JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner was recently interviewed by Australia's Heavy magazine. The complete conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the group's mindset as they entered the studio to record new album "Firepower":
Richie: "It was no different to the 'Redeemer Of Souls' record, really, in the sense that we wanted to make something that would be better, would sound better, would have better songs, would be better performances, and all that sort of stuff, which I think the guys have done every time they've recorded an album, to be honest. If you didn't want something to be better, and do something better, there'd be no point in doing another one. We went in — me, Rob [Halford] and Glenn [Tipton] — we put our song ideas on the table and we started putting them together, and matching ideas together and crossing the songs, and it just went from there, really. The funny thing is, when you go into a writing session like that, you have nothing — you've got some ideas, but there's nothing [that's] really taken shape. Then, all of a sudden, it starts to take shape, and at the end of it, you've got this living, breathing thing. It sounds a certain a way; it connects with people further on down the line — it becomes part of someone's drive to work or drive to a show; and in the beginning, you have nothing. I think it's an amazing thing to be a part of, really, to see that progression from a seed of an idea to [now]."
On whether the band is "nervous" or "excited" before releasing a new album:
Richie: "It's a bit of both. I know I do. I think Rob and Glenn, being the writers as well as me, they're the veterans of it, so they've seen it before — but I get a bit nervous. We get right up until a week before we're going to release, and I'm thinking, 'Is it right? Are the kick drums right? Is the guitar sound right?' You never know. Some of the worst-received albums in history were good ideas at the time, and the band put them out and they weren't well-received. Everyone wants their album to be well-received. You put a lot of work into it. Of course, there's some anxiety and some nerves, but it is all because you want it to be the best and you want people to like it and you want to resonate with them. It's worry or anxiety for good reasons."
On the differences in how "Firepower" co-producers Andy Sneap and Tom Allom worked:
Richie: "Each producer is its own entity, but in this case, Andy was a bit more hands-on — he had his hands on the controls — whereas Tom was sitting behind him with the ideas. They'd both contribute idea-wise, but Andy was actually the one on the system. Maybe some of the advancements in modern times, the recording interfaces and stuff, Andy was more used to using. I'm sure they both contributed to each other's [efforts]. Tom might have been showing Andy some old, classic techniques of recording, and Andy might have been showing Tom some new techniques. I think they both benefited from that if that was the case. But they're both great producers in terms of mic placements and sounds they want to get and the way they tune the drums and the guitar sounds, so it really freed us up as a band to concentrate on the songs, the performance and interacting with each other as we recorded the songs. The mood in the studio was fantastic. That can't be understated. There's nothing worse than a grumpy old producer that just wants to get out of there and get dinner. It was just a great vibe. They're great personalities and we had lots of fun too, which is very important."
On how the group's new material has been going over in concert:
Richie: "Really well. We've got three in the set at the moment, and what we want to do as we go further into this tour is introduce more songs from the album into the setlist. You've got to be careful initially that you put too many in; not everyone around the world knows the song. We've had a high-charting album, but that doesn't mean that everyone in the room knows any of the songs, so we've got to be careful initially, but the idea is to put more of them in as we progress through the tour, so it's going be exciting about what we can put in."
On his favorite PRIEST track to play live:
Richie: "It's a difficult question. Obviously, the new tracks, I'm connected to them in a different way, but growing up with the band, the older, classic songs also connect with me in a different way. There's songs like 'Sinner', 'Bloodstone', 'Evil Never Dies' — I love playing that song. There's other classics in there as well like 'Running Wild', and 'Painkiller' is great [and] intense — it's great playing that track. As I said, we're looking to put in more in the set, which I can't disclose what they're going to be, but I look forward to playing those as well."
On what listeners should ultimately take from "Firepower":
Richie: "I don't think as a collective there's one single statement from the record, but if there was one, it's probably that 50 years later, a band can still put out music that's relevant, that connects with people, and if you don't think you've got what it takes, I think you can look at PRIEST and think, 'Well, these guys have done it — they've got 50 years [of experience] and they're still putting out material that's connecting with people.' I think you can take that on board as your own, sort of, 'You can do it.' There's a lot of positive messages on the record. There's a lot of positive statements, overcoming challenges and all that sort of stuff, which PRIEST has always been famous for. It's a new, modern heavy metal record from a band that was formed in 1969, so it's a great statement for music, it's a great statement for heavy metal, and I think it inspires anyone that wants to put their own thing together and put their own creative statement out there."
"Firepower" was released on March 9 via Epic.
On May 1, JUDAS PRIEST wrapped up the first North American leg of the "Firepower" tour in San Antonio, Texas. The group will return to the U.S. this fall for a co-headlining tour with DEEP PURPLE.