On Monday (Feb. 12) it was announced that longtime Judas Priest axeman Glenn Tipton, who has been battling Parkinson's Disease for the last decade, would be bowing out of the band's upcoming tour in support of their new album, Firepower. Now, Rob Halford has explained that this decision was made only a short time ago, so the band is still processing the revelation as well.

The singer told The Quietus (transcription via Blabbermouth) that Tipton had not let Parkinson's stop him from "writing, recording, touring" over the last 10 years and that "he can still play guitar." Halford noted, "We have to emphasize this as well — he can still play the guitar, but when it comes to some of the more challenging songs that Priest has written over the years and songs that, for the most part, have to be included in the set, that's when it's just becoming a little bit difficult for him."

The possibility still exists that the legendary guitarist will make onstage appearances on the road. "And I can't wait for those moments when he's gonna show up unexpectedly anywhere around the world on the Firepower tour and come and jam out 'Living After Midnight', 'Breaking The Law', those kinds of songs. It's going to be a really special moment. It could be the first show, it could be the last show — we don't know. But the joy is that Glenn is still playing and he's still with us, and he's as excited as we are to celebrate the release of Firepower," Halford continued.

"We're still kind of digesting all of this," he commented, revealing that "Glenn made the decision about not being able to full commit to the tour only last Thursday [February 8]. So we're still very much processing all of the possibilities."

Judas Priest will launch their North American tour on March 13, four days after the release of Firepower. Support will come from Saxon and Black Star Riders and you can check here for a list of all the stops.

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