Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has hit back at K.K. Downing’s claim that he’s not officially a member of the legendary metal band.
In a typically outspoken recent interview with German website Bleeding 4 Metal, K.K. Downing claimed that Rob Halford and Ian Hill are the only two official members of Judas Priest on stage at the moment and Scott Travis, Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap are “on a wage.”
Glenn Tipton retired from touring with Judas Priest in February 2018 due to his battle with Parkinson's disease, however he has made a series of guest appearances on stage since then.
K.K. explained (via Blabbermouth): "At the time I quit the band, I had more energy than anyone else on stage. In fact, that is one of the reasons I quit. The band just seemed to have slowed down to a steady walk.
“Even Richie would do well to keep up with me if I re-joined. It seems wrong that Scott, Richie and Andy are not officially members of Judas Priest as they are on a wage. So, only two members are on stage right now. Yet they don't want me back. It shows the strength of the brand name Judas Priest that I spent 40 years being a part of."
Taking exception to these comments, K.K. Downing’s replacement in Judas Priest, Richie Faulkner, took to social media last night (6th May) to post a firmly worded statement.
Please read 🦅 pic.twitter.com/sg2dK9D1pi— Richie Faulkner (@RichieFaulkner) May 6, 2019
Alongside the caption ‘please read’, he wrote: “Regarding a recent untruthful article, I'm not sure why anyone feels they have the right to openly discuss others' financial standings, true or otherwise. This seems to be intended as a swipe at the band and an attempt to devalue my and Scott's position in the band.
"For the record, I have not been paid a wage since 2012 and have always been given creative input in this band since day one. This band of brothers have been nothing but a family to me and both band and management have always stated and demonstrated they wanted a band member.
"It's an honour to serve in the best heavy metal band in the world and give 1000% to the fans around the globe that have supported this band for 50 years.
"It's a shame that someone I held in such high regard feels the need to take these low roads when I've done absolutely nothing but give my absolute all to a position he left of his own accord. It's both uninformed, unfounded, unnecessary and very unfortunate and disappointing.
"We've always stood firm to not get involved in Internet clickbait, but I felt this crossed a line for me personally and wanted to set these untruths straight myself."
K. K. Downing © Getty
Speaking to Planet Rock Magazine last year, K.K. Downing said Richie is a “fine player” but dismissed him as a clone.
He said: “Same clothes, same hair. It was like ‘OK, K.K.’s left here’s what we’ll do – we’ll clone him’. I don’t think he’d even played Flying Vs before. But Richie’s a fine guitar player.”
Judas Priest are the very special guests on Ozzy Osbourne’s UK & Ireland tour in early 2020. Tickets are on sale from Planet Rock Tickets now.
They play the following dates:
Nottingham Motorpoint Arena – Fri 31st
Dublin 3Arena – Sun 2nd
Manchester Arena – Wed 5th
Newcastle Utilita Arena – Fri 7th
London The O2 – Mon 10th
Glasgow SSE Hydro – Wed 12th
Birmingham Resorts World Arena – Fri 14th