Priest axeman Glenn isn’t ready to follow KK into retirement just yet – but the idea has occurred to him

Glenn Tipton

Thinking time: Glenn Tipton

Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton has entertained the idea of following ex-bandmate KK Downing into retirement.

Fans were shocked when Downing announced he wouldn’t be part of the veteran band’s final world tour earlier this year. And although Priest are working on a new album with latest addition Richie Faulkner, Tipton is aware he can’t go on for ever.

He tells “I’m still going strong. But, you know, I don’t know how much life I’ve got left in me in terms of putting leather and studs on and going out there and thrashing out heavy metal.

“I want to retire before people start saying that I should have retired – I think that’s the best way to put it.”

But the recruitment of Faulkner has given Priest a new lease of life in time for the last large-scale touring schedule. “KK was such a big part of the band that we just thought he wouldn’t be replaceable,” says Tipton. 64. “We were all surprised. We were shocked. We didn’t do anything for three months and it was almost the end of the band.

“But Richie captures the essence of everything that he needs to do. And he puts his own spin on things too – you have to see it to believe it, really.”

Meanwhile, Downing has issued an appeal for metal fans to support the genre with their wallets, in case the next generation of musicians can’t afford to tour or record.

He says on his website: “I must urge everyone to try pay for their music because, without your support, our beloved metal will become an endangered species if it is not that way already.

I have many friends and associates that once had a good career and prospects; these include producers, record engineers, managers and of course many musicians. Now most of them are struggling to make ends meet and stay in the business. Unfortunately it is now virtually impossible for new bands to make any headway at all.

“I know that many bands are making pretty decent records in their bedrooms or garages, but just think what we are missing – even as good as we thought we were back in the day, we would never have made the records we did without the professionals that helped us to achieve our goals.

“If there is one thing that I would like to take with me to my grave, it would be to know that all of the young and new talented players out there would at least have the fair chance to make it in the way that I did.”

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