JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner was recently interviewed by Greece's Rock Overdose. You can now listen to the entire chat in two parts at this location. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On JUDAS PRIEST's upcoming album, "Firepower":
Richie: "I'm really excited, and I think we are, in the band, all excited. We've put a lot of work, a lot of energy, a lot of passion into this record. We released a song earlier this month and journalists are hearing the record, so we're starting to hear feedback from people and it seems to be overwhelmingly positive, so it makes us even more excited for everyone to hear the rest of the record and put it on in the car or do whatever people do with it. So we're totally excited to be getting closer to the release date, and everyone can hear the songs, everyone can hear the record, and then we're gonna take it on tour. So it's an incredibly exciting time for JUDAS PRIEST."
On how the new album compares to 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls":
Richie: "It's hard to say when we are so close to it. We wrote the songs, we recorded the songs, we've lived with them for a while now, so it's very hard to be objective about it. But, obviously, we feel like it's a progression from 'Redeemer'. Everyone says it, but I think this is a better album than the last one. If it wasn't, there'd be no point in releasing it. So we wanted to do something that was better, that was different, that was classic JUDAS PRIEST but a modern JUDAS PRIEST for 2018. And I think we've done that. We love the songs. It's got a great energy, a great vibe. We recorded it differently, we recorded it more cohesively together. We rehearsed the songs, so it was a great experience to record and to write. And I think that comes across — when you listen to the album, you can hear that come across in the sound. So, yeah, man, I think it's a great record; I'm super proud of it. I know we all are super proud of it, and I hope the fans love it as well."
On how the writing and recording process was different from "Redeemer Of Souls":
Richie: "Personally, it was the same in terms of recording ideas and putting down ideas. It was slightly different in terms of the way I approached the guitar, but in terms of the songs and the recording, definitely. For 'Redeemer', [guitarist] Glenn Tipton and Mike Exeter produced the record. For this one, we all thought, 'What can we do differently? How can we do things different to 'Redeemer'?' and the production team was one of those things. So we got in Mike Exeter again as an engineer, and we also brought in Tom Allom and Andy Sneap to produce. So it was two producers this time — one from a classic period of PRIEST's career and a more modern producer. And it was a great, great marriage. They are two great producers. You know what? It could have gone horribly wrong. There could have been egos, they could have been going into each other's territory, and we didn't know if it was gonna work or not. But I'll tell you what: it worked beautifully. Tom being a more classic producer, he had certain ways of doing things, which complemented Andy Sneap's different ways of doing things, and they just worked fantastically together. And they were adamant that we got together in the same room with the songs that we had and we played them and we rehearsed them and we felt the songs out and we felt what it needed — the push and pull of music that happens naturally that you get from playing with people is what they wanted to bring back. And I don't think PRIEST has done that since 'Painkiller', according to [drummer] Scott Travis; he said that was the last time that they did it. And I think it really affects the feel of the songs, it affects the vibe and just affects the energy of the end result. [So] there were a couple of things that we did differently, which really affected the final result."
On whether PRIEST intentionally revisited some of its earlier albums for inspiration when making "Firepower":
Richie: "I don't think that was a conscious thing; we didn't try to go back anywhere. But I think that's a natural characteristic of JUDAS PRIEST's music. We try and push forward [and] we want to sound relevant and current and a modern JUDAS PRIEST in 2018. Of course, there are gonna be certain characteristics in JUDAS PRIEST's music which sound like they could have been from 'Defenders Of The Faith'. Dude, I'm a fan as well. We all love PRIEST, we all grew up with PRIEST, and we identify PRIEST with different parts of our lives and different albums. So that's always gonna be there. But it's definitely not a conscious thing to go in and recreate something from 1986. We do what we do, we go forward, and then it's up to the listener to make that connection. And we always do — I listen to 'Painkiller' and I can hear stuff from 'Rapid Fire' or different songs throughout the time. You can hear references all through the career — that's the same thing here. But it's definitely not a conscious thing."
"Firepower" will be released on March 9 via Epic. The cover artwork for the follow-up to 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" was created by the Chilean/Italian digital artist and photographer Claudio Bergamin.
The North American leg of the "Firepower" tour will kick off on March 13 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and will wrap on May 1 in San Antonio, Texas. Support on the trek will come from SAXON and BLACK STAR RIDERS.