During a recent interview with Herald-Whig, Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner reflected on the band’s decision to embark on the next leg of their tour as a quartet. The guitarist stated that it was a good test to get the fans’ opinions.

As Judas Priest announced last month, they will continue their ’50 Heavy Metal Years’ tour without the touring guitarist Andy Sneap, who joined the band to replace Glenn Tipton after his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. The band had informed the fans that they would hit the road as a quartet since Sneap would be occupied with production work.

However, after Andy Sneap released a statement to share his disappointment with the band’s decision and following the fans’ harsh criticisms, Judas Priest stepped back from their initial announcement. They said that Sneap would remain a member of the band’s touring party, and they would go back to a five-piece lineup. Richie Faulkner reflected on the band’s earlier decision and the fans’ reaction during a recent interview.

The guitarist expressed that it became a good test to see the fans’ reactions. It was very positive that they stated their opinions, as it encouraged them to pay attention to what they said. The band decided to release a new announcement about a week later, saying that they would continue as five-piece. As Faulkner confirmed, it looks like it is their final decision without any further changes.

Richie Faulkner speaking on the band’s four-piece decision:

“Yeah, about a week later, we readdressed that announcement, and we’ve gone back to a five-piece. But I did get that impression initially. It’s was, like, well, I’ve just had this issue; maybe they’re just tested in my mettle, so to speak. But the fans voiced their opinion on that, and we listened. We would have been crazy not to take that on board, really.

So we addressed it, and we’re coming back as a five-piece. We will go back to normal, basically. It’s going to be that five-piece, that twin-guitar attack Priest is known and loved for. So all’s well there.”

Judas Priest will be touring in March and April 2022 for their ’50 Heavy Metal Years’ North American tour. They will also be supported by Queensryche during the tour. It is set to begin on March 7, 2022, in West Valley City, Utah, and end on April 11, 2022, in Laval, Quebec, Canada.