In a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show, Rob Halford reflected on JUDAS PRIEST's five-decade history which will be celebrated next year on a world tour. The singer said (hear audio below): "You tend to remember the early years more significantly. Because, as any band will tell you that's had the great joy of having a long life in music, those early years were… It's a struggle. You have to pay your dues — you have to play every bar, every club, every pub; anywhere you can plug in the amps, you do that. And then, 'We have some money, guys. Do we spend it on food or gas for the van? We've gotta get gas in the van.' That kind of thing. So to go from that place to this place, 50-odd million-plus records later, with 50 years to celebrate alongside it, is just truly magical."
Bassist Ian Hill is the sole remaining original member of JUDAS PRIEST. Halford joined JUDAS PRIEST in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then returned to PRIEST in 2003. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Richie Faulkner.
A month before the start of PRIEST's "Firepower" tour, Tipton bowed out due to the worsening of his Parkinson's disease, first diagnosed five years ago (after being stricken by the degenerative condition at least half a decade earlier). His spot in the band is being filled by "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap.
Downing said in October 2018 that all of PRIEST's living former and current members should be involved in the group's upcoming 50th-anniversary celebration.