“We almost gave up, and if we hadn't have found Richie, I don't think we'd be on tour today,” Tipton tells Everything Rock about the band’s search for a replacement for the newly-retired K.K. Downing. “It had to be the right man for the job. Richie was recommended to us and we checked him out online and I asked him up to the studio and said, "Show me what you can do," and I just knew straight away he was the man for the job. The beauty about Richie is he's never tried to replace what Ken (K.K.) did. He does it in his own way and that's the magic of it. Straight away we were all amazed at the contradiction; that he can do his own thing but he really blends in and works with Priest, we were all astonished by it.”
After decades of playing alongside Downing, Tipton says the transition to Faulkner was seamless.
“Straight away there was something there, a connection there,” he says. “I don't think it matters how good a guitar player you are, to try and represent what me and Ken have got is a very difficult thing to do. We've worked hard through the years to forge a path ahead between twin lead guitars and we're very proud of that and I think a lot of people were inspired by that. It was a difficult thing to achieve but Richie is just astounding, really, because he's stepped in and in his own way he's just blended into the band so well.”
“It’s going great...every show gets better,” Faulkner tells Baconmusic. “You get more into, more into a routine. It becomes a bit more comfortable, but there’s something exciting every night. The fans have been really appreciative and accepting.”
Timing is everything, and with the raves he’s been getting from bandmates and fans alike, Richie is very aware of the role he’s taken on for the band.
“I think it’s the perfect time to come into the band. They were starting to think ‘let’s stop,’ and I came in and said ‘no, no, no, you’re not going to stop – you’re going to carry on.’”
Priest headline the High Voltage Fest this weekend in London’s Victoria Park, sharing the bill with Slash, Thin Lizzy and fellow UK tour mates Queensryche.
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