During a recent interview with BUILD Series, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Glenn Tipton — who revealed in February that he has Parkinson's disease — discussed joining the band on stage during a March 20 concert in Newark, New Jersey, his first public performance since announcing his retirement from touring. "It's just amazing to get, first of all, support from the band," Glenn said. "The texts and e-mails from all over world, and to hear the audience was very emotional. You don't like to see a grown man cry, but we did."
Tipton also discussed the group's new album, "Firepower", and their decision to work with two producers — Tom Allom, who previously produced seven classic PRIEST studio albums, and Andy Sneap, who has since gone on to join the band as a touring guitarist. "It just worked beautifully," he said. "Right from the word go, it was great. It could have been a case of too many cooks, but it wasn't. They just hit it off straightaway. [It] was the most enjoyable album we've ever recorded. The vibe and everything was just great."
Although he no longer tours with JUDAS PRIEST, Tipton recalled the pain of assembling the group's live set lists. "It's very difficult," he said. "It's one of the most difficult things to do, because you name any track and you leave it out, and you disappoint somebody. We try and just give a good representation across the board of where the band's at, where we've been and where we're going. You can soon tell if the order is wrong or what one sticks out like a sore thumb. It's just experimentation. Then when we get a new album out, some of the old favorites have to go as well for the new songs. It just happens — it evolves. That's all I can say. You never really get it right. That's why you usually have to make some tweaks [after] the first few shows."
Tipton also touched on the fact that, throughout JUDAS PRIEST's fifty-year history, the group has never shied away from being described as heavy metal. "There was a period in time where a lot of bands dropped the tag 'heavy metal' because they thought it was unfashionable. We've always been proud to be a heavy metal band," he said. "If you consider tracks like 'Eat Me Alive' and 'Last Rose Of Summer', the difference couldn't be more extreme, but it's still to us heavy metal, it's still JUDAS PRIEST-style heavy metal. It can be what you want it to be. There's no rules. That's how we always looked at it. If there are rules, they can be broken. We're proud that we're a heavy metal band, and we've flown the flag for years as a heavy metal band and always will."
Tipton joined JUDAS PRIEST in Newark during the group's three-song encore, featuring the tracks "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".
JUDAS PRIEST kicked off the "Firepower" world tour on March 13 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
"Firepower" was released on March 9 via Epic.
The North American leg of the "Firepower" tour will wrap on May 1 in San Antonio, Texas.