JUDAS PRIEST’S RICHIE FAULKNER DISCUSSES THE BAND’S NEW ALBUM, GUITARISTS GLENN TIPTON AND K.K. DOWNING, ALONG WITH THE BAND’S ROCK HALL SNUB
Greg Prato of the Long Island Pulse spoke with Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, excerpts from the interview appear below.
Long Island Pulse: Firepower is your second studio album with Priest. How is it similar or different to Redeemer of Souls?
Richie Faulkner: From the side of creating the songs, it was the same kind of vibe. We’d go our separate ways, and then we’d put down ideas in our spare time at home. Then me, Rob and Glenn would get together to put those ideas together and embellish them…It was an extension also of the relationships built over the last seven years, creatively and personally. The trust grows, the respect grows and it frees you up creatively.
What was different was that we set out to say, “What can we do differently this time around? How can we make a better record? How can we write better songs?” We got two producers in—Tom Allom and Andy Sneap—and they wanted us to play live. They wanted us to rehearse these songs that we had, refine the songs and get that live energy going that you can only get by playing in a room together. Through that, you get the spontaneity, the natural push and pull of the music. And you capture that energy in the recording, which was fundamental in getting that ferocity and vibe that comes through on Firepower.
Long Island Pulse: The announcement of Glenn’s health came as a surprise.
Richie Faulkner: Glenn has been fighting it for years and we have all been aware. Glenn is a very private guy and he kept it to himself; he didn’t go public with it. But it got to the point where we were in rehearsals, and in true Glenn Tipton fashion, he’s fighting to the last minute. He’s pushing, he’s trying because he wants to give a 1000 percent to the fans. And in the end, he just had to hold his hands up and say that he wasn’t able to tour. But Glenn is by no means leaving Judas Priest. He is still in Priest, he is still involved in Priest and he is still going to be involved in creative decisions and creating new music. And he will be coming out as and when he is able to do various appearances with us. That will be great.
Long Island Pulse: Has there been any discussion if the band can continue beyond this album and tour without Glenn performing with the band?
Richie Faulkner: There has been no discussion yet. I think the focus is dealing with the challenges that we’ve got at the moment, and getting out on the road with the Firepower record. And doing what we do best: playing live for our fans around the world. Anything beyond that is a discussion that still needs to take place. The focus is very much on now, the tour and the record.
Long Island Pulse: Was there any discussion of possibly K.K. Downing [a Priest member from 1969-2011] joining the band again?
Richie Faulkner: As far as I’m aware, he left the band. He didn’t want to be a part of the band, and as far as I’m aware, I don’t know if the band thought that he’d want to come back. He gave his priorities to other things and that’s fair enough. Glenn wanted Andy to step in and cover his live stuff and that’s what we’re doing. The great thing about Andy is he doesn’t want to be seen as “the new guy in Judas Priest.” He’s there covering Glenn. I think that’s a noble attitude for someone to have and I think that’s when you know you’ve got the right guy to fill in.
Long Island Pulse: Recently, Priest was one of the nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but missed getting in.
Richie Faulkner: I’ve got split views on this. First of all, I am not eligible to be included in the Hall of Fame; you have to have a 25-year history [Richie joined in 2011]. To be putting out music like this—after 50 years—to a fanbase that is so loyal is affirmation enough. I don’t think a band like Priest needs any award or any ceremony. The proof is in the pudding; the proof is in the fans; the proof is in the music; and the proof is in the band forging forward after 50 years. That is the only accolade anyone can ever wish for.
Read more at the Long Island Pulse.