Richie Faulkner (left) breaks the law with Glenn Tipton.
Replacing a longtime member of a legendary band is never easy, but when Faulkner replaced K.K. Downing in 2011, he faced having to hold up his end of one of the most iconic dual-guitar teams in metal with Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton. Here, Faulkner—who appears on Priest’s new live DVD Epitaph [Legacy]—details how he navigated the tricky waters of being “the new guy.” —DF
As a guitarist, no matter what I'm doing I want tobe creative. But I also have a legacy to uphold in Judas Priest. For example, when I’m representing a classic K.K. solo like the one in “Victim of Changes,” although much of what he did on the original version was improvised and crazy with whammy bar stuff, there are key points I need to hit in order to be respectful. Luckily, I find I can hit the performance and vibe of those essential parts because I learned how to play and how to sound by listening to Priest, Iron Maiden, and other bands like them. Of course, playing with Glenn and his twin-guitar pedigree makes things a whole lot easier.
Obviously, I want to seamlessly and cleverly inject my own style into Priest’s music, as well. This can often happen naturally, because no matter what type of music you’re playing, your style will start to come through the more you play the tunes. You will gain different insights, get inspired, and find little spots where you can improvise and bring your own personality into the music. Hopefully, this makes the music more exciting for you and for the audience.