Enlarge Photo: Ralph Arvesen via Wikimedia Commons

Judas Priests’ Richie Faulkner Gets “Another Chance” After Surgery


Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner is recovering from heart surgery that he underwent in September 2021, but even though it was traumatic, he feels that surgery gave him a “second chance.”

Faulkner suffered an aortic dissection while performing onstage at the Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. He was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. The surgery was to repair a tear in his aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Terrifyingly, Faulkner actually experienced the tear while on stage playing “Painkiller.” Suddenly, he felt he didn’t have the energy to lift his guitar, and he knew something was terribly wrong.

Faulkner has been open about his recovery process, sharing updates on social media and in interviews. He has said that he is grateful to be alive and that he is determined to make a full recovery.

In a recent interview with We Go To 11, as transcribed by Blabbermouth, Faulkner says:

“The health’s great. I had to go in again last August and be opened up again, and they had to fix a couple of problems. But ever since then, I’ve been okay, really. Some people have said—like my other half, for example… I went down in September [of 2021], I think it was, and I was back out on the road in March [of 2022]. I went down under the knife again in August [of 2022], and we had two months off and I was back out on the road again. Some people might say it’s a bit too soon. But the touring and the record—we’ve been writing the Priest record and the Elegant Weapons record—and everything that comes along with interviews and artwork and photos and video shoots and stuff, all the stuff that comes along with that, it serves as a focus for me.

“You never know what’s around the corner, so if you’ve got something to say and stuff to do, do it. ‘Cause in my case, it could have been all over that day. So I got another chance. So all of this stuff kind of serves as a focus and a motivator to get it done and do it to the best of your ability and push on.”

He also talked about how he tried to stay busy during the forced downtime:

“People have different reactions to that kind of event. Some people are out of action for a couple of years. But I don’t know—I was lucky, really. I’m relatively healthy. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink too much, anything like that. I was relatively young, so I was able to bounce back. And as soon as I could, I put a guitar back in my hands and started to play again. And I called management and said, ‘I wanna get back with the record and finish the record.’ It just served, as I said, as a motivating force to get back on the guitar or get creating or get a record out or whatever it may be, just to push forward.”

Faulkner’s recovery is a testament to his strength and determination, and we can’t wait to see more from him as he gets back into it.

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