JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner has confirmed to Metal Kaoz that the band is is planning to mark the band's 50th anniversary in 2019 with a special celebration. His comments come less than a month after singer Rob Halford said that PRIEST was having discussions with the group's management and label about how to commemorate this "incredible milestone."
Asked if the 50th-anniversary celebration will be mostly about touring or re-releases, Faulkner told Metal Kaos: "Obviously, I do have some idea of what is being talked about, but it is at the very early stages at the moment and I do not want to give anything away. But, as Rob said, this is a fantastic milestone for the band and, again, the fans have put PRIEST there for all this time. This acknowledges the fans more than anything, so it will be all about giving back to them — an event that the fans will really remember. It is in progress, and we are talking about what we want to do, but in true JUDAS PRIEST fashion, it is going to be something everyone will remember. We want to give back to the fans because, as I said, they have put the band there for nearly 50 years and they are still coming to the shows, they still love the band, so, yeah, it will be something special."
Bassist Ian Hill is the sole remaining original member of JUDAS PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and guitarist Glenn 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 Faulkner.
A month before the start of PRIEST's "Firepower" tour, Tipton bowed out due to the worsening of his Parkinson's disease, first diagnosed four years ago (after being stricken by the degenerative condition at least half a decade earlier). His spot in the band is being filled by "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap.
PRIEST returned to the United States last month for a co-headlining run with fellow classic heavy rockers DEEP PURPLE.