RICHIE FAULKNER: GLENN TIPTON's 'Creative Mind' Was Involved In Making Of JUDAS PRIEST's Upcoming Album 'Invincible Shield'

January 21, 2024

JUDAS PRIEST's Richie Faulkner says that Glenn Tipton's "creative mind" was involved in the making of the band's upcoming album, "Invincible Shield".

Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease more ten years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of PRIEST's latest LP, "Firepower". He was replaced by "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT. Tipton occasionally joins PRIEST onstage for its encores, performing "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".

Asked in a new interview with Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station how Glenn is doing and whether he had much input in the writing and recording process for "Invincible Shield", Richie said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "He's doing all right. He has good days and bad days, as I think is the nature of the challenge that he's facing. Glenn, obviously with those challenges, we had to work around it. So if he couldn't play when we were writing, if he had an idea that he couldn't play that day, he'd kind of talk to me and walk me through how it was supposed to go and I'd play it. And it was the same in the recording process, really. If he could play the song, he'd play it. If he couldn't, then I'd take over and that's how we did it. And I think everyone understands that as well with Glenn suffering from Parkinson's. I think they understand. For us, it was important that he was involved. We had his mind involved, we had his creative mind involved, and that's part of the reason it makes it JUDAS PRIEST."

Back in September 2020, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford told BBC Sounds about Tipton: "He's a wonderfully strong, beautiful man… He can still play the guitar, albeit in his own particular way.

"Parkinson's is a really cruel, terrible, horrible thing to happen to anybody — to see the physical debilitation that it creates," Rob continued. "But your brain is still there — you're still functioning as a person. But in a guitar sense, it's very, very difficult to play anything anymore. But like we [say] on this great song on the last PRIEST album, 'Firepower'. 'No Surrender'. You don't give in. You fight, fight, fight, and that's what Glenn's doing right now.

"Incidentally, he has this wonderful Glenn Tipton Parkinson's Foundation. We've raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for Glenn over the years, and we're still continuing to do that. Some of the advances that they have in Parkinson's now are extraordinary, but the funds and the finance to keep searching are vital."

Tipton turned 76 last October.

In his first interview since revealing his condition in early 2018, Glenn told Guitar World magazine about his diagnosis: "It was upsetting, but I wasn't really shocked because I sort of thought it was Parkinson's. I probably hoped it wasn't but the doctor said it was."

Regarding being told by the doctor that he had likely already had the disease for between 10 and 15 years, Glenn said: "Hearing that I already had Parkinson's for a long time made me even more determined to fight. I could still play, so I just continued recording and touring."

About a month before the opening date of PRIEST's "Firepower" tour, Tipton realized he could not guarantee that he would be able to execute an energetic, precision performance with the band night after night and "decided that it was really going to be too much for me," he told Guitar World. "With the medication and the time zone changes and everything else, I realized it was time to retire — from touring at least. I don't ever want to compromise JUDAS PRIEST. It's too big a part of my life.”

Bassist Ian Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then returned to PRIEST in 2003. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Faulkner.

"Invincible Shield" will arrive on March 8, 2024 via Sony Music.

Photo credit: James Hodges Photography

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