Judas Priest Delaying US Tour After Lead Guitarist Richie Faulkner Hospitalized for Heart Issues

by Jennifer Shea

British heavy metal band Judas Priest has had to reschedule their remaining U.S. tour dates due to lead guitarist Richie Faulkner’s serious heart condition.

The band told Billboard in a statement that tickets for any rescheduled tour dates will be valid at the new shows. And they will announce those as soon as they get word from Faulkner’s doctors.

“It is with deep regret that we have to postpone the rest of our U.S. tour,” the band said in the statement. “Richie Faulkner has major medical heart condition issues which have landed him in the hospital where he is being treated. In the meantime, we are all sending love to our Falcon to wish him a speedy recovery… As soon as we have any updates from the doctors on when we can reschedule the dates, we will of course announce them. Tickets will be valid.”

Judas Priest’s 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour Celebrates Band’s 50th Anniversary

The band’s current tour, the 50 Heavy Metal Years North American Tour, belatedly celebrates Judas Priest’s 50th anniversary. It includes a setlist that favors songs from their most recent studio album, 2018’s Firepower, which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Hard Rock Albums chart. The album also made it to No. 5 on the Billboard 200, which was the band’s highest position on Billboard’s all-genre albums list ever.

The current tour had last taken the band to the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky. They were supposed to play the Mission Ballroom in Denver on Wednesday next.

Judas Priest’s North American tour was set to end this November with three shows in Canada. The band was then scheduled to pick up in Europe on Jan. 26 at Berlin’s Mercedes Benz Arena. But that schedule has been thrown into doubt by Faulkner’s heart condition.

Fans of the band can look forward to the imminent release of the 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music limited-edition box set, out on Oct. 15 from Sony Legacy. It features remastered versions of all the band’s official live and studio albums, plus new artwork, memorabilia, collectibles and a photo book.

Faulkner will be 42 this January. He joined Judas Priest in 2011. According to Ultimate Guitar, Faulkner didn’t believe he was being invited to join the band at first and deleted two invitation emails before the band tracked down his phone number and called him.

“I thought it was a joke really,” Faulkner recounted after news of his addition broke. “As I’ve said before, it was like one of those phone calls where you don’t really believe it’s true.”