(Left) Harmony Gerber / Getty Images, (Right) L. Cohen / WireImage / Getty Images
Earlier this month, heavy metal titans Judas Priest announced that guitarist Glenn Tipton would be retiring from touring after a 10 year battle with Parkinson’s. With a new album, Firepower, just days away and Tipton’s blessing, Judas Priest tapped Firepower co-producer Andy Sneap to replace him on tour – a move that left former Priest guitarist K.K. Downing angry at having not been invited to rejoin the band he left 7 years ago.
Downing, 66, slammed the band’s decision – saying, “…it seems that my time spent in the band, and my value in terms of crafting its huge legacy, was and is unappreciated by more than one member,” but didn’t go after Sneap. He praised Sneap’s talents as a co-producer and musician, but crossed a line with singer Rob Halford when he hinted that the guitar work on Judas Priest’s Firepower was actually Sneap’s…not Glenn Tipton.
“I know Andy Sneap — and he is one of the greatest contributors to rock and metal that you will ever have the privilege to meet. To that end, I have no doubt that his contribution to the new Judas Priest album was much more than just as a producer.
Halford responded this morning, calling Downing’s assertion that Andy Sneap played on Firepower in Glenn Tipton’s place “a thousand percent false”. He hailed Tipton’s strength and courage, hitting the studio to lay down his guitar parts as Parkinson’s Disease began to show signs of slowing him down; not an easy task, especially after 10 years.
“The one point that I would like to clarify and have on record is this insinuation that Andy Sneap was covering Glenn’s guitar parts on ‘Firepower’, and I can categorically state that that is a thousand percent false,” says Halford.
“Because I was with Glenn for all of his guitar work, and he worked really, really hard. Imagine this guy in the tenth year of Parkinson’s. I’ve never seen anybody so brave in the fact that every song was a challenge for him to make it work, but he did — consistently, day after day.”
Downing, who left Judas Priest in 2011 after 41 years, has yet to respond to Halford. Judas Priest’s Firepower is out on March 9th and the world is looking forward to hearing Glenn’s work once more; you’ve got Halford’s promise that “everything that you hear from Glenn on Firepower is the amazing Glenn Tipton.”
In the meantime, check out “Lightning Strike” from Firepower in the video below!