RICHIE FAULKNER TALKS ELEGANT WEAPONS, NEW JUDAS PRIEST MUSIC AND THE BAND’S INDUCTION INTO THE ROCK N’ ROLL HALL OF FAME
Greg Prato for Bravewords spoke with Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner about his other project, Elegant Weapons, whose debut album, Horns For A Halo, is out today (May 26th). Portions of the interview appear below.
BraveWords: Let’s discuss Elegant Weapons’ debut album, Horns For A Halo.
Richie Faulkner: Obviously, this is something I’ve been thinking about – in career terms – since I’ve joined Priest. I had a conversation with [Judas Priest guitarist] Glenn Tipton right at the beginning when I joined the band on the Epitaph Tour. It was the final tour, so Glenn kind of laid it out for me – “This is a band at a certain point in its career. We’re not going to be around for 20-25 years. It’s the farewell tour.” So, I kind of started thinking then, “Well, I’d better start thinking about what I’m going to be doing after this.” It kind of spawned from there. It took a while to get going…and also, I wanted Priest to be my band. I didn’t want to get the gig in the Priest and then jump off and do other things straight away. The time was right. It was right around the pandemic really that I got all the songs and ideas together and wanted to see what I had. “Do I have an EP? Do I have an album? Do I have a band I can put together?”
So, it’s been an ongoing process really…But when I realized I’d got an album, and it’s an album that stands on its own – it doesn’t sound like Priest…that’s when it became evident to me that this is something that I could release…and when that day comes that Priest decide to retire, and I can carry on with that. So, Horns for a Halo is the first album on that journey, really. It’s important to me to have a band that plays live and releases albums and grows and evolves – just as Priest has, really. In terms of the process, it’s a lot similar – the mindset is it’s not a band that does one record and then calls it a day. For me, it’s more of a thought process of, “Do a record, do some live shows, grow the band, do another record” – in that evolution that bands have, in terms of character and sound and style.
BraveWords: How does Elegant Weapons compare musically to Priest?
Richie Faulkner: My musical DNA is Priest. Obviously, before I joined the band and now being in the band for almost thirteen years, you can’t help but be influenced by that style of music. Priest have released two records with me in the band, and we’ve almost finished the third one. I think there’s different DNA in there, as well. I think it’s a bit bluesier than Priest. I’m a 43-year-old man that grew up in the 1980s, listening to ‘80s rock, metal, and synth pop and stuff like that. It’s going to have a different flavor…”
BraveWords: When will the next Judas Priest album be released?
Richie Faulkner: “The truth is I don’t know. We’ve got to finish up some vocals – that’s the main thing we have to finish. I think Andy [Sneap] is going out to see Rob at some point to finish up the vocal recordings. So, when that’s done, we’ve got to mix it, master it, we’ve got to get into the packaging and deliver it to the label. And then the label has to manufacture it – it’s the manufacturing that will take some time. As far as finishing the record – it’s almost finished. I can’t tell you when – but it’s not going to be long.”
BraveWords: When will the next Judas Priest album be released?
Richie Faulkner: The truth is I don’t know. We’ve got to finish up some vocals – that’s the main thing we have to finish. I think Andy [Sneap] is going out to see [singer, and Metal God] Rob [Halford] at some point to finish up the vocal recordings. So, when that’s done, we’ve got to mix it, master it, we’ve got to get into the packaging and deliver it to the label. And then the label has to manufacture it – it’s the manufacturing that will take some time. As far as finishing the record – it’s almost finished. I can’t tell you when – but it’s not going to be long.
BraveWords: How does it compare musically to the last few Priest albums?
Richie Faulkner: It’s the same band, so it’s the same DNA. But it doesn’t sound like the last record – it sounds like its own album, as they should. It’s exciting. It’s got a few more twists and turns musically – than the last record had. It’s by no means a Rush record, but it’s got a few more twists and turns and musical journeys.
BraveWords: What are some memories of when Priest was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Was it the first time you met K.K. Downing?
Richie Faulkner: It was the first time. I’m not really a fan of awards ceremonies – I don’t think they mean much these days. Heavy metal to me was always “our music” because it was different. It was on the outside, it wasn’t in these award ceremonies. We were kind of the underdogs, we had our own thing, and that’s why it was cool. And to be accepted into something like that, it doesn’t really mean anything for me. Having said that, when I got there, there was Lionel Richie, there was Annie Lenox and Dave Stewart, the Edge, and Duran Duran were there. It was quite an amazing experience. And obviously, meeting Ken [K.K. Downing] was great. We know the history over the last decade or so with Ken and the band, but I haven’t really been a part of that – it’s not really my beef, if you know what I mean. It was great to meet him and great to play with him and Glenn, as well – it was a three-guitar attack in Judas Priest, who have always been known as a two-guitar attack. But to be part of a three-guitar attack with Priest – for what may be the only time ever – was a great thrill and a great honor.
BraveWords: Future plans?
Richie Faulkner: It was a priority to be a band that gets out on the road and does dates and tours. We’ve got some dates coming up in Europe during the summer – we’re doing some festivals, we’re doing some dates with Pantera, we’re doing a couple of dates I think with the Winery Dogs. The record comes out [today], and then we’re getting out on the road. There are four big characters in the band – myself, Ronnie Romero, Christopher Williams from Accept, and Dave Rimmer from Uriah Heep. Those characters come together and create something new. “Greater than the sum of its parts” type stuff. So, I’m looking forward to getting out on the road and seeing where it takes the band.
Read more at Brave Words.
For more information about Elegant Weapons, please click here.