All five members of JUDAS PRIEST Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, Scott Travis, and the band's latest addition, 31-year-old guitarist Richie Faulkner (LAUREN HARRIS, DIRTY DEEDS) took part in a press conference yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, May 24) at the Renaissance Hotel at Highland and Hollywood in Los Angeles to answer questions about the upcoming "Epitaph" U.S. tour and to formally introduce Faulkner. You can now watch more video footage of the entire event below.
On the band's upcoming farewell tour:
Tipton: "It's not the end of the band, by any means. It is our last world tour. It takes a big chunk of your life 18 months, really, of being out there. We've been doing it for nearly 40 years now. It's not to say that it will be our last shows, and we certainly will [be] and have been recording, so chances are that there will be a [new] album as well next year. We would never turn down the appropriate dates if we were offered them at some point in the future, but it will be our last world tour. It's probably the last chance that most people will get to see JUDAS PRIEST live. We wanna go out one final time and play our songs and just be together with the audience."
On the musical and lyrical direction of JUDAS PRIEST's new material:
Tipton: "It's quite a mixed bag. Really, there's more sentiment on this album. In a way, I suppose, it's also our farewell album, although it might not be our last one. There are some anthems on there, which pay tribute to our fans; it's our fans of saying thank you and the lyrics relate to that, it's saying thank you to the fans for all the years."
Halford: "I think what really is important is that we still have this desire, this passion it doesn't diminish in nearly 40 years; we still have this tremendous love for what we do in heavy metal music and the fans that have supported us are a constant inspiration. And I think we all agree that as much as we were very happy with the way [the JUDAS PRIEST concept album] 'Nostradamus' came out that was a great moment for us, because we had been waiting forever to make this concept album that's not the end with 'Nostradamus'. We have other ideas that we wanna explore later. But wanted to make, at least, as Glenn said, one more great metal album that really has all the great traditions and attributes of PRIEST in the music, and we think we've got that down, pretty much."
Tipton: "We've [already recorded and] mixed three [new] tracks, which we might put on our web page, because, as I said, some of the songs are a tribute to the fans a big 'thank you' to the fans for all the years so we might do that; we haven't really decided [how we'll release them]. But that's one of the suggestions. I think we've done about 10 songs, but they're not finished three of them are mixed, the rest [need more work]. And, of course, we haven't done any collaboration with Richie yet. So it's early days, but there will be an album at some point we just need time to finish it, really, and that depends on the touring schedule, how heavy that is and how many breaks we've got. 'Cause even if you get a break, when you've been on the road two or three months playing every night, you probably don't feel like going into the studio; it wouldn't be the most productive time, really. Sometimes you need to walk away from music for a little bit. But at some point next year, I'm confident we'll release an album."
On Richie Faulkner's addition to the band:
Tipton: "It's amazing, really. When Ken [former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Kenneth 'K.K.' Downing] informed us he was leaving PRIEST, we had two choices we either carry on and do the farewell tour, or we could have ended the band. So, obviously, we had to find the right guy, and honestly, we couldn't have found any better than this guy. The most amazing thing is he satisfies everybody's need for how PRIEST should sound in his role, but he does it in his own way. It's pretty unbelievable; he blended into the band straight away. And, as Rob said earlier on, honestly, if we hadn't found Richie, I don't think we would be going out [on tour] now, so it's just worked out really, really well for us."
On what Richie has brought to JUDAS PRIEST's sound compared to K.K. and how it feels being part of the band:
Faulkner: "I come from [the classic-rock] era [LED] ZEPPELIN and [JIMI] HENDRIX and I think K.K.'s playing was Hendrix-inspired as well, so that's kind of similar there. What it feels like to be a part of it, you can only imagine it's kind of surreal, really. But as a fan of the band and the genre, they are big shoes to fill, but I know what I've gotta do and I'm not trying to As a fan, and as part of the band now, it's exciting as a guitar player and as a musician."
On whether it was difficult learning JUDAS PRIEST's songs:
Richie: "I knew some of them already, to be honest, and it's kind of where I come from musically, so it wasn't difficult in a sense. That's what I've been brought up, that's what I've been raised on."
Check out photos from the press conference:
Revolver TV footage:
Stephanie Cabral footage
Photo below by Stephanie Cabral