New JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist: ‘I’m Just There To Do The Best I Can For The Band And The Fans’

Robert Gray of recently conducted an interview with new JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner. An excerpt from the chat follows below. How do you feel about replacing K.K. Downing?

Faulkner: First of all, it was a huge honour just to be even considered. I’ve been a fan of the band for years, and so it was a bit of a double-edged sword, really; it was a great opportunity for me as a guitar player and as a fan, but at the same time he was one of my heroes and didn’t want to do it anymore. It was a double-edged sword, really, but I’ve always said to people, as a fan myself, I know what fans expect. JUDAS PRIEST wanted to carry on and they were asking me to join to be able to carry on, so it was a no-brainer in my mind. One of the guys who was my idol had left, and you have to respect the guys’ decision. The band wanted to carry on, and again it was a great honor to do it and it was a great honor to be put forward. I’m not there to replace a forty-year career; Ken‘s career was influential, and before those two guys came out and did that style of guitar, there weren’t many people doing it. He was a guitar hero idol of mine, and I’m not there to replace any of that. I know as a fan what the fans expect, and I’m just there to do the best I can for the band and the fans. How has fan reaction been then?

Faulkner: Initially I think people were sceptical, which is natural, really. I think I would’ve been sceptical because right up until Ken‘s departure, it was like that for forty years, and if something changes, people’s first reactions tend to be an unsure one. When people are unsure, they’re fearful of the outcome. We’re through the worst, and as I said, people are skeptical, but we knew that as soon as we got out and did the first couple of shows and went from there that the fans would see with their own eyes and their own ears that the band is fine and that it’s a good fit. Hats off to the fans, really, for giving it that chance; they still got their tickets and gave the band a chance, and hopefully they weren’t and won’t be disappointed. They’ve been fantastic, and with every show that we do, the more of an amazing welcome reaction I get. A big thank you to them really for giving me the chance and the band a chance. How do you go about interpreting parts you didn’t play on?

Faulkner: Being a fan, I was familiar with K.K.‘s style, and I always felt that what K.K. did on record and what he played live differed slightly. He used to keep the same motifs live, so there were certain bits in the solos that he kept the same and with other parts he used to improvise and do his own thing and I’m a big fan of that. I’ve always been that sort of player — Hendrix used to do that as well. His approach is similar in the way that I play as well, so I kept that similar. I didn’t have to really think a lot about how to interpret what he was doing, and how I was gonna play it live. It was part of my make-up as a player anyway. I like to take those motifs in a song and in a solo based on the vibe and the energy, and just make it a bit different and go off somewhere else. I think that’s a big part of Ken‘s playing, and live music in general; it changes slightly, you never know what quite to expect and you also want to sing along to those certain parts in the solo, so I kept them in as well. It wasn’t something that I had to think about because it was something that I incorporated into my playing anyway, so it was quite similar in that respect. So you’ve definitely put your stamp on the live sound of JUDAS PRIEST?

Faulkner: In a sense. I mean, I just do what I do, and maybe people can hear a different sound or a different stamp on certain things. I’m sure they can, but I just tried to do the best that I could do with what I knew to do, what I knew of K.K.‘s playing and what I knew of the band’s style and sound. I just stayed true to that, really, and as I said, it was part of the style of music that I play anyway. I grew up in metal; I didn’t have to change my sound, and I didn’t have to change the way I play. It was inherited from those guys anyway, so it’s an expression of my playing with all that mixed in — PRIEST, MAIDEN, METALLICA, all of that stuff that I was into as a younger player. As I said, it was all inherited from those guys, so it’s all in there.

Read the entire interview from

Photo credit: Andrew Ogilvy




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