On September 26, 2021 in Louisville, KY, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner had a brush with death. He suffered an onstage aortic aneurysm during the performance of the band’s “Painkiller” encore. Somehow finishing the set, Faulkner was rushed to hospital and put through ten hours of emergency surgery. “I’m just lucky to be alive. And luckily we had a short set that day. We were playing before METALLICA, so we had an hour set instead of an hour and 40 minutes, in which case I wouldn’t be talking to you. I wouldn’t have come off that stage alive. The stars aligned: that was the last song and we were four miles away from the University of Louisville’s Rudd Heart and Lung Center, which is one of the mos well-renowned heart hospitals in the country.”
Almost 2 years later, Faulkner is not only recovered but he’s stamping his own seal in the metal music scene with a new band: ELEGANT WEAPONS, being bolstered and emboldened by the regal presence of Ronnie Romero (RAINBOW, VANDENBERG, MICHAEL SCHENKER) along with Dave Rimmer from URIAH HEEP and on drums, Christopher Williams from German Metal veterans ACCEPT. Producing is highly regarded PRIEST, OPETH, MEGADETH, SAXON and ACCEPT producer Andy Sneap, who has been respectful of Richie’s vision concerning a certain classic sound he wanted across the expanse of the record’s 11 songs (ten originals plus a cover of UFO’s “Lights Out”).
Where does the band’s name comes from?
“In almost any endeavor, the craftsman needs the right tools for the job. For a musician, those tools are things like their instruments, their voices and the emotions that the right combination of all those can bring to the surface. You can also consider it a reference to the instruments we play, because they’re almost antiquities now. So yes, it references our instruments and also this kind of music, where we’re carrying on the tradition of the greats like SABBATH and DIO but also bands the guys are connected to, like RAINBOW, PANTERA and PRIEST.”
Pre-order “Horns For A Halo” at THIS LOCATION.
As for the music, Richie describes it as “a mix of JIMI HENDRIX, PRIEST, SABBATH, solo OZZY and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, but with a lot of melody, sort of old school and modern at once if that makes any sense, and actually down-tuned a whole step. There are a lot of guitar solos and the songs are on the heavier side. And even though there’s a lot of melody, it’s still going to shake your bones.”
Another mandate of the band is for Richie to propose more fully than he can across a PRIEST record, his own voice or style as it pertains to the guitar. “Yes, everything that you do, without sounding pretentious, is trying to find your own voice and extension of your voice. I’ve been in cover bands all my life. Then you find yourself replacing K.K. Downing and it’s like, ‘Now what am I gonna say?’ I can’t sound like K.K. Downing. I can’t sound like Eddie Van Halen. I can’t sound like Zakk Wylde. So it’s refining and honing what your voice is, constantly fine-tuning what that voice is. And hopefully when people listen to it, they’ll think, ‘Oh, that’s Richie.’ In every song and every solo hopefully there’s that sound, that narrative, that voice, and hopefully it stands the test of time.”
Rodrigo Altaf sat down with Richie to discuss ELEGANT WEAPONS‘s debut album “Halo of Fire”, how he wants to to perpetuate the rich legacy of the traditional proto-power metal invented by the heavy metal titans of the ‘70s and ‘80s, how the recording of the album took place, how he wanted to form a band that evolves into the future, what are his thoughts on a join tour with IRON MAIDEN, and of course what’s going on with the long-awaited JUDAS PRIEST follow up to “Firepower”. Watch or listen to their information-packed conversation below; and remember that for more interviews and other daily content, Sonic Perspectives is on Facebook, Flipboard, Twitter and YouTube, where you can be notified about new content we publish on a daily basis.