JUDAS PRIEST's RICHIE FAULKNER Says IRON MAIDEN's STEVE HARRIS Was An Influence On His Stage Presence
May 16, 2023
In a recent interview with Darren Paltrowitz, host of the "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz", JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner spoke about the inspiration for his energetic and engaging stage presence. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I was out with Lauren Harris, who's Steve Harris from IRON MAIDEN's daughter, and we were out with MAIDEN quite a bit. And I always used to watch Steve and take notice of the way Steve was always at the front and he was always at the people in their face and he was singing with them — the eye contact; he was pointing at 'em. And I always thought in this day and age of YouTube and videos and stuff like that, you can't recreate that interaction. I always kind of took that onboard. And I think that's kind of — partly at least — where it comes from. Just that interaction that you, as a fan, you walk out of the concert hall and you can't recreate that. That interaction with the artist on stage, whether it's a guitar player or a singer or a drummer — whatever it may be — you can't recreate that interaction that you share at that moment in time. I think that's a valuable thing. So I think that's partly to do with it — Steve Harris and the way that interacted with the audience."
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.
Two weeks after his surgery, Faulkner told reporters about how he felt while performing "Painkiller" with his bandmates at Louder Than Life: "I became a bit light-headed. It didn't go away. I've never fainted before. I've never passed out, but I knew that this felt like I was going to pass out in a minute.
"Luckily, it was about half way into the song," he continued. "So obviously, I had to finish the song. If I had known how important it was, maybe I would have got off there a bit quicker. But I think that's the whole point for me. I had no idea whatsoever what it was."
Faulkner said that he experienced a sharp pain as he was stepping off the stage. "That's when it exploded," he said.
"The more I read about it, the more astonishing it is to me to think that I even made it to the hospital," he added. "The amount of time when I actually go the pain and when I turned up in the hospital and when we were actually operating, it was quite a lot of time. The more I read about it, the more unbelievable — that amount of time — I don't know how I'm still around today."
Aortic aneurysms are "balloon-like bulges in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso," according to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control. Dissections happen when the "force of blood pumping can split the layers of the artery wall, allowing blood to leak in between them."
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." He added: "There was a leak — I'd basically sprung a leak in there — and it was causing a sack to form around my heart. So they found it just before the European leg [of PRIEST's 2022 tour].
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