Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner spoke about his background in the band when he replaced K.K. Downing in 2011.
Downing served as the longest-serving guitarist of metal icons, joining the band in 1970 – just a year after their formation (replacing the late John Perry and Ernie Chataway) – and performing with them until their eventual hiatus in 1992, and then after their reunion in 1996. until his departure in about 15 years.
Faulkner, on the other hand, was born in 1980 — by that time Judas Priest had already released five albums — but it did him good because he grew up on their music. He spoke about the transition from Downing in a new interview with Great Day Houston, where he noted that before playing in the band itself, he knew how to play their songs, thanks to his stay in a hard rock cover band.
“I played in a cover band in London and all over the UK,” he said, “and Judas Priest songs were a staple of a performing rock guitarist’s diet. You know, you needed to know Judas Priest, Deep Purple and Iron Maiden and all these songs if you wanted to play regularly. So I was intimately familiar with the band’s material.
“[I] had never met this band before — I knew one of their former drummers, Les Binks, and one day their management called me. I was a little… Do you know “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, where oatmeal is just right? I wasn’t a brand new guy who was afraid of the stage, but for the last 10 years I haven’t been in an area where I would have a list of requirements. You know, I was right in the middle.”
About how he merged with his new bandmates at first sight, Faulkner said: “I think half of it was in size. You just kind of get carried away with the wave of it. You realize how much this means to many people around the world. I think I was ready for the challenge. I know what it means to be a guitarist in such a significant band.”
Watch the full interview below:
Downing reunited with Judas Priest earlier this year, performing with the band at the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. At the ceremony, Judas Priest received an award for musical excellence that Rob Halford was less than thrilled about, admitting in July that he was “a little angry” that the band was not honored as performers.
Meanwhile, in September, Faulkner announced that he was recovering from a second open-heart operation. “Just before our tour of Europe,” he said at the time, “a scan showed a hole in one of the connections between the synthetic graft and my own aorta.”
After completing his recovery, Faulkner hit the road again with Judas Priest, continuing their “50 Years of Heavy Metal” tour over the following months. On a date in Wallingford, Connecticut, they performed the classic deep version of “Genocide” for the first time in 40 years.
As for their future plans, Judas Priest are going to join Ozzy Osbourne on the UK leg of his rescheduled No More Tours 2 tour, which starts in June. When he’s not busy with these duties, Faulkner will most likely spend some time with Elegant Weapons, his newly formed supergroup with Pantera and Rainbow members.