar] and I were just mates from school that wanted to play some music. We have a great family among us and like family we have our good and bad days, but without sounding nostalgic, yeah, it's pretty cool what we have achieved."

JUDAS PRIEST's most recent double-disc concept album, "Nostradamus", sold 42,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 11 on The Billboard 200 chart. This marked the band's highest-ever chart position in the U.S. In Canada, the CD opened at position No. 9 after shifting close to 4,000 units.

JUDAS PRIEST's previous studio CD, "Angel of Retribution", premiered with 58,000 copies in the U.S. back in March 2005 to debut at No. 13.

When asked about the varied reaction from JUDAS PRIEST fans to "Nostradamus", Halford stated in a 2008 interview, "The reaction has been very kind of mixed and diverse — very passionate responses. There are some PRIEST fans that only want 'Painkiller', 'Painkiller', 'Painkiller', which is fine. If you want to listen to 'Painkiller', throw it in your CD player. But I think, in terms of achievement, this is something we've always wanted to do. We've often talked about making a concept record, but it took until now to personally have the strong structure of an idea — in Nostradamus — and secondly have enough time to disappear into the recording/writing realm through almost a two-year period. But it's done now, and we feel very satisfied — we're proud of what we've achieved — and it's out there around the world settling into the psyche of everyone. My gut feeling tells me that in two, three, five years from now, the light will go on and people will go, 'Oh yeah. I've got it. I understand what this is all about now.' We're all about music. Some of it is instant; some of it takes awhile [to connect with the listener] . That's the joy of listening to music in all the ways that we do."

JUDAS PRIEST's "A Touch of Evil: Live" live album sold around 5,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 87 on The Billboard 200 chart.

PRIEST chose 10 songs not previously released in live album form for "A Touch of Evil: Live", which was released in July 2009, in the midst of the band's U.S. summer tour.

"A Touch of Evil" included live renderings of longtime fan favorites such as "Painkiller", "Dissident Aggressor", "Riding on the Wind", "Between the Hammer & the Anvil" and "Eat Me Alive", as well as "Hellrider" from "Angel of Retribution", the group's 2004 reunion album with frontman Rob Halford, and two tracks — "Death" and "Prophecy" — from 2008's rock opera "Nostradamus".

Recorded by Martin Walker and Brian Thorene during JUDAS PRIEST's mammoth 2005 and 2008 world tours, "A Touch Of Evil: Live" marked the first PRIEST album that producer Tom Allom has worked on since 1988 (co-producing along with the band). It was such Allom-produced albums as "Unleashed In The East", as well as "British Steel" and "Screaming For Vengeance" (among others) that made PRIEST not only one of the premier metal acts, but one of the leading global rock acts.

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