May 23, 2023

In a new interview with RadioactiveMike Z, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM radio program "Wired In The Empire", JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner was asked when he first discovered METALLICA's music. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think it was [in my] early teens. When I was getting into heavier music, stuff like [JUDAS PRIEST's] 'Painkiller'; I was introduced to the 'Painkiller' record. I can't remember if it was 'Master Of Puppets' or '…And Justice For All'. I just remember that syncopated, heavy stuff from METALLICA. And, obviously, the flying V… [METALLICA frontman] James Hetfield is one of my top five guitar players. For a lot of people, it's lead guitar players, but one of mine is Hetfield, the way he crafts and plays riffs. And, obviously, in the early days, he played that white V. And, yeah, [he was] just a massive influence. He is, for me, the integrity of METALLICA. He's the frontman, the integrity, the mouthpiece. And I'm a huge METALLICA fan."

He continued: "Obviously, the new [METALLICA] record had come out. I haven't actually heard all of it yet. But I'm excited to hear it. I've heard some of the singles that they've released. And they're doing their thing now where they're releasing a video for every song and really creating a connection to each one. So, yeah, they've always been a band that goes against the grain, and I've admired them for that. But I love the music. I've always been a METALLICA fan."

When RadioactiveMike Z noted that Hetfield's downpicking playing technique is legendary, Faulkner concurred. "Yeah, I could never do that," Richie said. "I always look for ways of getting around it and making up excuses why I couldn't do it. And I don't really have an excuse, except that I'm a lazy boy. So I can't do that downpicking. But he's a master at it, and it definitely creates a sound for them."

Faulkner joined JUDAS PRIEST in 2011 as the replacement for the band's founding guitarist K.K. Downing.

In September 2021, Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection during PRIEST's performance at the Louder Than Life festival, just a short distance from Rudd Heart and Lung Center at UofL Health - Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. It took the hospital's cardiothoracic surgery team, led by Dr. Siddharth Pahwa and also including Drs. Brian Ganzel and Mark Slaughter, approximately 10 hours to complete the surgery, an aortic valve and ascending aorta replacement with hemiarch replacement.

After Louder Than Life, JUDAS PRIEST postponed the remainder of the U.S. dates on its 50th-anniversary tour, dubbed "50 Heavy Metal Years". The shows were rescheduled for March and April 2022.

Last September, Faulkner revealed that he underwent a second heart surgery in early August 2022 to fix "a hole in the repair."

As previously reported, Faulkner will sign copies of ELEGANT WEAPONS' debut album, "Horns For A Halo", on Saturday, May 27 at 5:00 p.m. at Grimey's in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

For more information, visit Grimeys.com.

"Horns For A Halo" will be released on May 26 via Nuclear Blast. The LP was recorded with singer Ronnie Romero (RAINBOW, MSG),bassist Rex Brown (PANTERA, DOWN) and drummer Scott Travis (JUDAS PRIEST) and was helmed by acclaimed British producer Andy Sneap, who has previously worked with JUDAS PRIEST, ACCEPT, EXODUS and MEGADETH, among many others.

ELEGANT WEAPONS's current touring lineup consists of Faulkner, Romero, Dave Rimmer (URIAH HEEP) on bass and Christopher Williams (ACCEPT) on drums.

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