Judas Priest have postponed the remainder of their current US tour as guitarist Richie Faulkner is experiencing “major medical heart condition issues” that have “landed him in hospital”.
In a new statement published to social media by their publicist Chipster PR, the band write: “It is with deep regret that we have to postpone the rest of our US tour. Richie Faulkner has major medical heart condition issues which have landed him in hospital where he is being treated.
“In the meantime, we are all sending love to our Falcon to wish him a speedy recovery.”
The statement concludes: “As soon as we have any updates from his doctors on when we can reschedule the dates, we will of course announce them – tickets will be valid...”
The trek – dubbed 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour – commenced September 8 in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was scheduled to wrap up Hamilton, Ontario on November 5.
The metal giants' latest show was at Kentucky's Louder Than Life music festival last weekend (September 26), where they recruited Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett for a performance of Fleetwood Mac's The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown).
For the track – which was originally written by Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, and later covered on Judas Priest's 1978 album Hell Bent For Leather – Hammett played his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, affectionately dubbed “Greeny” after its original owner, Peter Green.
Richie Faulkner joined Judas Priest in 2011, following the departure of longtime guitarist KK Downing. In a recent interview with Guitar World, Faulkner spoke of finding his voice upon joining the fold.
“I remember when I joined the band, my influences were – and still are – very much on my sleeve. You know, there's Zakk Wylde, Michael Schenker, and Dave Murray – it would be silly to try and hide those influences. But when I joined the band, it became about ‘What am I going to say? These guys have got their voice... what's my voice going to be?’”
Faulkner's heart-related health issues follow the 2018 announcement that long-serving Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton had retired from touring due to Parkinson's disease.
In the same GW interview, Faulkner called Tipton a “50-year veteran and a rock star”. “Glenn just being there elevates the ‘rock star level’ another 50% in my opinion,” he said. “I had Glenn in my cassette collection, I had Glenn's picture on my wall with KK [Downing].”
Prior to the tour's postponement, guitarist Andy Sneap had been filling in for Tipton.
“There's no difference of admiration, really – Andy is up there, he's doing his bit, and he's taking the challenge on, when we asked him to fill in for Glenn,” Faulkner continued.
“Andy is a very take-the-bull-by-the-horns type guy, and he's getting more comfortable with the songs and being up there. All credit to him. Obviously there's a difference, but they have the same tenacity and drive to do their best. You can only give them respect for that.”