Judas Priest Guitarist Richie Faulkner Recalls Onstage Heart Break: “I Was Tired That Day”

Judas Priest Guitarist Richie Faulkner Recalls Onstage Heart Break: "I Was Tired That Day"

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner was a guest on the recent episode of The Trenches With Ryan Roxie Podcast. In an interview hosted by Ryan Roxie, Faulkner talked about the acute cardiac aortic dissection he had during the Louder Than Life festival a few months ago.

The 42-year-old British guitarist joined the Judas Priest in 2011 after K.K Downing did not want to take part in the band’s farewell tour and left the band. Richie Faulkner took part in 4 albums with the Judas Priest, 2 of which were studio albums.

Judas Priest received positive feedback from the metal community with the album Firepower released in 2018. The album, which sold over 49k copies only in the United States in the first week of its release, peaked at number 5 on the Billboard 200. Firepower includes 14 tracks and over 58-min listening time.

During Judas Priest‘s performance at the Louder Than Life festival on September 26, Richie Faulker had suffered an important acute cardiac aortic dissection. After a long surgery on hospital, Faulkner‘s aortic valve and ascending aorta were replaced with hemiarch. He had made fans happy shortly after his hospital poses.

Anyway, Richie Faulkner, who has been recovering at home with his family for a few months, told Ryan Roxie how he had a tough time at the Louder Than Life festival.

“Looking back, you can join the dots,” Richie said. “I was tired that day. Tiredness is a sign of it. But that’s the thing — three weeks into a tour, you’re finding your legs anyway. We’re getting used to the schedule. We’re gonna be tired two or three weeks in. There was nothing that was out of the ordinary for that time in the tour schedule.

“So there was no signs whatsoever. I was just out there halfway through ‘Painkiller’ and my chest just went ‘bang.’ And I thought, ‘Well, that doesn’t happen every day.’ And it didn’t go away”

“Luckily, we usually have an hour-and-forty-[minutes] set. But tonight Metallica were playing, so we had an hour set, and this was the last song. If it wasn’t, I would have carried on a thousand percent, I would have carried on keeled over and that would have been it. Because when these things go I didn’t know any of this beforehand you have minutes.”

“What happens is it ruptures and it bleeds into your chest cavity and you bleed out inside yourself and you go. That’s it. So literally, it blew up inside.

“So I’m playing along, and I started to feel a bit faint. I remember walking back from the edge of the stage, just in case. I’ve never fainted, I’ve never passed out before, but I started thinking this is what it feels like. ‘Cause, obviously the blood was draining out of the extremities. So that’s what was happening.

“Again, I didn’t know this at the time. To be honest with you, I thought I was having a heart attack because it was in the chest cavity and it was getting pretty painful. All my energy was depleted.

“At the end of the song, I usually lift the flying V up in the air, and I couldn’t lift it — I had nothing. So I came offstage and sort of collapsed into a chair. The paramedics came out. And it went from there.”

Faulkner Says He ‘Honestly Shouldn’t Be Here’

Judas Priest‘s talented guitarist, who said he survived because it was close to a world-class heart center, regained his health after a 10-hour surgery performed by the medical team, Dr. Siddharth Pahwa, Drs. Brian Ganzel and Mark Slaughter at the Rudd Heart and Lung Center in Louisville talked about what happened during the surgery process with these words.

(image: Twitter)

“People don’t recover, people don’t get to the hospital,” he continued. “There was one of the best heart hospitals in the country four miles away — four miles away. If the odds were stacked slightly differently… Honestly, I don’t know how I even got to the hospital. People [with that ailment] don’t make it to the hospital.

“I was still in my leathers in the ambulance. I went back to the dressing room, got my jeans on, whatever, got to the hospital, they found out what it was, rushed me into the emergency room. They got me under.

“So they started to operate. They cut [my] ribcage open, and as soon as they did that, the whole thing ruptured. [Laughs] And I didn’t know any of this. So my other half, she’s out waiting for me, and the surgeon came out and told her, he said, ‘You’d better call family to come and be with you because he’s not gonna come out. He’s not coming out.’ And he told her why, that they’d just cut into me and the whole thing’s gone.

“I don’t know how they did it, but they gave me four blood transfusions, and somehow… They’re miracle workers, these surgeons and doctors and nurses in there,” Faulkner added. “I was in there for 12 hours.

“And they had to stitch me up in the end. They replaced me with mechanical valves. I think there’s five mechanical pieces in there. They had to stitch me up in the end because I couldn’t be out any longer, because of brain damage issues and stuff. But they did it. They stitched me up. I don’t know how they did it.”

“I shouldn’t be here. I honestly shouldn’t be here.

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