Judas Priest have announced the departure of guitarist Andy Sneap from their touring line-up.
Sneap, who co-produced the band’s latest album ‘Firepower’, joined Priest’s live set-up after their longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton announced he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018.
Ahead of the group’s 2022 North American tour kicking off in March, Rob Halford and co. issued a statement yesterday (January 10) to announce they would be returning as “an even more powerful, relentless four-piece heavy metal band”.
“Big thanks to Andy for all you’ve done and continuing to be in the production team for our new album,” they continued, explaining that Tipton would be appearing alongside them on stage “here and there”.
Judas Priest told fans that they were “chomping at the British Steel bit to return to world touring”, adding: “See you all soon headbangers!”
Sneap has since released a separate statement (via Blabbermouth), saying that the band’s decision to remove him was “incredibly disappointing”.
“Rob called me last Monday and said they wanted to move on as a four-piece, which I find incredibly disappointing after this amount of time but I respect his decision as they obviously have a vision [of] how they want this to play out,” he wrote.
“This always was a temporary situation, and like I’ve said before, I’ll always help the band any way I can, and that applies going forward also.”
Sneap continued: “I’ve been a huge fan of the band since the early ’80s and it was mind-blowing to play onstage with the guys and quite frankly terrifying in the beginning at such short notice.
“We are moving forward with the new album next month and look forward to making a killer follow-up to ‘Firepower’.”
The update comes after Rob Halford reunited with Glenn Tipton over the festive period. “Merry metal motivational,” Halford captioned the image, which saw the pair posing in front of a Christmas tree.
In a recent interview with Spain’s Mariskal Rock, Halford explained that Tipton has made a “massive contribution” to the songs Judas Priest have written for their forthcoming new record.
“And we’ll still keep writing — we’ll still keep putting together the ideas,” he added.