JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist Says New Studio Album Is ‘Shaping Up Really Well’

In a brand new interview with RollingStone.com, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner and singer Rob Halford spoke about the progress of the songwriting and recording sessions for the band’s next studio album — the group’s first since the departure of founding guitarist K.K. Downing.

“It’s coming along really well,” Faulkner said. “We’re not saying too much about it at the moment — it’s kind of early to say. But it’s shaping up really well. The great thing from a writing point of view is that PRIEST‘s brand of music is so broad, there’s a lot to take from. One extreme from the other. You can put stuff on the table and nothing is discounted. You might get some bands that are like, ‘Oh, we can’t do that, it sounds a bit like this or that.’ With PRIEST, you can put anything on the table and you’ve got the flexibility from the scope of the sound, creatively. And then you’ve got people like Halford and Glenn [Tipton, guitar], they put their stamp on it. Songs like ‘Green Manalishi’ and ‘Diamonds And Rust’ — when a band like PRIEST, with that sort of musical voice, gets on something, it becomes a whole different monster. And the same thing with the new stuff. So it’s exciting. And from my point of view, to be a part of that is ridiculous. It’s fantastic.”

Asked if he is involved in the songwriting process, Richie said: “Yes. I put some stuff on the table. It’s always been a writing team. And to even be given the chance to put stuff forward is amazing. It could have been a bit awkward if it didn’t fit in or whatever, but it fit in, and it’s all working really well. And from a fan’s point of view, I’ve been in bands before [where they said], ‘Oh, you can’t play that, it sounds like PRIEST.’ Now you can. I can’t wait to hear the finished thing.

Regarding when fans should expect to see the new PRIEST album, Halford said: “[It will be] ready when it’s ready. No rush. We don’t want to drop the ball – we’ve never dropped the ball, anyway. We’re certainly not in a ‘luxury moment.’ When you think about it, any band that was in the Eighties that was having success, you were literally making a record a year. The demand was so strong . . . I mean, in those days, you were popping out platinum albums all the time. To get remotely close to gold in today’s world is a massive achievement. It’s a different world altogether. We’ve never slacked off — we’ve always enjoyed writing, we’ve always enjoyed being in the studio. There’s never been like, ‘Oh, God, we’ve got to make another record.’ There’s always been this genuine desire. The hunger has never left us. When you wake up, it’s like, ‘Another heavy metal day. What are we going to do today?’ It’s great. As a 62-year-old man, I’m just really pleased that I’m still feeling that way about my metal. I’m a metal head — I’m sixty-fucking-two, it’s incredible. That side of PRIEST is just solid as ever. We’re eager to keep going down the metal coalmine and seeing if we can hack up some diamonds.”

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