Judas Priest fans were surprised to learn that guitarist Glenn Tipton would be stepping away from touring after his announcement earlier this week, but the decision did not come easily. Tipton was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's Disease a decade ago, but has continued to maintain and perform with the band while dealing with the symptoms. But as a new album and tour cycle approaches, Tipton made the difficult decision to step away from touring, although he suggested he may return for certain shows when he feels up to it.

Speaking with Kerrang, singer Rob Halford stated, "There's been a lot of emotion today with the announcement, but we're very happy for Glenn, that he's been able to make a decision that's good for him and where he's at right now."

The singer continued, "Glenn's thing was that this was all about the band. It was the band, the band, the band. And we said, 'No, it's about what's best for you,' and he said, 'No, I want what's best for the band,' which just goes to show you where his heart is at."

The band didn't have to look far to find a fill-in for Tipton, as producer Andy Sneap, who has a history of playing guitar for Hell and Sabbat, will take over onstage.

As for Tipton's future, Halford says, "The most important thing is that Glenn is still in Judas Priest. It’s just that his role is going to be different. He can’t tour, but it’s going to be great for fans when he comes out every now and then to do 'Breaking the Law' or 'Living After Midnight.' The love that we’ve had already has been amazing, and I know when he walks onstage whenever we do that, it’s going to be something special.”

Judas Priest return to the road March 13 in support of their new Firepower album. See all of the scheduled stops here.

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