JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford comments on guitarist Andy Sneap and if he will continue to tour with the band
Famed producer and musician Andy Sneap was brought in to fill the role of Glenn Tipton, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
During an interview with SiriusXM‘s Ozzy’s Boneyard, Halford was asked if Sneap would continue with the band in a live sense on top of his production roles, to which he responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I think that’s the idea, yeah. Glenn comes out when he’s able. Glenn’s still be with us. Glenn’s still a very important, integral part of JUDAS PRIEST and all the decisions and moves that we make.
“This fucking Parkinson’s is horrible, the way it intrudes into your life and it takes away some of the things that made you as a person,” Rob continued. “Thank God we’ve got all these incredible things that Glenn has done. Listen to his lead break on ‘Painkiller‘, listen to that beautiful solo in ‘Beyond The Realms Of Death‘ and more. Glenn’s mark is indelible in JUDAS PRIEST music as a lead guitar player and a rhythm guitar player.
“So, yeah, we’ve agreed that because the fans are so loving and supportive of taking Glenn’s idea, which is, ‘I wanna put Andy on that spot, on the stage where I’ve stood for decades, and Andy will be doing the work that needs to be done for me,’ that’s just really powerful, man. That’s so much love. And that really is Glenn’s love for this band in wanting this band to continue.
“So, yeah, we’ve agreed that Andy will still be with us as we go out again, and that’s great, man,” Halford added. “That makes the great work he’s done with us since he stepped in at the beginning of where we are in PRIEST now, and it worked — it worked. The fans love him. He does great work on stage. He’s committed. He loves this band… He’s doing very important work.”
Early last year, JUDAS PRIEST released a statement saying they had planned to resume their “50 Heavy Metal Years” tour as “an even more powerful, relentless four-piece heavy metal band.” Sneap went on to release a statement saying he was disappointed with the decision, with JUDAS PRIEST fans expressing their sadness over the loss of the band’s classic twin-guitar sound.
JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill was asked by The Aquarian Weekly why the group reversed their decision to remove Sneap from their touring lineup, to which he replied: “When it became apparent that Glenn Tipton wasn’t going to be able to do the ‘Firepower‘ tour [in 2018], the first thing that Rob said was, ‘Well, we’ll carry on as a four-piece. We started out as a four-piece, so we can do it again,'” Hill recalled. “I’m a pragmatist, I see positives in most things, so at first I thought, ‘Yeah, it’ll work.’ Then, when you start to think, you’re, like, ‘No. Really, all of our success is gained from the two guitars.’
“We decided to get Andy Sneap involved for that tour [in 2018],” Ian continued. “Andy was the perfect choice. He had just produced ‘Firepower‘, so he knew all the new songs we’d be playing. He was a fan of the band, as well, so he knew all the old stuff. He was the perfect choice. Then suddenly, Rob gets the idea to do the four-piece thing again. He rang Andy up and told him. Andy was fine about it. But then we thought, ‘There’s been some [fan] comments and if we do it at all, this probably isn’t the time.’ So, we had a quick U-turn and asked Andy if he’d do it again. Thank goodness he said yes.”
In mid-January of 2022, JUDAS PRIEST released a statement announcing that they were reversing their decision to tour without Sneap in the second guitar role, stating they had “decided unanimously” to continue with their dual six-string attack.
In February of 2022, Rob Halford revealed to Billboard that JUDAS PRIEST‘s plan to continue their 50th-anniversary tour as a four-piece was his idea. “Of course, that blew up in my face, didn’t it?” he said. “To have done something like a four-piece now would’ve been just not right, ridiculous, insane, crazy, off my rocker, have a cup of tea and relax. It’s kind of water under the bridge now. I think my heart was in the right place, but I’m not the first musician to have a crazy idea.”
Andy Sneap began touring with JUDAS PRIEST five years ago after Glenn Tipton made the announcement in early 2018 that he wasn’t going to be joining the group on the road in support of “Firepower“, due to his progressive Parkinson’s disease.