The Duke of the WSOU 89.5 FM radio station recently conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST drummer Scott Travis and guitarist Richie Faulkner. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On JUDAS PRIEST's new album, "Firepower", being a "heavier" record than 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls":
Richie: "I think 'heavy' means so many different things — it could be heavy in terms of sound, it could be heavy in terms of speed, it could be heavy in terms of lyrical content. So it's hard to know what someone's interpretation of 'heavy' means. But I think it's a more energetic record — I think there's more fire in it — which is one of the reasons why 'Firepower' was a relevant title to call the record. It's got that kind of intensity. I don't think 'Redeemer' was lacking in that respect, but this one's definitely got more of it. It's got fast stuff, it's got groovier stuff. So I agree with you — it's got some heavy stuff on there."
Scott: "Some remiscence of older, classic PRIEST pieces. But it's JUDAS PRIEST, so they're allowed to, basically, borrow from their own collection of sounds and songwriting tidbits, if you will. 'Cause we've heard some feedback that certain songs, or certain pieces of a song, will remind them of something off of a previous PRIEST album. Without naming any names, 'cause it's better for you guys to come up with your own interpretations or conclusions, but we've definitely heard that a lot."
Richie: "I think 'Firepower' might be the fastest PRIEST song. Especially in terms of the drum approach. A friend of mine, he said it sounds like 'Painkiller', but faster. So I can't think of another song that's quicker than 'Painkiller'. So if you define heavy in terms of speed, it's a pretty heavy track, it's pretty full-on."
On how much room for experimentation there is in JUDAS PRIEST's songwriting:
Scott: "With JUDAS PRIEST, and I'm going even before I joined the band, they had a lot of diverse stuff back then. I mean, they did a Joan Baez cover, for god's sake, and they turned it into a heavy metal classic. Not a lot of metal bands probably would have attempted that, so that was very off the cuff for the day. And then they had the 'Turbo' album, which, I guess, all the traditional JUDAS PRIEST fans thought that was a bit of a diversion. And 'Point Of Entry' supposedly got some critical flak — one of my all-time favorite albums, personally, with killer songs like 'Hot Rockin'', 'Desert Plains' and 'Solar Angels'. But anyway, apparently that took a little bit of heat, 'cause, again, critics, I'm doing airquotes, 'It's not JUDAS PRIEST or traditional.' So the point is they've been laying the groundwork to try different ideas for many, many, many years and many albums. So it kind of is cool for us, newer guys, and Richie being a newer writer and stuff, is that PRIEST has always experimented — 'Nostradamus' is another example — but PRIEST has always experimented with different… I wouldn't say different 'sounds,' 'cause that's too simple to describe, but just different writing and performing elements of songs. But PRIEST, I think, they haven't pigeonholed themselves to say, 'Wow, we've gotta be making the same record year after year, just change the songtitles,' like some [other] bands [do]."
Richie: "For me personally, it's a fine line, there's a balance. 'Cause you wanna do new stuff, you wanna creatively say different things but you're also aware of the brand of JUDAS PRIEST and the following of millions of people around the world that identify with JUDAS PRIEST as a certain type of sound. But then you can't let people determine… make you chase what you think people want; you can't do that either. So it's a fine line, and it definitely does cross your mind. You couldn't do a synth-pop album and put [the name] JUDAS PRIEST on it; that wouldn't be the right thing to do. So it's definitely a conscious thing that you know what fans expect, but you can't let it shape what we do as artists."
"Firepower" will be released on March 9 via Epic. The disc was recorded by British producer Andy Sneap, the band's longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). The cover artwork for "Firepower" 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.