Judas Priest announce departure of touring guitarist Andy Sneap

Andy Sneap is out of Judas Priest's touring line-up credit:Bang Showbiz
Andy Sneap is out of Judas Priest's touring line-up credit:Bang Showbiz

Judas Priest have announced the departure of touring guitarist Andy Sneap.

Rob Halford and co are due to hit the road in March and they've announced that they will be without the 52-year-old rocker - who co-produced the heavy metal group's last studio effort, 2018's 'Firepower'.

In a statement, they said: “Big thanks to Andy for all you’ve done and continuing to be in the production team for our new album."

Priest added that Glenn Tipton, who has limited his performances with the group since 2018 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, will be playing "here and there".

Andy admitted that while he respects the decision, he found it "incredibly disappointing" to learn he will no longer be a member of the live line-up.

He wrote in a separate statement: "Rob 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 [of] 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."

However, he can't wait to continue working on their new record.

Andy added: “We are moving forward with the new album next month and look forward to making a killer follow-up to ‘Firepower’.”

Glenn, 74, was forced to give up long periods on the road because he's struggling to play the more "challenging" songs, due to the symptoms of the degenerative disorder which affects the nervous system.