Richie Faulkner

Judas Priest

Back again with a new release, JUDAS PRIEST introduce "Redeemer Of Souls" as their new studio album. Furthermore, this fairly new album also officially introduced the new lead guitarist, Richie Faulkner to the ranks of PRIEST. Deaddie talked with Richie about the new release, his new position in such an iconic band and more…
By Eddie "Deaddie" McConnaughy
August 20, 2014
Interview - Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest) interview
Hello Richie, how are you doing?

Very well sir, how are you?

I'm doing pretty good, pretty good. So I've got a couple of questions for you, I was trying to write up a couple more, I was under the impression, for some reason that our interview was at 1. But I've got a few questions written down, I think we can roll with it.

I'm sure we will be fine man.

So Richie, you are a fairly new member of Priest, correct?

That's right, yeah I joined the band just over three years ago,  so I'm the newest member. I think that Scott was happy to get rid of that tag, he was no longer the new member after 23 years. Yeah it's me as the new boy now.

Right, now how is it being a part of Priest?  You know Judas Priest has been a very highly revered group in heavy metal for years now so how is it being part of the group? 

Well, I mean when we have these ideas of what our favorite bands are like, we don't really know what they are like on the inside, but we kind of have nice thoughts about what it must be like to be a part of it.  Now coming into Judas Priest a few years ago, it kind of exceeded every expectation that I ever had really.  It's just the incredible, I mean, I'll tell you I'm old school in the sense that it is a proper true band you know, everyone is involved in the decision making and ideas and opinions and listening to people's opinions, all that kind of stuff. You know in some bands you expect it not to be like that it might be the case where there is a bit of a dictatorship you know there might be one or two guys that call shots and this is how it's going to be, in Priest it's a team you know and it's one of the best things I've taken right from day one right into the studio process and onwards into where we are now with Priest, it's that all inclusive family creative atmosphere, and it's just a joy and it's an incredible learning process as well you know once you get into something that big it's an institution you know and it means so much to so many people around the globe and you are very much aware of that responsibility you have as a member of Judas Priest coming in, from my early teens I was a Priest fan so I was very much aware of the duty that I had to fulfill, and it has just been really inclusive since day one, I mean just a pleasure to be around the guys so it surpassed my expectations really.

Right, that's awesome. And I could imagine, I can imagine that being around the guys like that would be. Go ahead

I was just going to say you can imagine those things but you just don't know some bands you imagine to be like a band of brothers and then you find out stories that they are not and that they hate each other and they never see each other, you know absolute horror story as a fan. But Priest is everything you would expect and more from a proper, we're not saying old school band, I mean they are just a group of guys playing the music that they love there is no politics, no sort of delusions of grandeur in certain members or anything like that it's just a down to earth group of buddies, like me and you turning up in a garage somewhere and playing music that we love.  It's the same thing and it's just a pleasure to be a part of.

Right on, right on.   So, your new album is out, Redeemer of Souls, I got a free copy of it for doing the interview and the review of it, so what do you have to say about it?

The Album in general, Redeemer of Souls for me, it's my first recorded studio album with Priest, it was just an incredibly natural process.  We got together, me, Glenn and Rob, we got together when we went into the studio sessions to start writing for the album, and it was a very freeing experience creatively because of the band's musical tapestry over forty years, they came from the progressive blues so there are elements of blues in their music, and they created heavy metal as we know it. So whatever off shoot of heavy metal that has come off of that they were at the forefront so they were responsible for all of these forms of metal that came out subsequently.  So because of that if you've got an idea that has blues elements,  put it on the table, or if you got something that's got speed metal elements,  or it all makes sense in the band's tapestry,  the band's history, you've got the essence of Judas Priest because that's where they come from you know.  So because of that it was an incredibly freeing experience creatively, in one way  you've got three songs then 7 songs then 12 then 15, then 19, they just kept coming out to the point we had to cut off,  we had to say let's just stop writing we've got to stop putting this stuff down or we are never going to get done, we are just going to keep writing and writing and writing,  So it was just an incredible process and education as well, and just an absolute thrill obviously to be in there writing with Glen and Rob, firing ideas off of each other, putting guitar riffs down and hearing Rob Screech over some guide vocal lines some ideas that you are coming up with some skeletal song, it was just an incredible experience, I could talk about it for days, and there were some stories in the studio that I can't say and some that I could but it was just an incredibly creative and educational experience.

Right, well that kind of veers off into my next question because my next question was going to be, how was the recording process on the album?

Well as I said before it was being grown up on a healthy diet of Judas Priest and Jimi Hendrix, and Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy and that's me personally, when you go into the studio it is engrained in you, as a musician, you know what I mean? You don't have to, I didn't have to put on a different hat or write in a different way to fit in, it was just kind of second nature, because I have always looked to bands like Priest for inspiration like tuition really,  and being directed on how to write songs at 14 or 15, you are coming up with new songs in your bands or High School, you look to these bands or a lot of these bands for inspiration and how they created these emotions with sound and how to put that part into that part and that transition into there what are they doing there, how are they doing that and each of the guitar parts as well, I have always been a fan of Priest, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, that double guitar attack. So again looking to those in the early years looking to those bands and how they write stuff, they incorporate their guitar lines, it was second nature when we got into the writing process with Priest.  So again it was great, we didn't have to sort of tailor ourselves to each other's styles,  it was just organic and very natural.  And because of that dynamic, I think we just kept firing off ideas, whether it was guitar oriented or melody oriented it all fit in, and my previous point as well about the history of the band and the different textures in the band's career, all of that added together and just created a really exciting modern experience in the studio and we'd also just gone through the Epitaph Tour which was the best part of two years' worth of touring and every night we were soaking up forty years of the band  act catalog so you had Rock and Roller up to Defenders of the Fight, you know the Sentinel next to songs from 1974 and they all fit in so I think that all seeped into your subconscious , you know and it all kind of came out again in a different way then you've got kind of blues elements in the record maybe from again the subconsciously maybe it came from that experience  and all those things came together and created that creative experience which was the Redeemer of Souls sessions.

Right, now when you recorded what equipment did you use, what brands did you use, like your amps, your guitars

Well,  me and Glenn both use Engel amplifiers, they are a German company, like the Porche of amplifiers, they are German made, they are solid, stunning sounding amplifiers, reliable, like I said they are the Porche of the amplifier world.  For guitars I use all Gibson guitars, so Les Pauls, Flying V's, SG's, and Glenn uses his Hamer's he's got his custom Phantom GT that he has used since the mid 80's so primarily we used the guitars that we are out touring with, you know, we kept it very organic, pure very honest process it was Glenn through a guitar cord into and amplifier through the microphone into the mic. You know there might have been a chorus pedal, or a phaser pedal or something that I had on or a Wah pedal sometimes, but apart from that it's the character of the musician showing through, after 40 years those guys have character in bundles you don't need over embellishment to get the character of Glenn Tipton to shine through, you know instantly it's Glenn just through a guitar cabinet you know. When Scott is playing you know it's Scott, or Rob, just through a microphone into the dash, you get a reserve on there every now and then but it's the character of the musicians showing through, and that's what the essence, to me of Judas Priest is you know as individuals and as the group, our individual characters come through and they create this one new character which is the Judas Priest we know and love.  So that's the approach we took to everything, not only the guitars but the bass, drums, guitars, and vocals, it was very pure, very honest, very raw and straight forward.   Coming from Nostradamus, it was a different experience I wasn't involved with it, but I like the album, it was a big production,  it was a lot of production tricks on there, it was a huge album, we just wanted to get back to refined, straight forward Judas Priest so that's what we did.

Nice, Nice.  What are your personal projections for the album, how do you think it's going to do worldwide?

Well you never can tell, we just had our first top ten billboard entry, we went in at number six in the United States, Amazingly, I didn't know this but, it's the first top ten entry in the main stream charts in the US for the band, I think the closest they got was number 11 with Nostradamus, so it's the first one that has gotten in the top 10 this early so it's a major achievement for the band.  You never know what the record is going to do, when you go into the studio you never know what you are going to come up with, you don't know what the end result is going to be, you don't know if these songs are going to be around in ten, twenty or thirty years like living after midnight or You've got another thing coming, you never know, no one has a crystal ball, we can just do what feels best, what feels right  for us and hopefully inspire the next generation of metal heads and guitar players like I was inspired by Screaming for Vengence or Painkiller.   If we can inspire the next KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, job done as far as I am concerned.  Or if we can just be a part of peoples collection of metal for the next 20 or 30 years, that's job done.  You never know  you never go into the studio thinking let's make some classics you just go in there and let's do what feels right, let's do our best and that's the only thing you can do so hopefully they will be around for the next 20 or 30 years to come, who knows they might not be.

Right, you never know.   So how about the tour to promote the album, I know you guys have a US tour coming up, but where all do you guys plan on touring, is it just going to be US, Britain, or do  you guys have a world tour? What countries do you plan on hitting?

Well at the moment we only have the US leg, as you know,  planned out We start in Worchester on the 1st of October, and we go right through to Salt Lake City on the 24th of November, the first leg is about 2 months' worth, as we all know these things have a tendency to evolve, you know, once you do  the US, Europe wants you so you go to Europe and you can't do Europe without doing Japan and then you got to do South America so these things have a tendency to evolve  so we haven't put the actual schedule tour together and the routing tour together yet for what's coming after the US but no doubt it will expand and  any fan out there that want to find out just keep checking back regularly on the Judas Priest website which is for any news about future tour or future dates will be coming up there but first set of dates we are going to be doing are in the states.  I can't wait to get the Redeemer of Souls tour out on the road, play some of the new songs, the classic songs and also it is Defender of the Faith's 30th anniversary this year so no doubt we will be tipping the hat to that classic album, which happens to be my favorite Priest album.  It's going to be an exciting show you've got some classics, some new ones and Defenders of the Faith no doubt.  Yeah so keep posted on the website and no doubt we will be doing some more interviews and as they come as the dates come we will let you know when they will be taking place.

Right, being Metal Temple, what we are, we're pretty international, we have writers in pretty much all the countries that you just talked about and I am sure the record label will get us tour dates that we can post on our news postings too, to let everybody know

Yeah the thing is music is universal, as you said you know you reach out to all of the different countries and air waves and that's the great thing you know through the internet and everything, you know there is pros and cons but it is absolutely worldwide you put an album out and the whole world can hear it , if they want to hear it,   I thinks that's a great thing.  Yeah but no doubt we will be doing dates in your area as well and we are going to add some more dates in Canada and a few more in the States because people go nuts you know, they say oh, you're not coming to my venue down the street?  They go crazy so we try to play dates when we can. I'm saying that we did say the last time that was the last extensive, intense world tour so at the same time we are cutting it back a bit but it seems that people just, they want the Priest which is great nand you know hopefully we can deliver to everyone.

Yeah everybody I know who likes metal loves Judas Priest

Well they invented the genre as we know it  along with Sabbath, you know if there was no Judas Priest or Black Sabbath I don't think there would be Heavy Metal, I don't think we would be talking right now. They created the world that we are living in musically they are part of everyone's make up when it comes to metal and heavy rock music so hats off to them.

Amen, to that.  Now I had mentioned earlier that I had received a copy of Redeemer of Souls you know from Epic now the next question is, how did you guys come up with the concept for the album, and the concept for the artwork as well.

Well the concept for the artwork was based around the  title track which was, we chose as Redeemer of Souls it had a very Priest like connotation to it the sad wings of destiny, you know Redeemer of Souls, Sad wings of destiny and the Redeemer of Souls is also a character, like the Painkiller or the Sentinel, you know it had that classic kind of Priest connotation to it who is he where did he come from what does he represent and there is always that kind of ambiguous good, bad, is he evil, or is he good depending on  your point of view, that kind of Priest essence that is summed up in an entire vision really and the artwork reflects that.  If you look at the full size LP as well, the vinyl it looks beautiful you know it is a big piece of artwork, where the hell is he, it's like a triple tornado where he is, where is he coming from where is he going is he the angel off Sad Wings of destiny, where did he come from that kind of connotation that is inherent in a Judas Priest character not only like musically but visually, the way it opens up your imagination to different things so that's there wasn't a concept as such, you know the last record being a concept record where this one, it all just made sense with the Judas Priest brand, wish I had a better word than brand but you know, it all fits in with what you would expect from the Judas Priest Machine. And the music again was all a representation of that from the Halls of Valhalla it takes you on to the world of Norse Mythology, with the Vikings going into Valhalla, crashing on the waves and  Sword of Damocles there are some fables in there, you know the witches and world you come across could all end tomorrow.  You know all that sort of stuff is the blend of reality and fantasy which then we all kind of associate with Metal and with Judas Priest in general. So there really wasn't a defined concept it was just let's do what Judas Priest does from the conception to the production to the writing to the artwork to the songs its all, you can show anyone any part of that chain and you can see that Judas Priest had some say in any of it, we are proud of that you know. It's all a testament to them they have been doing it for forty years, I've been in the band five minutes but we are proud of what we  have created I've been a part of the last record so it's  incredibly exciting to see that all come together and put out to the world and unleash the Redeemer. So that's where it all came from that's the approach that we took.

Nice.  Awesome. Now Personally I like the new album, I listened to it, I listened to the whole thing, I listened to the bonus tracks, and I like it.  You know I felt like it captured a piece of that classic Priest sound but it also mixes it up with a newer fresher sound and you blended the two just wonderfully together, though I have noticed that there have been a couple reviews of the album that do not share that opinion and it's kind of at least from my standpoint where I am in the magazine journalist world, I've seen a little bit of back and forth about what the people feel about the new album.  Do you have anything to say to the haters?

Really everyone has got an opinion and that's the great thing about music.  You know people, there are some classic albums out there that people hate and people love, and you know that is just the nature of the beast. It's that subjective, objective, it's an art form isn't it and there is going to be people that like it and people that loathe it, and that's just the nature of the beast.   You know it that is people's opinion then that is great I mean you have to take the criticism with the praise really, we just have to do what feels right to us.  Whatever creative genre you are in you just gotta go with your gut feeling and that's what you do as an artist, I mean some people said some things and some people said the total opposite, It's interesting really, you just gotta get out there, you just gotta do what feels right, you just gotta get out there and just see what happens.   I understood as well for every bad call in there is three good ones. But again, you can't really, you can take it on board but you can't really let it affect your art.  I don't want to sound like a hippie but you just gotta do what you feel, what you feel with a band and trust in the fact that the forty year legacy, forty year career, they know what they are doing.   So that's all you can do really, there is always going to be people who love and hate it you have to do what's true to you.

I will remember that, now my next question was actually my last question that I had gotten to and that was, how do you personally feel about the album as a whole but actually throughout the whole interview I think you have done a pretty good job of explaining that.

Well actually it's just personally it is a milestone just being included on the record you know so an exciting process just from that point of view just to play on the record but to write it as well to co-write it with Glenn and Rob and to be a part of all the decisions and the creativeness that goes into that and just see how goes on in the Judas Priest camp is a total joy and a total education and it is just going to be great to take it to the next level to see those songs that I have been a part of in the live setting with twenty thousand metal heads singing those songs that we've written it is going to be an incredibly amazing experience.  It is really kind of gratifying when you get it from the start from the early conceptions of the songs to the finished package and then out there to the live setting.  It is just a great journey and one that I am always learning from you look to the guys for what do I do here or how are they doing this.  It's incredible, it's an incredible master class.  You know when you are young you focus on the instrument, and you play the guitar and your sound and your technique, and that's great because you build up your technique and your sound.  Outside of that is a, is a whole world of music going on you know the industry, interviews, promotion, playing live, all that sort of stuff.  It is just an incredible education. You know this album is kind of signifying that whole education to me so it is really exciting to get out there.

Right, Awesome.   So do you have anything to say directly to the fans?

Well yeah, as always a huge thank you to  udas Priest fans all over the world for being so welcoming.  You know there is always a bit of skepticism when a band dynamic changes or an original member leaves and that's healthy you know to have that skepticism because you are so passionate about the band, you are passionate about where it is going to go or how it is going to evolve and credit to the fans they bought their tickets they came down, they came down to the shows and checked it out and within 30 seconds they were all banging their heads with the rest of us. So a huge thank you to them  since day one and into the future and I can't wait myself to get out there and sing these new songs and play these Priest classics again over the coming months so  we will see you out there.

Rock on, Rock on.  Well Richie, thank you for taking the time to talk to me, I really enjoyed our conversation and I look forward to seeing you guys when you play the venue in Baltimore Maryland.

It's a pleasure Eddie thank you for talking to us

You have a good day alright.

You too, Take care mate. 

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