Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner Undergoes Second Heart Surgery: “I’m Not Completely Out of the Woods”

A year ago this week, Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner nearly died when his aorta ruptured onstage during the band’s set at Louder Than Life festival in Louisville. While marking the anniversary of the harrowing incident, the metal musician disclosed that he recently had a second open heart surgery.

On September 26th, 2021, Priest were finishing up their set at the Louisville fest when Faulkner’s aorta ruptured during the closing number, “Painkiller.” He was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent a life-saving, 10-hour emergency surgery. As he described it shortly after the procedure, “Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components…..I’m literally made of metal now.”

Now, a year later, Faulkner has revealed that he’s not “completely of out the woods yet,” as he recently had to undergo another surgery. He wrote the following on his Instagram on Monday:

“One year ago today. Less than an hour before my life changed forever. It’s crazy how one minute you’re listening to the crowd singing [Black Sabbath’s] ‘War Pigs’ — everything normal, everything seemingly fine- the next it turns out that it was almost the last time I ever heard it. Unbeknownst to me there was stuff going on under the surface that was about to literally explode. I’m fortunate and grateful to be here a year later typing this. My support system at home, the hospitals and of course from all you metal maniacs has been second to none and I thank you all.

I’m not completely out of the woods yet.

Just before we toured Europe, scans showed a hole in one of the connections between the synthetic graft and my own aorta that was causing a leak. The blood from the leak was forming an 8cm sack that was surrounding my heart. The doctors were okay for me to tour Europe, but as soon as I got back I had to go under again for another open-heart surgery. So 3 days after we played Belgium, they went in, removed the sack and fixed the leak.

So I’m now six weeks post the 2nd open heart surgery, feeling well and strong and looking forward to seeing you all again on the next leg of the US #50heavymetalyears tour starting in a few weeks. My surgeons were always confident that it was enough time for me to recover and get back out on the road and it seems like they were right. We had to lose @aftershockfestival in order for me to recover, but it looks like it’s still gonna be a Kick-Ass festival.

Look after yourselves and your loved ones, you never know what’s round the corner.”


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As he mentioned, Faulkner will hit the road with Judas Priest on their fall US tour, which kicks off October 13th in Wallingford, Connecticut, and runs through a November 29th gig in Houston, Texas. Tickets are currently available via Ticketmaster.

Meanwhile, the guitarist also revealed in a recent interview with The Entertainment Outlet that Priest are nearly done recording their new album.

“We’ve got drums done, we’ve got guitars done, we’ve got the bass done,” reported Faulkner. “I think the main thing we have to do now is vocals. So we’ve got the U.S. leg of the tour coming up, so [singer] Rob [Halford has] gotta protect his voice and use his voice sparingly before that. So maybe after that. I mean, we’ve got [shows in] the U.S. and we’ve got South America, which takes us into December. So maybe in the New Year we can start working on vocals.”


See Richie Faulkner’s instagram post and his aforementioned interview with The Entertainment Outlet below.


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