Greg Prato for Guitar World spoke with Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, portions of the interview appear below.

Guitar World: Priest’s first performance in two years occurred recently at Bloodstock – how did it feel to finally get back on stage?

Richie Faulkner: It was an incredibly emotional experience for me, personally. From not being on stage for two years, from all the uncertainty that we’ve all had to deal with in the last 18 months, two years. For it all to come to a head in that setting – with 20,000-plus metal maniacs, a new setlist, and new production… it was just an incredible emotional moment…

…I won’t spoil it for anyone, but there were some songs that the band have never played before – or haven’t played in a very long time. Powerful songs for me as a fan to be up there playing…

Guitar World: How was the setlist determined? Because I give Priest a lot of credit – unlike some veteran rock/metal bands, Priest reintroduces rarities for each tour.

Richie Faulkner: We look at what we’ve done on the previous tour or the previous leg – whether it’s an album or live show, there’s an unwavering priority on ‘How do we make it a bigger, better, new, unheard of experience for the fans that have put the band there for the last 50 years?’ 

So, we look at what we’ve done on the last tour or tour leg, what we haven’t done in a while, what we haven’t done ever or what the band haven’t played in a long time, new stuff, old stuff. And then, ‘Are there any landmarks that we need to hit?’ – in terms of albums and stuff like that…

…me and Rob [Halford] write all the songs down in a big list of about 50 contenders, and we cut them out. We put them in lists. It’s kind of old-school, but you can see them in front of you and you can move them around. 

Once we’ve got a ballpark set, we try it out in rehearsals, and if it works, we go with it…

Guitar World: How do you compare playing with Andy [Sneap] to playing with Glenn [Tipton]?

Richie Faulkner: Glenn is a 50-year veteran and a rock star. [Laughs] Glenn just being there elevates the ‘rock star level’ another 50% in my opinion. I had Glenn in my cassette collection, I had Glenn’s picture on my wall with K.K. [Downing]. I didn’t have Andy’s picture on my wall.

But there’s no difference of admiration, really – Andy is up there, he’s doing his bit, and he’s taking the challenge on, when we asked him to fill in for Glenn. He’s risen from strength to strength, really. So, the admiration for Andy is there, as well – just a different one…

Guitar World: How is work coming along on Priest’s next studio album?

Richie Faulkner: Obviously, we faced some challenges with schedules due to the pandemic. We wanted to keep it the same dynamic as [latest album] Firepower – as we all got together, played the songs in pre-production before recording them. Obviously, we haven’t been able to do that in the last 18 months because of the pandemic.

So, we’ve got a ton of stuff written and a ton of songs almost ready to go. We just need to get together and start playing them together and ‘trimming the fat,’ as they say…

…So, once we are….able to get in a room together, play the [new songs], trim the fat, and record them, we will. But we’ve got a bunch of songs that are pretty ready to go and they sound fantastic. We just want to put them down properly and release them to the world. So, I can’t give you a date, but as soon as we can, we’ll get in there and start work on that.

Guitar Word: Which Priest classics are most fun for you to play? 

Richie Faulkner: My favorites are Victim of ChangesThe SentinelFreewheel BurningOne Shot at GloryPainkiller is always a blast. Purely because of the history of those songs and how much they mean to me and all the fans. And from a guitar point of view, the dynamics – the soft passages, the fast passages, the harmonies. They’re just a rollercoaster for a guitar player

Guitar World: What are the band’s future plans?

Richie Faulkner: As you know, we’re just about to embark on our first American tour in two years. So that’s the immediate future…

Also, as I said, we want to try to get some time soon to start putting down songs for the new record. And then hopefully, we will tour that, as well. Nothing is set in stone…

Guitar World: Why do you think Priest has not yet been admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Richie Faulkner: I don’t know. And I don’t think it means much, anyway. It’s my own opinion – it’s not the opinion of the band or anyone specific in the band – but I just think if you have an institution called The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and bands like Priest and Iron Maiden aren’t in there, it almost means more to not be in it. 

And I think to be carrying on and blazing forward with new music and new tours after 50 years, loved by the fans and being given that lifeblood by the fans for 50 years, I think that is more of an accolade than any ornament on a shelf. We’ll see what happens, but it doesn’t really mean much to me.

Read more at Guitar World.

To view Judas Priest’s tour itinerary, please go here.

16 Responses

  1. Saw Priest open for KISS in 1979, in Minneapolis….Kiss was on the way down and all their fans were parents bringing their little kids…I was there to see Priest , and I loved watching parents covering their kids ears, while the Metal God dropped the F – Bomb between songs…. and then they roared thru the Unleashed in the East set !!!…this set them up for US Domination !!

    1. I saw Priest open for KI⚡⚡ in 1979 as well, in New York, Nassau Coliseum, went with my brother, don’t remember seeing any “parents with their little kids” there, there may have been a few here and there, but there weren’t that many at all, not at that show.

    2. Brad, I think a more accurate comment is “the KI$$ fans were the kids who were accompanied by their parents”. Around that time, KI$$ were no longer a “dangerous” rock and roll band, but rather a family act, IMO.

  2. Andy sneap…Ritchie Falkner…
    Guitar duo in judas priest , it doesn’t play well
    It doesn’t roll off the tounge… and it doesn’t sit well with me as a fan of priest .. also why is Falkner suddenly the mouthpiece for priest .. Tipton and downing that is priest to me that sound that amazing tone – I will no longer support priest , but I will always listen to the amazing music they have put out –

    1. Robert, I agree with your comment about those iconic guitarists no longer in the current lineup of Judas Priest. Some people could successfully argue that KK’s Priest is more “Judas Priest” that the current lineup of Judas Priest.

  3. I actually like Richie, but I also like KK. Just watched some fan footage of Priest getting back out on the road. Finally and heck yeah! One thing is for sure, Richie is front and center for this band now. The old guys are letting the young buck take the reins.

    1. I agree with MikeyMan . KK should have never quit in 2011, amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance not cool . And if I remember correctly right before they were going to tour . That type of betrayal is hard to forgive and who`s to say he wouldn`t do it again . I for sure wouldn`t trust bringing him back in the band if i were a member.

    2. I have both the Metal God’s, and K.K’s books, here, still have yet to read them. I hope to get to them someday, and maybe that will shed a little more light on the situation?

      I will say, on a somwewhat related note, I do tend to believe Bill Ward in his dispute with Sabbath. Just a “gut” feeling based upon the business conduct of some of the others, over the many decades.

  4. Saw them last night, overall they were incredible. It obviously was different without Glenn and KK, but I was really impressed with Rob and how well his voice held up. Especially on Victim of Changes. Was also great to hear Invader.

    1. He’s planning on being a mall Santa. But instead of the reindeer, he will ride a motorcycle. Metal Santa.

Leave a Reply