JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner spoke to Sweetwater's Nick Bowcott about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's follow-up to 2018's "Firepower" album. He said (see video below): "We did some writing in February before [the coronavirus pandemic] hit. I think it was during the time it was all coming to the surface that there was this virus going around, and me and Rob [Halford, vocals], luckily, just about made it back to the States before the lockdown came into effect. But we did get about a month's worth of writing done, and we've got a bunch of songs. And they're by no means finished. When you start writing something, you've got a few ideas and then they become more fleshed out, and all of a sudden, you've got a start, a middle and an end — it's almost like a skeleton, with bare bones. But you need some meat and potatoes and some muscle to put on it. So we need stuff like midsections and harmony sections and guitar solos — lots of guitar solos… We've got a bunch of them together. We're just waiting for the time when we can get back together again and start playing 'em and recording 'em together.
"We found out, or I found out — I'd never done it like this before — but on the 'Firepower' record, we all played it live before we recorded them," he continued. "And we recorded the drums live while me and Ian [Hill, bass] played and Rob sang and Glenn [Tipton, guitar] was there. You've got the songs close to finished, and when you play them, you realize there's probably another 10, 15 percent to go — trim some fat here; this needs another part; it's too slow here; speed that up; pull this back. And that only becomes apparent, really, I found out, when you play it together, like you would in a live gig.
"So we wanna get back together at some point and flesh these songs out, play together. And I'll tell you what, when you get Scott Travis in a room, he's such a musical drummer, and he's such a respectful drummer — he loves [former JUDAS PRIEST drummer] Les Binks; he's a huge Les Binks fan — so when he's playing the songs, he's always aware of, 'This little Les Binks hi-hat part here,' or he does things spontaneously that just change the song for the better. So getting him in the room and playing together is just monumental, I think, in the creation of a PRIEST record.
"So, again, a long-winded answer there, but we're just waiting for the opportunity to get together and play in a room together."
As previously reported, all of JUDAS PRIEST's previously announced 2020 tour dates appear to have been either canceled or postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic which is sweeping the globe.
JUDAS PRIEST's spring/summer 2020 European tour was scheduled to kick off on May 30 in Helsinki, Finland and conclude on July 28 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The band was also slated to headline the U.K's Bloodstock Open Air festival on August 9 at Catton Park, Derbyshire.
The U.S. leg of the "50 Heavy Metal Years" tour was due to launch September 9 in Oxon Hill, Maryland and wrap up on October 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Faulkner recently said it is likely the next JUDAS PRIEST album will be once again produced by Tom Allom and Andy Sneap.
Allom and Sneap worked on "Firepower", which was the band's second LP to feature Faulkner, who was selected to fill the void left by founding guitarist K.K. Downing following his exit in 2011.