Judas Priest has announced that tour guitarist Andy Sneap will be stepping down from the tour lineup.
In a statement posted on social media, Judas Priest revealed that the 52-year-old – who helped produce Firepower 2018 – will not appear in the live lineup.
"Big thanks to Andy for everything you have done and continue to be on the production team for our new album," wrote Judas Priest in the statement.
While Sneap described the decision as "incredibly disappointing," he added that he "respects" singer Rob Halford's decision.
"Rob called me last Monday and said that the four of them wanted to continue, which I find incredibly disappointing after this time, but I respect his decision as they obviously have a vision of how this should develop."
“This has always been a temporary situation and as I said before I will always help the band where I can and that goes for the future as well.
"I've been a big fan of the band since the early 80s and it was overwhelming to play on stage with the guys and frankly terrifying at the beginning."
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He added that he was still excited to continue working on the band's next album.
Andy added, "We're moving on to the new album next month and look forward to doing a killer sequel to Firepower."
Sneap began playing alongside the rockers after 74-year-old Glenn Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which forced him to cut back on touring after struggling to play the "more challenging" songs.
In an October interview on No Fuckin’s Regrets With Robb Flynn, Sneap said of Tipton’s health, “It's tough because Glenn is now a good friend after working with him for a number of years.
“Actually, they're all good friends. But see what the guy is going through and he's so determined. I'll see him sitting in the studio and he's going to fight, if I'm honest, but he's so determined.
“And it must be so frustrating for him, someone who has lived for Judas Priest all his life – 50 years. It's a rotten thing that can happen to anyone, but to a guitarist of his caliber … "
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