Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton spoke to Ultimate Classic Rock and shared his thoughts about his bandmate, Richie Faulkner. He also highlighted the guitarist’s unmatchable talent as a musician.

Shortly before their Epitaph World Tour, which started on June 7, 2011, in Tilburg and ended in London on May 26, 2012, its guitarist K. K. Downing decided to leave the band. The main reason for his retirement was the communication issues with the band and management.

The remaining members had to find a new guitarist as soon as possible, and Pete Friesen suggested Richie Faulkner, whom they worked together in a cover band named Metalworks. Judas Priest admired Faulkner’s performance, and he was announced as Downing’s successor in 2011.

Tipton admitted that he didn’t know Faulkner was very talented initially during his interview. However, he realized that the guitarist has unique guitar playing skills and proved that, especially when the band needed it the most. There wasn’t any other person who could do that for Judas Priest if you ask Tipton.

In Tipton’s words, he said:

He’s phenomenal. I didn’t realize quite how good he was, initially. There have been times when he’s just noodling on the guitars, and he doesn’t particularly know whether there’s anybody else in the studio. What he comes up with is unbelievable. He had a big mission as well.

Because he had to play the solos in line with where the band was at. Otherwise, people would criticize him for that. He’s done that, but he puts his stamp on it. I think it takes a lot of skill to do that.

From one guitar player to another, I don’t think there’s anybody else that could have taken those solos and changed them without it affecting the quality of the song. He’s an incredible guitar player.

In addition, Tipton highlighted that Faulkner had to perform the solos as well as before; otherwise, he could’ve faced a lot of criticism. He successfully played the Judas Priest classic songs, but he also did in his way without changing the quality.