Glenn Tipton’s ‘sharp ideas’ have inspired an ‘enormous’ stack of new Judas Priest songs

Judas Priest portrait
(Image credit: Columbia Records)

Judas Priest have an ‘enormous’ stack of new songs written for the follow-up to 2018’s Firepower, and guitarist Glenn Tipton has been central to the writing process, the band reveal in their cover story interview in the new issue of Metal Hammer.

Rob Halford’s metal gods are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and Priest fans will soon have their own reason to celebrate as the band are deep into the writing of what will be their nineteenth studio album.

“We started the year prepping the next Judas Priest metal masterpiece,” Rob Halford says. “We had one massive writing session together and we’ve got an enormous amount of material stacked up, which is really thrilling after the glorious response we had to Firepower.”

“It’s gonna be good,” insists drummer Scott Travis. “Rob’s always excited about new music, which is great, because he’s such a creative guy and when you are that creative, naturally you never rest on your laurels. You always want to do something new and get it out there.”

Though inevitably delayed by restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the COVID pandemic, the band’s writing process for the new album had remained essentially the same, says guitarist Richie Faulkner.

“We compile all our ideas and get together and throw them in the pot and see what sticks,” he explains, “then see what lights up the room, see what Rob grabs hold of. It might be a riff that Rob really gets his teeth into that inspires a lyric or an intro, verse or chorus and suddenly you’ve got the nucleus of a song.”

Priest fans will be thrilled to learn that guitarist Glenn Tipton remains as deeply immersed in the process as ever.

“Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease,” says Richie Faulkner, acknowledging the illness with which Tipton was diagnosed in 2008, “so it gets steadily worse and you have to keep taking medication to keep it at bay. But the great thing with Glenn is that we’ve still got his mind. His mind’s still sharp and his ideas are still sharp. I’ll tell you what, man, I might have a riff or a part or a section and I don’t know what it is, but it lacks something. Glenn will say, ‘Try this’ and I’ll think, ‘That’s not gonna work. You’re out of your mind…’ and then I’ll try it and see that it’s the exact turnaround or riff or part that it needed to make it Judas Priest.”

“If he’s having a tough day on guitar one day, he’s still in there with us, coming up with ideas – almost like a producer role. And he’s on some of the tracks so far already. But if he’s having a bad day with the guitar, he can just throw out his ideas and honestly, that’s what makes the difference sometimes.”

Andy Sneap, the former Sabbat/Hell guitarist who co-produced Firepower with Tom Allom, has been once again been tapped to fill in for Tipton on Priest’s upcoming live performances.

You can read the full interview with Judas Priest in the new issue of Metal Hammer, which is on sale now. The issue also features Rammstein, Mastodon, DevilDriver, System Of A Down, Perry Farrell and more.

(Image credit: Future)
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.