Peter Hodgson of Gibson.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Richie Faulkner of British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Gibson.com: You’ve been in JUDAS PRIEST for over a year now and the fans seem to have welcomed you with open arms. How does that feel? Were you worried about how you’d be accepted?
Richie: I think that any big change in such a legendary band is going to bring a certain amount of skepticism and when people don’t know the outcome, we tend to fear the worst. The band and me were sure that when the fans came to see us live, all fears would be put to bed. It astonishes, really, how the fans have welcomed me into the family and I feel honored to be accepted in the way that I have been. The great thing is, even though the fans didn’t know how it was gonna be at first, they still believed in the band, got their tickets and came to see the show. When the opening song kicked in, all politics and uncertainty seemed to be blown out the door and everyone was just part of a huge family, ya know? Hats off to the fans for that and a massive thank you.
Gibson.com: How much lead-up did you have between getting the PRIEST gig and stepping on stage with them?
Richie: It was about a month before rehearsals started for the “Epitaph” tour that I got the gig. We rehearsed for two weeks and then flew out to L.A. to play on the finale of “American Idol”. So my first show with the band was in front of nearly 30 million people! No pressure then guys, eh?! We then flew back to England again to continue rehearsing, so I think it was about two months in total before we played the first show of the “Epitaph” tour.
Gibson.com: Are you writing new material with PRIEST? And are you able to fit in your own musical pursuits at the moment?
Richie: We are working on a new album. Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and Rob [Halford, vocals] started writing material early 2011 before I joined the band, and I got together with them earlier this year to work on some more tracks with them. We’re getting together again after the summer to do some more writing and if all goes to plan, we might have the album out early next year. The ideas we have so far are sounding very strong and very PRIEST, so watch this space!