JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner was recently interviewed by Sweetwater. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the global success of the band's new album, "Firepower":
Richie: "It's a testament to the love the fans have for PRIEST. We can only put it out there — we can create it to the best of our ability [and] put it out there, and it's the fans that put it up there, so we can only thank them for it."
On how the writing process for "Firepower" differed from the writing process for "Redeemer Of Souls":
Richie: "Obviously, 'Redeemer' was our first time writing together as a trio, and maybe we were finding our feet a little bit, and this one does definitely feel like more of a refined thing. Going in, you're more familiar as well — you've built up relationships over the years; there's more trust. I think every band does it — when you do another album, you evaluate what you can do differently. How can we make it better in terms of sound, in terms of songwriting, in terms of guitar-playing. Otherwise, there's no point in doing another one. The goal is to make it better. I think that's the case with this one — we evaluated what we needed to do, what we could do, how we could approach it differently... The more time that goes by, that synergy comes more into play. After the 'Redeemer' tour, we all came back down to Earth for a little bit. We all write all the time, so we started to put down ideas on our own. We'd get together, and [we'd ask each other] 'What have you got?' Rob [Halford] comes in and he's got some stuff as well. We're all creative people. Rob will send me a text message [or] a voice message, and I'll listen to it, and it will be a phrasing or a vocal idea or a lyric. You can hear it immediately — what the rhythm is, what the phrasing is. The song starts to take shape right there. One of the things I've learned in this process is if Rob's not into the idea, shelve it for a little while. If he's firing on something, he'll come up with lyrics that inspire, with vocal deliveries and melodies that will just blow you away. If he's not, it might take him a bit longer, so let's concentrate on this. Rob is the catalyst, really, so me and Glenn [Tipton] will get the musical side of things, and if Rob hits on it, you know you've got something and the room lights up, and you pursue that. As far as me and Glenn, I think that synergy is more mature now, the years I've been in the band. I also had a lot on the table this time — I had a lot of ideas, a lot of input, a lot of chorus, riffs and stuff."
On whether there's any leftover material from the "Firepower" writing sessions:
Richie: "We had about 25 songs. They were by no means finished, but some were three-quarters, two-thirds finished. We had 24 demos of songs that we sent out the guys and learned. But they got refined right up until the last minute. Me, Scott [Travis], Ian [Hill], Rob, Glenn, we all got into the studio together. The producers were adamant that we rehearse them and play them together. Once we rehearsed it, you could get that natural push-and-pull, and the inspiration you get from playing with [other] guys. Some of the greatest records are created playing together. The songs were being refined — new stuff put in, old stuff taken out, trim the fat, put stuff in here – right until the last minute. Then we'd press record."
On Parkinson's disease-stricken Tipton's guest appearance during the encore of PRIEST's recent New Jersey concert:
Richie: "Glenn's a fighter. He's a hero anyway, but to see him step out in front of the crowd like that knowing what he's going through and taking the bull by the horns is inspiring to anyone. Anyone that has any doubt about they don't want to get into a cold van and travel up the M25 [British highway] because it's too cold or too wet. You look at these people — and Tony Iommi's another one — that are going through real challenges, you've got to ask yourself if you really want to do it or not, because these guys are doing it still with all those challenges they face. It's an inspiration. Glenn's still in the band as and when he can, and he's still going to be involved in writing and that sort of stuff. He'll be out again — he's going to come out a bit later on in the tour and join us for the encore. We can't wait to have him back."
"Firepower" entered the Billboard 200 chart at position No. 5, making it the band's highest-charting album ever. The disc moved 49,000 equivalent album units in first week of release. Of that sum, 48,000 were in traditional album sales, just shy of the 54,000 copies sold by "Angel Of Retribution" in that album's first week. The "Firepower" chart position was bolstered by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer in association with the band's current North American tour.