JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner spoke to Sweetwater‘s Nick Bowcott about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the new album.
“We did some writing in February before [the coronavirus pandemic] hit. I think it was during the time it was all coming to the surface that there was this virus going around, and me and Rob [Halford, vocals], luckily, just about made it back to the States before the lockdown came into effect. But we did get about a month’s worth of writing done, and we’ve got a bunch of songs. And they’re by no means finished. When you start writing something, you’ve got a few ideas and then they become more fleshed out, and all of a sudden, you’ve got a start, a middle and an end — it’s almost like a skeleton, with bare bones. But you need some meat and potatoes and some muscle to put on it. So we need stuff like midsections and harmony sections and guitar solos — lots of guitar solos… We’ve got a bunch of them together. We’re just waiting for the time when we can get back together again and start playing ’em and recording ’em together.
“We found out, or I found out — I’d never done it like this before — but on the ‘Firepower’ record, we all played it live before we recorded them,” he continued.
“And we recorded the drums live while me and Ian [Hill, bass] played and Rob sang and Glenn [Tipton, guitar] was there. You’ve got the songs close to finished, and when you play them, you realize there’s probably another 10, 15 percent to go — trim some fat here; this needs another part; it’s too slow here; speed that up; pull this back. And that only becomes apparent, really, I found out, when you play it together, like you would in a live gig.
“So we wanna get back together at some point and flesh these songs out, play together. And I’ll tell you what, when you get Scott Travis in a room, he’s such a musical drummer, and he’s such a respectful drummer — he loves [former JUDAS PRIEST drummer] Les Binks; he’s a huge Les Binks fan — so when he’s playing the songs, he’s always aware of, ‘This little Les Binks hi-hat part here,’ or he does things spontaneously that just change the song for the better. So getting him in the room and playing together is just monumental, I think, in the creation of a PRIEST record.