Despite being known for their two-guitar attack, Priest announced last month that they would tour as a four-piece as they prepare for their 2022 North American tour, which is set to kick off in March (tickets available here). Sneap, who is also the band’s producer, had been on board since 2018 after stepping in for Glenn Tipton, who is still an official member of Priest but can no longer tour regularly due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
After Sneap expressed disappointment in the decision, and perhaps due to fan backlash, Priest announced that Sneap was back in the lineup five days later. In a new interview with Billboard, Halford said the blame for the fiasco falls on his shoulders.
The singer thought it would be a good idea to return to a quartet to celebrate Priest’s ongoing 50th anniversary, since the group started as a four-piece, but quickly realized it wasn’t the best idea. “That all came from me, it didn’t come from the band,” confessed the metal icon. “Of course, that blew up in my face, didn’t it? To have done something like a four-piece now would’ve been just not right, ridiculous, insane, crazy, off my rocker, have a cup of tea and relax. It’s kind of water under the bridge now. I think my heart was in the right place, but I’m not the first musician to have a crazy idea.”
Meanwhile, Priest were just nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for the third time. Unlike some other acts who’ve lambasted the institution for repeatedly snubbing legendary heavy metal bands, Priest have always reveled in their nominations, hoping that the third time is the charm.
“It’s wonderful,” said Halford of the nomination in the same Billboard interview. “As we’ve said before, it’s a blessing and it’s a rush — it’s still a rush to be nominated for the Hall, especially when you’re in the company again of such an eclectic bunch of fellow musicians.”
In fact, Halford is hoping for a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration if Priest and certain other acts do indeed get inducted. “My mind’s going, ‘I must do a duet with Dolly Parton! I must do a duet with Kate Bush!’ If Lionel [Richie] and Priest get in, I think we’ll both be dancing on the ceiling, together.”
While we recently included Priest’s upcoming full-length on our list of the 35 Most Anticipated Metal & Hard Rock Albums of 2022, Halford told Billboard that 2023 seems more realistic.
Judas Priest’s North American tour launches March 4th in Peoria, Illinois. Pick up tickets via Ticketmaster.