Rob Cavuoto of Guitar International recently conducted an interview with guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner of British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Guitar International: Tell me about Richie Faulkner joining the band and the audition process involved?
Glenn Tipton: We originally approached another guitarist and he was very honest and told us he didn’t think he fit the bill. So we asked him if he knew any great guitar players and he recommended Richie. We emailed Richie and he didn’t get back to us. In actuality, he thought our requests were a prank. We eventually got in touch with him and he came up to my house to show me what he could do. He started to play and straightaway I thought we had our guy. I asked him to work on a few PRIEST songs and to send me a tape to see what his take was. It couldn’t have been better. He does his own thing to our songs and it fits perfectly into what we do. I don’t know who would be here if we didn’t find Richie. I immediately liked him as a person, which is very important in this band. It’s not just about playing, but getting along as well.
Guitar International: Tell me what Richie brings to the band?
Glenn Tipton: We’ve only been playing together for less than six months but every night live, Richie changes the songs up a bit by adding his own licks here and there. We are still learning from each other. We are also learning visual things, so there is more impact on the audience. It’s not all about playing the guitar on stage; it’s about presences, being at the right place at the right time, giving the band visual strength.
Guitar International: What did you do to prepare for the audition?
Richie Faulkner: I had been in cover bands before and we did a few PRIEST numbers. I went to meet with Glenn the day after I got the call so I really didn’t have time to prepare. I was confident that I knew enough though. So when I went down there, I played a few licks as well as a few bits and pieces of other songs. Glenn asked me to learn three PRIEST songs from their set which are big K.K. [Downing] solos like “Victim Of Changes”, “Blood Red Skies” and “Beyond The Realms Of Death”.
Guitar International: What was the thing that tipped the scales in Richie‘s favor?
Glenn Tipton: He is an amazing guitar player. He knew exactly what to do and knew what was right for the band, yet provided his take on our songs. We wanted the band to sound the same and wanted to give Richie the freedom to do his own thing. That might not have worked with most players.
Guitar International: What are the band’s plans to record a new CD?
Glenn Tipton: Rob and I started writing last January and February. We have eight to ten strong ideas with four almost complete. We now want to work with Richie, and the prospect of developing new material with him. I can see more than one LP in our future and the ideas we have already been changing with Richie‘s input. It’s a whole new area and I’m not sure how it’s going to work out, but from what I’ve heard with Richie‘s playing I’m really optimistic and excited that we will come up with some great music. There is a lot of life left in the band. I know we have talked about this being our farewell tour, but it’s really a farewell tour of the planet! It doesn’t mean that we are playing our last shows. We have a lot of energy. It’s very difficult to give up. If the band was offered a string of dates, I’m sure we will consider them. We still have some shelf life left.
Read the entire interview from Guitar International.