Judas Priest Once Asked Whitfield Crane to Replace Rob Halford
The British band hired Tim “Ripper” Owens in 1996, and he spent seven years in the lineup before Halford’s return. However, Crane revealed that, at some point before that decision was made, guitarist Glenn Tipton had told him the position was his if he wanted it.
“It was when Glenn Tipton was doing his Baptizm of Fire [solo] record, and I got Shannon Larkin, our then drummer to play on it,” Crane said in a recent interview with Metal Rules. “He played two songs and replaced some badass drummers on that because it was click-tracked. And Glenn pulled Shannon and me aside and said, ‘You boys can have the Priest gig if you want it.’ And Shannon and I were pretty much into Priest. I mean, we loved Priest. And we went, ‘Ah!’ … all I said was this: ‘Say it again.’ And Glenn… goes, ‘What do you fucking mean, “Say it again”?’ And I’m all, ‘Just say it one time?’ And he’s like, ‘You can have the fucking Priest gig, mate.’”
Crane continued that his thoughts were almost immediately in the negative. “I was thinking, we can’t do it, because you can’t be Rob Halford. You can’t be David Lee Roth… It’d be cool, and considering my love for Priest, which is immense, that would have been cool to do it, but not really. It’s not a good move. … So, yeah, I got offered Priest, back in the day. I never said that to anyone.”
The singer reported that he’d caught up with Tipton backstage at a Judas Priest show last year, following the guitarist’s semi-retirement as a result of his Parkinson’s disease issues. “I hung out with Glenn backstage, and he had such a wonderful attitude, and he’s a powerful dude,” Crane recalled. “I can only imagine him being challenged… It must be a fucking pain in the ass. But he’s given a lot, and he gives a lot to the disenfranchised, heavy metal tsunami that’s out there, whether it be Latin America or Sweden or wherever. He’s touched people, and he fucking genuinely cares. So, all hail Glenn!”