JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill says that Glenn Tipton "made the bravest decision anybody will ever make" by bowing out of JUDAS PRIEST's upcoming tour as a result of his battle with Parkinson's disease.
The guitarist, who is now 70 and has performed on every PRIEST album since the band's 1974's debut set, "Rocka Rolla", is not quitting the band, but simply cannot handle the rigorous challenges of performing live. Joining PRIEST for its upcoming dates will be the band's co-producer and HELL/ex-SABBAT guitarist Andy Sneap.
According to Hill, Tipton faced a similar situation when the guitarist was rehearsing with his bandmates for PRIEST's "Redeemer Of Souls" tour back in 2014. "When he started then, he was shaky, but, as we went through, he was getting better every day," Ian told TeamRock.com. "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."
On Thursday, February 8, Tipton, who was diagnosed with the onset of the early stages of Parkinson's disease a decade ago, "came in and he made the bravest decision anybody will ever make, saying, 'I can't do it any more,'" Hill recalled. "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," the bassist continued. "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."
Parkinson's is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects the body's motor system, often causing shaking. As the symptoms worsen, it gets harder to cope with everyday tasks and lead an independent life.
Pat Torpey, the longtime drummer for rock group MR. BIG, died last week due to complications from Parkinson's disease.
JUDAS PRIEST's new album, "Firepower", will be released on March 9 via Epic. The disc was recorded by Sneap, the band's longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). The cover artwork for "Firepower" was created by the Chilean/Italian digital artist and photographer Claudio Bergamin.
The North American leg of the "Firepower" tour will kick off on March 13 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and will wrap on May 1 in San Antonio, Texas. Support on the trek will come from SAXON and BLACK STAR RIDERS.