In a recent interview with Spain's Metal Journal, JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill was asked if he can foresee the band one day existing without him, guitarist Glenn Tipton and singer Rob Halford. "Well, that sort of thing you don't know until it happens, do you?" he responded. "We have to wait and see on that one. And it's not down to us; it's more down to the fans than anything else — whether they'll accept that or not. It's up to them, really — not us."
Hill was also asked if he expects guitarist Andy Sneap to remain a guest member of JUDAS PRIEST even after the "Firepower" tour ends. "We'll see," he said. "Andy's got, obviously, his other career, which is a record producer. And this tour's gonna go on into next year anyway, so we've got a lot of time to start thinking about that. So we'll see where we stand at the end [of it]. This tour will go into next year — maybe to the end of next year. We'll see."
Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease four years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but only recently announced he was going to sit out touring activities in support of PRIEST's latest album, "Firepower". The guitarist, who is now 70 and has performed on every PRIEST record since the band's 1974 debut set, "Rocka Rolla", is not quitting the band, but simply cannot handle the rigorous challenges of performing live. He is being replaced on tour by "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap, also known for his work as the guitar player in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.
PRIEST will return to the United States at the end of August for a co-headlining run with fellow classic heavy rockers DEEP PURPLE.