JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill believes that the band’s current touring lineup — in which he is joined by singer Rob Halford, guitarists Andy Sneap and Richie Faulkner, and drummer Scott Travis — is the version that’s going to make it to the end. “I can’t see any reason why not,” he tells 519 Magazine in a new interview. “We’re all realists. None of us are getting any younger, so there is an end in sight, although when we don’t know. I think everybody’s happy with one another and with the current lineup, which is also almost as important as musical competence.
“You get the best musicians in the world, but if you’ve got a bunch of idiots, you’re not going to last very long,” he explained. “We’re all getting along with each other. We’re all family, really. And we’ll continue with this lineup for as long as we can.”
Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then came back to PRIEST in 2003. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Faulkner.
The members of PRIEST have dealt with various health setbacks in recent years. Halford recently publicly revealed that he battled prostate cancer during the pandemic. He previously mentioned his cancer battle in the new chapter added to the updated paperback edition of his autobiography, “Confess”. In “Confess”, Halford revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer after experiencing symptoms for at least a couple of years.
In July 2020, Rob underwent prostatectomy, an operation where the entire prostate gland is removed plus some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles. After more cancer was found earlier this year, he went through radiation treatments in April and May and eventually got then all-clear in June. He also had an appendectomy after a tumor was discovered on his appendix.
Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection during the band’s performance at the Louder Than Life festival in late September. Faulkner was rushed to the UofL Health – Jewish Hospital where the cardiothoracic surgery team needed approximately 10 hours to complete a life-saving surgery.
Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease seven years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of “Firepower”. He was replaced by “Firepower” producer Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.