Judas Priest, Elegant Weapons’ Richie Faulkner – Interview


Photo of RIchie Faulkner of Judas Priest performing live amid red and yellow lighting.

Judas Priest, Richie Faulkner interview feature – Story and photo by Anne Erickson

Judas Priest and Elegant Weapons guitarist Richie Faulkner joins Anne Erickson to talk about new music and more

Metal supergroup Elegant Weapons have unleashed their debut album, “Horns for a Halo,” which dropped in May via Nuclear Blast. The band features a bevy of major players, including Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, Rainbow singer Ronnie Romero, Uriah Heep bass player Dave Rimmer and Accept drummer Christopher Williams.

Judas Priest, Richie Faulkner Interview:

To the world, Elegant Weapons may seem like a new band, but the project is years in the making. According to Judas Priest and Elegant Weapons guitarist Richie Faulkner, one motivation for forming Elegant Weapons was the understanding that Judas Priest “aren’t going to be around forever.” It’s something Faulkner has known from the beginning of his time in the band.

“I’ve always been conscious of the fact that Priest aren’t going to be around forever,” Faulkner told Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio in a new interview. “I had a conversation with Glenn Tipton right at the beginning of when I joined the band, and he said, ‘You know, the band isn’t going to be around for 25 years. We know where they are in their career.’ I joined on the ‘Epitaph’ tour, which was supposed to be the farewell tour. Luckily, it wasn’t. Luckily, we’re still here. Priest is still here.”

He continued, “But, point being, it was a conscious thing, really. It was from then on, really, that I had to kind of think, well, what am I going to do when Priest are no longer here? I thought that was going to be the last tour, so I needed to think about what I was going to do after this. And luckily, 10 years later, 13 years later now, we’re still here, but it was always a conscious thing to be thinking about what I’m going to be doing after.”

When pushed about how sad it is that Judas Priest will one day play their final show, Faulkner agreed. But, he’s realistic about it.

“It’s a sad thing to think about, but it’s one of those things,” he said. “But, the good thing is, myself, Ronnie Romero who sings in the band, Christopher Williams who plays drums, Dave Rimmer, we’re all from legacy bands: Rainbow, Accept, Uriah Heep, Judas Priest. We feel like we can carry the torch, if that’s the right expression to use. We all came from these legacy bands. (These players) got chosen by these legacy bands to play with them and hopefully will carry that torch into the future. So, nothing lasts forever, but I hope we can take the idea of those bands into the future and the next generation.”

So, could Elegant Weapons become Faulkner’s main gig after Priest?

“Well, I think so,” he said. “It was never anything experimental. It kind of came from writing stuff that was organic and comes from the heart, so to speak. So, I don’t see why it couldn’t be something that carries on after Priest. It’s not like an experimental synth-pop record that I’ve put on a different hat on for.”

Regarding the new Judas Priest album, Faulkner has some good news.

“It’s almost done,” he said of the new album. “I can’t give any release dates, (because) we haven’t got any, but I think we’ve got some vocals to do, and then we’ve got to do stuff like we’ve got to mix it and master it, and then we’ve got to do stuff like artwork, packaging and then there’s the vinyl stuff. I know vinyl takes a little bit of time these days to actually make the stuff. So, I’m not sure, but as far as the recording process, I think it’s just vocals that need to be done. It’s been started, but they need to be finished. And, then the mixing process, and then especially the manufacturing process after that.”

He added, “But, it’s sounding great. I was in Phoenix with Andy Sneap and Rob (Halford) a few weeks ago, putting the vocals down, and it’s always exciting to hear new Priest tracks, because they become Priest tracks when Rob sings them. It’s like the world hasn’t heard them yet, but there’s new Priest tracks that we’re hearing for the first time. It’s really exciting hearing that characteristic voice that we’ve heard for decades signing new stuff. That’s incredibly exciting thing, so I can’t wait for the world to hear it all.”

So, what can Priest fans expect from the new record? Faulkner says it’s a more classic-sounding set.

“There are definitely a few more twists and turns on this record,” Faulkner said. “There are a few more musical parts. So, there might be a bit of…as I said, there are twists and turns. I’ve used the word progressive before, and the Internet ripped me… But it is progressive in the sense that it’s not verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus-finish. It’s musical part-verse-musical part. It might do a few twits and turns, musically. It veers from the half of it, a bit like ‘Sinner’ or ‘Tyrant’ or something like that. So, it’s a bit more ’70s Priest, which I welcome as a guitar player.”

He added, “So, every Priest album has kind of stood on its own, stylistically. It’s had that DNA of Judas Priest, because the characters are so strong. But, it’s always been a little bit different, but retaining that DNA but having its own character. So, this one is no different, really, in the sense that it’s obviously Judas Priest, but it’s its own animal. It stands on its own two legs.”

Don’t get too excited about the ’70s aspect, though. “It’s ’70s Priest, but it’s not a retro album, by any means,” Faulkner said. “It’s the influence of ’70s Priest in the progressive sense, but it sounds like Priest in 2023.”

Faulkner is thankfully healthy after his heath scare a few years ago during a performance at Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky. At the show, he was rushed to the hospital for emergency heart surgery. “It’s been an overwhelming response from the fans and friends in the industry and obviously family,” Faulkner said of the support. “It was overwhelming, everyone reaching out and sending videos of get well wishes.”

Listen to the full interview with Richie Faulkner from Judas Priest on the Audio Ink Radio podcast on Apple Podcasts here, Spotify here or via the YouTube player above. For all things Elegant Weapons, visit the band’s website.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Metal, Music

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