JUDAS PRIEST producer and touring guitarist Andy Sneap says that the band's Parkinson's disease-suffering axeman Glenn Tipton will still be "a major part" of PRIEST's next studio album.
Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's more than six years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of PRIEST's latest album, "Firepower". He was replaced by "Firepower" co-producer Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT. On the last tour, Tipton still occasionally joined PRIEST onstage for its encores, performing "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".
Sneap discussed Tipton's health during an appearance on MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn's "No Fuckin' Regrets With Robb Flynn" podcast. He said (see video below): "It's tough, because Glenn's a good friend now, after working with him for a few years. They're all good friends, actually. But seeing what the guy is going through, and he's so determined. I'll see him sat in the studio, and he'll be struggling, if I'm honest, but he's so determined. And it must be so frustrating for him, someone who's lived his whole life for JUDAS PRIEST — 50 years. It's a rotten thing to actually happen to anyone, but to happen to a guitarist of his caliber…"
According to Sneap, Tipton is "still very much part of JUDAS PRIEST" and will be "involved with the songwriting" for the follow-up to "Firepower". "Even if we have to piece bits together, he's still gonna be a major part of it," he said. "It's just the physical aspect of him going up there and doing it. And especially with what's happening now in the world, it's just not something you can consider at the moment."
Sneap added: "I don't know where it's gonna go in the future. It's a case of just see what turns out, really."
This past June, PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner said it is likely the band's next album will be once again produced by Sneap and Tom Allom.
Allom and Sneap worked on "Firepower", which was the band's second LP to feature Faulkner, who was selected to fill the void left by founding guitarist K.K. Downing following his exit in 2011.
"Firepower" entered the Billboard 200 chart at position No. 5, making it PRIEST's highest-charting album ever. "Redeemer Of Souls" debuted and peaked at No. 6, while 2008's "Nostradamus" landed at No. 11 and 2005's "Angel Of Retribution" came in at No. 13.
"Firepower" moved 49,000 equivalent album units in first week of release. Of that sum, 48,000 were in traditional album sales, just shy of the 54,000 copies sold by "Angel Of Retribution" in that album's first week. The "Firepower" chart position was bolstered by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer in association with the band's spring 2018 North American tour.