Judas Priest just released a new album, Firepower, and on it, you'll hear guitarist Richie Faulkner shredding his beloved Flying V alongside longtime Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton. Listening to the new album, it's nothing short of guitar mastery. Faulkner and Tipton truly "sing" together with their guitars, and Rob Halford, as always, proves the powerful pathway to making iconic metal music.

Richie Faulkner by Anne Erickson

Faulkner is a major fan of the Flying V. Who are some of his all-time favorite Flying V players? 

"Michael Schenker is a huge one," he told Gibson.com. "And, always, K.K. Downing. Seeing that Flying V, it was an instant, "What is this?!" moment. I mean, Randy Rhoads and all those guys, but Michael Schenker, I think, is the main one. The Flying V, when he came out, initially, it was so out of this world. Now, I'm part of that family with the signature Flying V that Epiphone put together. It's iconic. It's a huge honor to continue that Gibson heritage. It's just a statement when you're playing a Flying V, and it's a pretty bold statement to make, and so is heavy metal, and so is Judas Priest. So, it's hand-in-hand."

He says what makes him proud to be a Gibson player is the "heritage." 

"I think it's the heritage. It's part of our social makeup," he said. "It's part of what we grew up with and part of what embodies rock 'n' roll and the spirit of rock 'n' roll. First and foremost, it's about the function of the instrument. I never start playing Gibson because it looked pretty, although it did, as well. But it was because it was a tool that felt right and sounded right in a way that I could express what I wanted to express, and that was paramount for me. Also, whenever a Gibson shows up at my house and I plug it in, within 15 minutes, it has created a song. It's created a riff or melody. They just inspire me, personally, to create music. That's the main thing-- they enable me to be able to create music and communicate that music to hopefully people who want to hear it."

Photo credit: Anne Erickson