In a new interview with United Rock Nations, JUDAS PRIEST's Richie Faulkner, who is promoting the debut album from his ELEGANT WEAPONS project, was asked what, in his opinion, makes a song a good song. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That can be different things for different songs, different genres. I like, in the context of a rock band like this [ELEGANT WEAPONS], I like a good, heavy, catchy riff, a great melody, something that's memorable, something that makes you… We all do that thing where we kind of look at each other and make that… You do that thing with your mouth and nod your head, like, 'That's fucking…', that element of a heavy rock song. Like… I'm just trying to think of an example. [METALLICA's] 'Sad But True' — you know the main riff in 'Sad But True', and everyone headbangs. Something like that — something that's kind of heavy and memorable and melodic. And it's catchy. And you keep singing it. It's almost like you know the song before the song is over. That, to me, is a sign of a good song. But it's not overdone. It's gotta tread the line between knowing it before it's over. If you repeat it too much, it becomes contrived. It's gotta be just enough where you link with the song, but it's not overdone. And it's a tough thing to do. Some things are easy and they happen instinctively. Some things you've gotta work at to get 'em like that. But I think the journey, the pursuit of a good song is neverending. You're always trying to find a better song or a better melody or a better riff. How do I make a better song or a better album? How do we make a better experience for the fans that are listening? How do we connect better? How do we make a better message of this song? So, I think it's neverending. Even if you have a Number One hit, how do you make a better one? So it's neverending, really, and that's the beauty of it."
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." 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]."
ELEGANT WEAPONS' debut album, "Horns For A Halo", was released on May 26 via Nuclear Blast. The LP was recorded with 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, which is rounded out by Ronnie Romero (RAINBOW, MSG) on vocals, Dave Rimmer (URIAH HEEP) on bass and Christopher Williams (ACCEPT) on drums, is playing shows in Europe through July. The trek includes performances with PANTERA, festival appearances and headlining shows.
ELEGANT WEAPONS made its first two festival appearances on June 16 at Hellfest in Clisson, France and on June 18 at Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel, Belgium.