Andy Sneap says Judas Priest's decision to become a four-piece is "incredibly disappointing"

Rob Halford and Andy Sneap onstage
(Image credit: Dave Simpson/Getty Images)

Judas Priest producer and touring guitarist Andy Sneap has reacted to the band's decision to perform as a four piece when they resume touring in March.

Yesterday Judas Priest released a statement announcing that Sneap would no longer part of the touring line-up, saying, "We are chomping at the British Steel bit to return to world touring... celebrating 50 years of Judas Priest as an an even more powerful, relentless four piece heavy metal band."

Sneap has since told Blabbermouth that he was informed of the band's decision a week ago, saying, "Rob [Halford] called me last Monday and said they wanted to move on as a four-piece, which I find incredibly disappointing after this amount of time, but I respect his decision as they obviously have a vision how they want this to play out.

"This always was a temporary situation, and like I've said before, I'll always help the band any way I can, and that applies going forward also.

"I've been a huge fan of the band since the early '80s and it was mind-blowing to play onstage with the guys and quite frankly terrifying in the beginning at such short notice." 

Priest were forced off the road last summer after guitarist Richie Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection onstage during the band’s set at the Louder Than Life festival in Kentucky. Now back to full health, Faulkner will resume duties when Priest resume relaunch their US tour in Peoria, Illinois, on March 4.  

Meanwhile, fans have reacted to the news of Priest's new configuration on social media, with a vocal majority bemoaning the possible demise of the band's classic twin-guitar sound and clamouring for the return of guitarist KK Downing, who joined Judas Priest in 1970 and left in 2011.    

Last year Downing spoke to Classic Rock about his departure from the band, and said he expected a call after Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018. 

"I totally thought they’d call me," he told us. "When they didn’t I was despondent, completely gutted. Since then I’ve written a couple of times, but come to the conclusion the door is closed. So I’ve moved on."

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.