RICHIE FAULKNER Says 'There's Been No Talk' Of JUDAS PRIEST Performing With K.K. DOWNING Again
May 2, 2023
Richie Faulkner says that performing with Glenn Tipton and Kenneth "K.K." Downing at last year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles was a "great" experience that he was "happy to be a part of".
PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at the November 2022 event, which honored Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
The JUDAS PRIEST members that got inducted include current members Rob Halford (vocals),Ian Hill (bass),Tipton (guitar) and Scott Travis (drums),along with former members Downing, drummer Les Binks and late drummer Dave Holland.
Halford, Hill, Tipton and Travis were joined by Binks, Downing and current guitarist Faulkner for a three-song medley consisting of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".
Faulkner reflected on the Rock Hall performance in a new interview with the "Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen And Shane McEachern" podcast. Asked if he thinks there is a chance he will get to share the stage with Downing again in the PRIEST context (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET),he said: "There's been no talk. I think if there was gonna be, it would have happened then, and I haven't heard anything. That's not my discussion to have, if you know what I mean. But if it was one night only, for me, as a PRIEST fan, being part of PRIEST as a three-pronged guitar attack, that was just like a kid in a candy store. It was the first time I met Ken as well, so it was great to riff with him, to jam with him. The great thing as well, it was a TV show. Sometimes those things I've heard that they're not live. But everything we've done on TV has been live, and that was no exception. So it was loud, it was live. It was great to play with Ken and Glenn together — and Les as well, obviously; I'd played with Les before. But it was just great to be a part of that three-pronged guitar attack. So if it happens again, great. If it doesn't, then I'm happy to be a part of it."
Elaborating on what it was like to meet Downing for the first time, Faulkner said: "I grew up playing covers around England and London and stuff, and PRIEST was part of the menu on the setlist. You had to play 'Breaking The Law' and '[You've Got] Another Thing Comin''. If you play in a bar band, you're selling beer, so you've gotta play music that sells beer, and that was part of it. So I was intimately connected with the music, in a sense. So meeting him was great. Obviously, a lot of stuff had gone down with him and the band in the 10 years prior to that, but I kind of had to put it out… It wasn't my fight, it wasn't my thing, so I just had to put that aside and just try and be how I would have been if that stuff hadn't happened. He might have been dealing with it as well. It was the first time he had seen them in a long time, so I don't know what he was feeling. I don't know what the band were feeling about it. So I just had to kind of be accommodating and make it kind of easier for him, if I could. If he needed anything, I could help him out — that sort of approach, really. It seemed to work. We got on well, played well together, and we looked great together, with the two [flying] Vs up there. There were some good shots out there."
Faulkner, nearly three decades Downing's junior, joined PRIEST after K.K. left in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance.
In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST after Tipton's decision to retire from touring.
Back in 2019, Faulkner dismissed the criticism he received for supposedly trying to look too much like Downing. "Obviously, you get the [haters] — the 'clone' comments," Richie told the "Let There Be Talk" podcast. "I've got long blond hair, playing a flying V [guitar]… [Michael] Schenker, Zakk [Wylde], K.K., Randy Rhoads — all those guys. To say I was a Ken clone was fairly narrow-minded. There's tons of guys who have flying Vs and long hair.
"The thing is if I had dyed my hair black to be different, I would have been shot down," he continued. "You've gotta be real; you've gotta be who you are. And I grew up on Ken, I grew up on Glenn and the guys that I mentioned. So you've just gotta be who you are. And I grew up with those guys, and I'm not ashamed. I wear it on my sleeve — they're all my influences, and I'm not afraid of that… There's no point in trying to hide it. But it's gotta be natural as well. And I think somehow it worked out organically. I didn't try to copy him. And as it goes on, you always try to do your own thing and make your own statement."
Four years ago, Downing said that he felt like he was "being cloned" when he first found out he was being replaced by Faulkner.
Downing, who announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011 after nearly 42 years in the job, admitted to the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast that he was taken aback when he first saw his replacement.
"Richie, as far as I know, is a nice guy and obviously an excellent player," Downing said. "I was a bit disappointed when, basically… I think the idea was to replace me [with a lookalike], so I did feel as though I was kind of being cloned. But I'm not sure that was exactly fair to Richie. I mean, I could be off the mark here, but I think Richie had the right to bring himself to the stage with his own… portray his own image and ability to play the instrument the way that he does. But it is what it is."
He continued: "When Glenn retired from touring [in early 2018], the same didn't happen — obviously, [Tipton's replacement] Andy [Sneap] doesn't look anything like Glenn; he doesn't wear the same clothes, the red pants, guitars or anything like that. So I don't really know what's going on. But it is what it is."
In a 2011 interview with the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat, Halford stated about Faulkner's physical resemblance to a younger Downing: "People are saying, 'It's a clone. You've got some of K.K.'s DNA.' It's just the way it turned out. We made, like, a secret search. When we knew K.K. was not gonna be making the tour, we did a lot of secret, kind of, searching for another player. And Richie just happened to be the guy. And he just happens to look a little bit of the K.K. image, you know?! I think it would be silly to say, 'We looked for a guitar player that looks like Ken.' What we want is a very good metal guitar player, and that's what Richie Faulkner is."
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