Faulkner got Priest job in Tipton’s kitchen
Judas Priest new recruit Richie Faulkner has revealed he was offered the job of replacing KK Downing while the band were in Glenn Tipton’s kitchen.
The guitarist was yesterday enjoying the atmosphere backstage at the tenth Download Festival in Donington Park. It’s the same place Priest appeared in 1980 for the first-ever Monsters of Rock event as second-headline act under Rainbow. And unlike the modern three-day, 140-band extravaganza, that formative event lasted a single day and featured just seven acts.
Faulkner was invited to join the metal gods after Downing astonished fans by announcing he’d quit last year, ahead of their last-ever world tour. Priest will continue playing and are working on a new album, but don’t plan on travelling round the world again in the future.
He tells Total Rock: “I got the call one day while I was trying to get some sleep. I don’t know why – it was about two in the afternoon.
“They told me what they were planning for the Epitaph World Tour setlist, and then picked a few songs out and they wanted to hear what I’d do. I sent back a CD and they invited me down.
“When I got there they said, ‘The gig’s yours if you want it. Do you want it?’ I said ‘Yes,’ trying to contain my excitement and be all cool in Glenn’s kitchen.”
While it might be expected a band of Priest’s vintage are set in their ways, Faulkner – who advocates playing live as much as possible even if it’s only in covers bands – likes to do things his own way. “I like to get up on stage a bit early and soak up the vibe,” he explains, “But they come up about three seconds before we go on, once they’ve done their makeup or whatever.”
The guitarist adjusted quickly to the experience of playing to much larger audiences than those he’d seen with Lauren Harris’ band – now renamed Six Hour Sundown – who were rained off Friday’s Download bill but played an acoustic set on Saturday.
“You’re doing it so often you don’t get nervous,” he said. “It’s a different kind of energy. But it’s still amazing, like when the curtain came down at Wacken and you suddenly see 80,000 people.”
Meanwhile, producer Pete Waterman of pop hitmakers Stock Aitken & Waterman has revealed he still listens to the Judas Priest tracks he worked on in 1988. The band were experimenting with a new direction at the time, but the material was never released – although Waterman insists it would have been popular.
He tells Drowned in Sound: “They’re probably the best tracks we ever did, but quite rightly their manager said no. We’ve have given them number-one records. And if you’d given Judas Priest number-one records they couldn’t have coped with that. It would have killed their career.
“You couldn’t have seen that at the stage we were at, but in hindsight you go, ‘Yeah, I agree with that.’
“But I occasionally dig the record out and play it to people, and they’re amazed that we made heavy metal.”
Waterman, who says he’s a Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple fan, would have liked to do more with heavier music. “Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and I were musicians and fans of muss,” he explains. “If you love muss you don’t just love one sort, you love all sorts. It wasn’t that we didn’t love heavy metal – it’s just I didn’t see many metal bands ringing us up.”