Rob Halford has confirmed to Mike Hsu of Boston's WAAF radio station that JUDAS PRIEST is preparing to begin work on the follow-up to last year's "Firepower" album. Speaking about his plans for the upcoming year, Rob said (hear audio below): "I'll be heading back to the U.K. for the holidays, see my family and friends. And then we're gonna start… There are two things happening. We're gonna go into writing sessions in the early New Year, because we're still buzzing from the 'Firepower' record and we're raring to go, to see what else what we can come up with musically, through writing. So we've got that in planning. And then we go into the big production for the 50th anniversary [of JUDAS PRIEST], which, I believe, kicks off in Finland in June, I think it is. And then that's it there. We're off around the world for the rest of 2020 and some of 2021, celebrating 50 years of JUDAS PRIEST."
This past October, Halford told Consequence Of Sound that JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Glenn Tipton has spent the last few months compiling ideas for the band's next record.
"Glenn is always noodling away, even though he doesn't tour that much now," the singer said. "He's always noodling away in the studio in the U.K. He's always putting riffs down. We have vaults of so many rifts. It's just incredible. So it all starts with the riff, mostly, in what we do. We start with the riff and a melody, some hooks and we build it, as most bands do. 'Firepower' is going to be quite difficult to top, but we'll do everything we can to cut another great record and that'll happen at some point."
Tipton announced his retirement from touring in February 2018 after revealing his unfortunate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. He passed on the torch to the producer of the "Firepower" album, Andy Sneap.
Tipton was diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disorder almost six years ago, after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier. The guitarist, who is now 72 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.
Glenn has appeared onstage with PRIEST many times following his retirement, always performing the same fan-favorite tracks "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Livin' After Midnight".
PRIEST's current touring lineup consists of Halford, bassist Ian Hill, guitarists Sneap and Richie Faulkner, and drummer Scott Travis.
In October, it was announced that JUDAS PRIEST is among the nominees for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's class of 2020. The top vote-getters will be announced in January and inducted May 2, 2020 at a ceremony at Cleveland's Public Hall.
Current members Halford, Hill, Tipton and Travis would be inducted along with founding guitarist K.K. Downing, former drummer Les Binks and late drummer Dave Holland.