Artisan News caught up with new JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner last month at the first-ever Rock Roll Roast at The Grove in Anaheim, California and asked him about the band’s ongoing “Epitaph” tour, which kicked off last spring (see video below).
“The tour has been going great,” he said. “It couldn’t have been gone any better, really. The band’s been on fire. I like to think I’ve injected a bit of energy back into them. So hopefully it just keeps going.”
When asked about what it has been like replacing PRIEST‘s founding guitarist Kenneth “K.K.” Downing, Faulkner said, “It was an incredible honor just to be considered for it, as you can imagine. Big shoes to fill, but what do you do? There are challenges in life and that was one I knew I could take.”
In a 2011 interview with Ultimate-Guitar.com, Faulkner stated about the task of replacing PRIEST’s longtime guitarist Kenneth “K.K.” Downing, “First of all, it was a huge honor 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.”
When asked abou the fan reaction to his addition to JUDAS PRIEST, Faulkner said, “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.”
Photo credit: Andrew Ogilvy