JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke to Rolling Stone about the band's plans for a 50th-anniversary tour, which is expected to launch next spring/summer.
"I've been feverishly working over the last few weeks and months with our stage designers to make something very, very special," he said. "We're gonna go deep, deep, deep into the catalogue and try to find songs that we've never played before and wrap it up into the history of PRIEST and the 50th anniversary. The official PRIEST 50th spectacular starts next year. So it's gonna be a great show. We've got some really big surprises and it's gonna be a wonderful celebration of PRIEST and British heavy metal."
Bassist Ian Hill recently told Austin Chronicle about JUDAS PRIEST's plans to mark the half-century milestone: "Technically, the 50th anniversary is this year, but we weren't called JUDAS PRIEST until 1970, so we thought we'd leave it till next year. There's a few ideas in the pipeline, but nothing solid yet, apart from the fact that we will tour."
Hill, who is the sole remaining original member of JUDAS PRIEST, was asked whether he feels like the last man standing in the band. "Em, not really, only when people mention it," he laughed. "I mean Rob, obviously, and Glenn [Tipton, guitar] still counts as well, although he's not doing a great deal of live work. He's always there, and of course Scott [Travis, drums] has been with us since 1989. And even Richie Faulker [guitar], this is his ninth year. So, it's a fluid current, if you know what I mean. So, no, I don't feel like the last man standing, or anything like that."
Halford said last fall that PRIEST was having discussions with the group's management and label about how to commemorate the band's 50th anniversary, which he called an "incredible milestone." A short time later, Faulkner told Metal Kaos that the 50th-anniversary tour will be "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."
Halford joined JUDAS PRIEST 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 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 five 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.
Downing said in October 2018 that all of PRIEST's living former and current members should be involved in the group's upcoming 50th-anniversary celebration.