Living legend Glenn Tipton has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Tipton is the longtime guitarist for the highly inspirational heavy metal band Judas Priest. On Monday the band confirmed the status of the guitar players illness on their website.
The band also included on their website that Tipton has been living with the early stages of the disease for the last decade but the severity of his illness has forced him to skip the bands upcoming tour. Seasoned producer Andy Sneap will fill in for Tipton.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system.
The 70 year old from Blackheath, England joined Judas Priest in 1974 during the recording process for Rocka Rolla. He quickly inserted his diverse style into the songs and his inspirations on the band.
His metal guitar playing shined on the bands 1980 breakthrough album British Steel as it combined heavy riffs with commercial hooks that influenced a generation of guitar players.
Some of Tipton’s best work can be heard on songs such as “Tyrant”, “The Ripper”, “Epitaph” and “Dreamer Deceiver.” Tipton is known for his double lead guitar trades with former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing. His classically influenced style gives him one of the more unique guitar playing styles in the metal genre’s rich history.
Tipton’s solos are melodic and feature techniques such as sweep-picking arpeggios, legato picking and classic hammer-ons and pull-offs. He often uses speed over precision during his solos which sometimes makes them difficult to transcribe.
“It’s simply that my role has changed. I don’t rule out the chance to go on stage as and when I feel able to blast out some Priest! So at some point in the not too distant future I’m really looking forward to seeing all of our wonderful metal maniacs once again.”
Juda Priest will be releasing their 18th album, Firepower, on March 9 and have a spring tour to support the new record. It is a follow up to 2014s Redeemer of Souls. Tipton and bassist Ian Hill stand as the bands longest tenured members while Vocalist Rob Halford was in the band from 1974 to 1992, but took a ten year hiatus from the band until 2003.
Update: Glenn Tipton issued the following statement on 3-15
“By now many of you will know I won’t be doing the forthcoming Judas Priest tour because of health issues—I’m so sorry but four years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and was told by my specialist that I had already had it for over ten years – I knew something was wrong with my co-ordination and fluency regarding my playing but I worked around it and battled on – I have good days and bad days but the disease is degenerative and I would never want to compromise the greatest metal band in the world—it was therefore during the last rehearsals I decided to step down and have Andy Sneap fill in—he’s a great guy and I’m sure he’ll do a great job – I’m sure the band will be as strong than ever
I have been overwhelmed by the massive support and love I’ve had from other artists and from fans all over the world and from many friends and metal maniacs out there – it’s not the end for me – I’ll still be able to write and record and on good days even join the band on stage for a few songs – with new medication and advances being made who knows what the future holds – but one thing’s for sure – it will certainly involve Priest!
Finally the biggest thanks goes to Rob, Richie, Ian and Scott who have stood by me and supported me through everything – GLENN“
Photo credit- Raymond Flotat