“If he could play the track, he’d play it. If he couldn’t, I’d take over”: Richie Faulkner on how Judas Priest incorporated Glenn Tipton on Invincible Shield

“As long as we’ve got Glenn as part of the creative team, that’s what makes it Priest.”

[L-R] Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton

Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

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Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018, Glenn Tipton’s involvement with Judas Priest – particularly their live shows, has been somewhat sporadic. Shortly after his diagnosis, veteran producer Andy Sneap took over his duties as the band’s new touring guitarist, although Tipton does occasionally step out onstage for encores.

However, Tipton remains an official member of the British heavy metal outfit, and still plays an integral part in their songwriting process.

In a new interview in the spring 2024 issue of Goldmine, bassist Ian Hill and guitarist Richie Faulkner discuss Tipton’s continued involvement with the band, and the part he played in writing their 19th studio album, Invincible Shield.

“Glenn comes up with his ideas as he’s always done,” says Hill. “He can’t play with us anymore onstage, or for any period of time, anyway, just from a strength point of view more than anything.”

He continues: “We just did the Power Trip [festival] thing last autumn, and he got up and he did three of the encore songs and that just about wiped him out. But there’s nothing wrong between his ears. So he still comes up with the ideas and he gets together with Richie, and they work on stuff and then Rob puts on the lyrics.”

Faulkner adds that “right from the beginning” of the songwriting process for Invincible Shield, the band were certain Tipton would be heavily involved.

“We know what Glenn is going through health-wise. So when we were coming up with stuff, if he couldn’t translate his ideas on the guitar, I would be there to translate those ideas.

“Some of them, like Trial by Fire, Sons of Thunder, Escape from Reality, Vicious Circle, they were ideas that he could play and create and translate and also record as well. So, Glenn’s on it.

“If he could play the guitar, if he could play the track, he’d play it. If he couldn’t, I’d take over, and that’s how we handled it. I think everyone understands that as long as we’ve got Glenn as part of the creative team, that’s what makes it Priest.”

Faulkner concludes: “Andy’s obviously still filling in for Glenn live. As I said before, if Glenn could make it out, he will. He always tries to, if he can, do the encores with us. If he can’t and he’s not feeling up to it, obviously, he won’t. And again, I think everyone knows by now, Glenn’s challenges, and if he’s not there, they’ll understand. And if he is, I mean, the roof gets blown off when Glenn comes out. The show of love and support for Glenn is overwhelming, really. So if he can, he’ll be there. If he can’t he won’t and we all know why.”

Judas Priest have a series of dates in the calendar for the remainder of the year. For tickets, head to their official website.


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