Planet Metal conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner on July 30 at the See-Rock festival in Graz, Austria. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the biggest change in his life in the four years since he joined JUDAS PRIEST:
Faulkner: "It's been exciting right from Day One. I think the biggest thing has been the sense of family, both in the band and with the fans as well. You know, the inclusive, creative atmosphere within the band — everyone's got an opinion; everyone's valued in the band; they're asked for opinions; and opinions are put forward: what we're gonna do set-wise, what songs we're gonna take out, how [we] can change things, production ideas… And then with the fans as well — that whole community feeling kind of transcends into the live situation as well. So, in the beginning, I think there was a bit of skepticism from the fans, which is natural. You know, they're passionate fans — they've been with PRIEST for forty years — and because of their passion, it's healthy to have that amount of skepticism. But when we went out and we started playing shows — and we're still playing shows now where the fans hadn't seen me with the band — and they've been nothing less than amazing: accepting, welcoming… I mean, everyone works hard for their money, and they've bought tickets and they've come down to see the band that they love, with me in it, and within thirty seconds, they've got their arms in the air, their horns out, and they're singing along with us. I think that's what they're saying — they might be saying bad things to me — but it looks like they're singing the songs. So I think that's the most overwhelming thing about being in PRIEST."
On how he deals with the criticism from JUDAS PRIEST fans about the band's latest album and his first LP with the band, last year's "Redeemer Of Souls":
Faulkner: "Well, I think it goes with the business. If you make any creative statement, you're gonna get people that don't like it and people that do like it. And that's just the way it is. If everyone liked it, half of them would be lying. You know what I mean? We can't all like the same things, and that's fine. Some people didn't like 'Painkiller', some people didn't like 'British Steel'; other people did. Again, when you make a creative statement like that, you've just gotta take the rough with the smooth. If you're doing what you think is right, you've gotta go ahead and do that. And we're playing night after night in loads of countries around the world, and there's thousands of people out there, so I think that's the proof, really — that's the proof that we're doing something right, and going from strength to strength."
On JUDAS PRIEST's return to the "classic" sound on "Redeemer Of Souls" and whether there is a chance that the band will ever make another experimental record like "Turbo" or "Nostradamus":
Faulkner: "Yeah, I think that's a possibility, of course, but we felt at the time — I mean, definitely the guys felt at the time — that they'd done a concept album, they've got it out of their system, and it felt right to go back to a classic PRIEST sound. I don't think it was a case of people were asking for it, so we did it for that reason. The band were aware that that's what the fans wanted, but it also had to be right from the band as well, and we felt that we just went into the studio and wrote what came from the heart. I mean, as far as 'classic' is concerned, 'classic' can mean so different things — it could be a classic sound, or a classic album after thirty years, or a classic concept. You know what I mean? So it can mean so many different things to so many different people. But we just felt… There's blues elements on there, there's… People can say there's power metal elements on there. But I think PRIEST gave birth to all those different strains of metal. And, again, in the studio, we just felt that if it felt right, and it was a good song and a good idea, go with it. So it was good creatively. I mean, there's things on there that PRIEST haven't done before, there's blues elements that PRIEST have done before. So some people like it, some people don't. But that's the same with every record, for every band's career, I think."
On whether he ever thinks about what he will do once JUDAS PRIEST has officially retired from touring and recording:
Faulkner: "Yeah, it's always in the back of my mind. But, I mean, at the moment, we're touring, we're thinking about new records, we're thinking about… we might tour again next year. So that's where the focus is, and it has to be… in my mind anyway. There's stuff that I come up with all the time that might not be PRIEST… it might sound slightly different, so that might go in the file somewhere and I might revisit it later on. But for the moment, my focus is a hundred percent PRIEST."
JUDAS PRIEST is continuing to tour in support of its latest album, "Redeemer Of Souls", which was released in July 2014. The follow-up to 2008's double-disc concept album "Nostradamus" was billed as a return to JUDAS PRIEST's heavy-metal roots.
"Redeemer Of Souls" sold around 32,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart.