Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton revealed yesterday that he’d be missing the band’s Firepower tour due to the fact that he had Parkinson’s Disease that would keep him from performing. The band had known that he’d had the disease since he was 60, but in an interview with Rob Halford and sole remaining original member Ian Hill, Halford said it was totally Tipton’s decision:
“As we said in the statement, Glenn’s been battling with this for 10 years, he’s been touring for 10 years, writing for 10 years, recording for 10 years – and it was only until last Thursday that he came to the conclusion that it was not going to be. He said, and this is typically Glenn, ‘I can’t do this because it’s not right for the band. If I go out, it’s not right for the band.’
He’s always thought about the band, always thought about the band first, so we know how difficult it was for him to make that decision and I think we were all relieved that he’s been able to find some balance and harmony in making that decision.”
Hill says that he’d first expressed his doubt to continue on the last tour, but told them last week that he couldn’t make this run.
“When he started then, he was shaky, but, as we went through, he was getting better every day. At the end of the second week, he was ready to go. He put in a superb performance on the last tour, and we were all hoping that was going to happen again. But after the first week, it was obvious to all of us that it wasn’t getting any better.
But Glenn being Glenn, he’s nothing if he’s not a scrapper. He will fight tooth and nail to make it happen and in the middle of last week, in the middle of rehearsals, he had to admit it. We were all hearing this and we were living it with him. We felt every note. He came in and he made the bravest decision anybody will ever make, saying, ‘I can’t do it any more.’ There wasn’t a dry eye in the control room where we were sitting at the time. It’s not like he’s been stupid and fell off his motorbike or got whacked out on some drug – it’s not a stupid decision he’s made, he just can’t do it. He said, ‘Guys, my brain is telling my hands to do something and they’re not doing it’ and he had to admit that to himself as well as us.”
However, there’s somewhat of a silver lining, in that Tipton will be joining the band on the road, as will his equipment, so if he wants to come out and play a few songs, he’ll be able to whenever he wants. And the band are hopeful that medical science will catch up and perhaps be able to control his symptoms. The band’s tour starts in the middle of next month.