In a brand new interview with the Detroit Metro Times, JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill spoke about the health status of guitarist Glenn Tipton, who revealed in February that he has Parkinson's disease. "We've known for a while," Ian said. "He was diagnosed before the ['Redeemer Of Souls'] tour, actually. And of course, when we rehearsed for the last tour, he was very rough to start. But as the days went on, he got better and better, so by the time we were done rehearsing, he was raring to go. And we were expecting the same thing to happen this time around, and, unfortunately, it didn't, you know? He had to admit to himself that his body wasn't going to let him do it anymore. It was a very sad moment. We could all see it. He was trying and trying and fighting."
He continued: "I can't imagine what he's going through, I really can't. It's not as if he's been stupid and fallen off a motorcycle or whacked out on drugs or something like that. It's something completely out of his control. Having said that, he's as good as anyone can be given the situation. Glenn is out with us most of the time, anyway. And when he's feeling well enough, he'll get on stage, and I can't promise anything, but he'll get up and do the encores with us."
Tipton found out he had Parkinson's four years ago — after being stricken by the degenerative condition at least half a decade earlier — but only recently announced he was going to sit out touring activities in support of PRIEST's latest album, "Firepower". The guitarist, who is now 70 and has performed on every PRIEST LP since the band's 1974 debut set, "Rocka Rolla", is not quitting the band, but simply cannot handle the rigorous challenges of performing live. He is being replaced on tour by "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap, also known for his work as the guitar player in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.
PRIEST singer Rob Halford revealed in a recent interview that the band is planning to mark its 50th anniversary in 2019 with a special celebration, although he declined to offer any details.
Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then returned to PRIEST in 2003. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Richie Faulkner.
PRIEST has just returned to the United States for a co-headlining run with fellow classic heavy rockers DEEP PURPLE.