During a recent appearance on the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner spoke about the overwhelmingly positive response to the band's latest album, "Firepower".
"It's always a thrill when the music that you create connects with the fans, and you see there's a lot of positivity with the record — it seems to have connected around the world, really," he said (hear audio below). "It's only been out five months and we've got a lot of positive feedback from around the world — from Japan, from the States, from South Africa. All around the globe, people seem to be connecting with this record, and it's a thrill, man.
"All you can do is do your best, give a thousand percent, and put it out there," he continued. "In 2018, for a band like PRIEST… And there's a few [others] putting out new music… We were just out with SAXON and BLACK STAR RIDERS; they're classic bands [releasing] new music. They're not resting on their laurels — they're playing new music, writing new stuff and forging forward.
"There are young kids in the audience, and they see these bands for the first time and they hear one of our new songs in the same way that I heard 'Breaking The Law' for the first time," he added. "Hopefully it will inspire them to pick up a guitar or a drum kit or a microphone and create their own thing.
"It's amazing to be part of a legacy act like JUDAS PRIEST. Hopefully we can be part of someone's future and they can fly the flag into 2019 and beyond. So it's an incredible honor, man."
"Firepower" was released in March via Epic. The disc entered the Billboard 200 chart at position No. 5, making it the band's highest-charting album ever. 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" debuted and peaked at No. 6, while 2008's "Nostradamus" landed at No. 11 and 2005's "Angel Of Retribution" came in at No. 13.
"Firepower" 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 spring 2018 North American tour.
Longtime JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Glenn Tipton found out he had Parkinson's disease four years ago — after being stricken by the degenerative condition at least half a decade earlier — but only recently announced he was going to sit out touring activities in support of "Firepower". The guitarist, who is now 70 and has performed on every PRIEST LP since the band's 1974 debut set, "Rocka Rolla", is not quitting the band, but simply cannot handle the rigorous challenges of performing live. He is being replaced on the road by "Firepower" producer Andy Sneap, who is also known as the guitar player in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrashers SABBAT.
JUDAS PRIEST and DEEP PURPLE have joined forces for a co-headlining North American tour. The 25-date trek launched August 21 in Cincinnati and will conclude September 30 in Wheatland, California.