Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest Reveals That He’s Been Battling Parkinson’s for 10 Years — Then Insists ‘The Show Must Go On’

Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest
  • Save

Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest
  • Save
photo: Дмитрий “Ward” Куликов (CC 3.0)

Ten years ago, Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton was diagnosed with the onset of the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.  Now, he’s going public with it — and the band is staying by his side.

Parkinson’s Disease is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that seriously affects motor function.  Among other problems, it makes it really tough to play the guitar professionally.

For many years, Glenn Tipton simply lived his life as the great heavy metal guitar player he’s always been.  The disease moves slowly at first, and it wasn’t compromising Tipton’s ability to play amazingly powerful riffs for Judas Priest.  After ten years, that’s unfortunately changed.

Now, the 70-year-old musician announced recently that due to the progression of the disease, he won’t be able to tour full-time with the band.  While he is able to play and perform some of the Priest songs that are less challenging, the disease is taking a toll on him physically.

Glenn has requested Andy Sneap to fly the flag on stage for him. True to the metal spirit of ‘the show must go on,’ Sneap will grab the reigns on most songs.

We’re not sure if Glenn is going to be present for every show.  But he will be on-stage for many events, and jump on stage — much to the delight of longtime fans.

To quote Glenn:

“I want everyone to know that it’s vital that the Judas Priest tour go ahead.  I am not leaving the band.  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.”

The band had this to say on the matter:

“We have been privileged to witness Glenn’s determination and steadfast commitment over the years.  He has shown his passion and self-belief through the writing, recording and performing sessions with Priest.  He is a true metal hero!  We are not surprised by Glenn’s insistence that we complete the Firepower tour.  We thank Andy for joining us to make Glenn’s wishes become real.”

Love and respect for Glenn Tipton. Rock on!