Ian Hill says that JUDAS PRIEST is "not planning on" ending its recording career with the recently released "Firepower" album.
A critically acclaimed effort, "Firepower"'s success has been overshadowed somewhat by the news of longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton's ongoing battle with Parkinson's disease.
Tipton was diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disorder four years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but only recently announced he was going to sit out touring activities in support of "Firepower". The guitarist, who is now 70 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. His spot in the band is being filled by "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap.
Asked by Musik Universe in a brand new interview if it's safe to say that "Firepower" will turn out to be PRIEST's final album if Tipton's condition doesn't improve, Hill said (hear audio below): "We're not planning on that. There's no reason why there shouldn't be anything. Glenn can play for short periods of time — even on a bad day, he can do that. It's just that he can't handle a full set at the moment. That may change — there may be procedures coming along that will help him along — but there's no reason why he shouldn't be able to write new songs. And he's capable of playing for short periods of time on the album as well. So we're not planning on 'Firepower' being the last album."
He added: "I think the 'Firepower' tour is now booked through until next summer. So we'll take some time off and stand back and then see where we're gonna go from there — whether we're gonna carry on with 'Firepower' or whether we're gonna do something else."
PRIEST singer Rob Halford revealed in a recent interview that the band is planning to mark its 50th anniversary in 2019 with a special celebration, although he declined to offer any details.
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 Richie Faulkner.
PRIEST has just returned to the United States for a co-headlining run with fellow classic heavy rockers DEEP PURPLE.