With the pending Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announcement, 2020 is shaping up to be a big year for Judas Priest, a band on the verge of another celebration.
Judas Priest are still revelling in the success of its most recent album release, ‘Firepower’ and the accompanying tour. Now lead vocalist Rob Halford spoke to Rolling Stone and said that the band’s 50th-anniversary tour which is expected to launch next spring/summer, is going to be another spectacular event for the fans.
Halford said, “I’ve been feverishly working over the last few weeks and months with our stage designers to make something very, very special,” he said. “We’re gonna go deep, deep, deep into the catalogue and try to find songs that we’ve never played before and wrap it up into the history of Priest and the 50th anniversary. We’ve got some really big surprises and it’s gonna be a wonderful celebration of Priest and British heavy metal.”
Bassist Ian Hill also spoke recently about the plans to mark the half-century milestone. He said, “Technically, the 50th anniversary is this year, but we weren’t called Judas Priest until 1970, so we thought we’d leave it till next year. There’s a few ideas in the pipeline, but nothing solid yet, apart from the fact that we will tour.”
Hill also spoke about how it feels to be the last original member of the band: “Rob, obviously, and Glenn [Tipton, guitar] still count as well. Scott [Travis, drums] has been with us since 1989. And even Richie Faulker [guitar], this is his ninth year. So, it’s a fluid current, if you know what I mean. So, no, I don’t feel like the last man standing, or anything like that.”
Halford joined Judas Priest in 1973, Tipton signed on in 1974. Halford left the band in the early 1990s to form his own band but returned in 2003. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Ritchie Faulkner. A month before the start of the “Firepower” tour, Tipton had to leave due to his bout with Parkinson’s disease. His spot in the band is currently being filled by the band’s producer Andy Sneap.
Faulkner told Metal Kaos that the 50th-anniversary tour will be “an event that the fans will really remember.” He said, “We are talking about what we want to do, but it is going to be something everyone will remember. We want to give back to the fans because, as I said, they have put the band there for nearly 50 years and they are still coming to the shows, they still love the band, so, yeah, it will be something special.”
Judas Priest was recently nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If they do get elected, Downing said he is hopeful that he will be able to reunite with the band for a one-off performance. Earlier last year he also said that in his opinion all living former and current members should be involved in the group’s 50th-anniversary celebration.