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Judas Priest Plan 'Full-On Metal Extravaganza' for Farewell Tour

'We're pulling out all the stops,' singer Rob Halford tells Rolling Stone

May 24, 2011 5:35 PM ET
Rob Halford of the band Judas Priest performs at The Gibson Amphitheatre on August 2, 2009 in Universal City, California.
Rob Halford of the band Judas Priest performs at The Gibson Amphitheatre on August 2, 2009 in Universal City, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

British metal stalwarts Judas Priest have an eventful few months ahead: The band recently announced a farewell tour and have welcomed a new guitarist, Richie Faulkner, to replace the recently retired KK Downing.

"It's not exactly the end of the band, it's just the fact that we won't really be doing any more world tours," guitarist Glenn Tipton tells Rolling Stone. "It takes a big chunk out of your life. We've been doing it for 40 years now or close to it, and we all love that moment on stage, but it's difficult to be away from home and all the traveling involved. Now, if somebody came along and said, 'Would you do a small string of dates,' we wouldn’t automatically say no to that. But in general, this is probably the last chance you'll get to see Priest live."

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On this tour – dubbed the Epitaph Tour – Priest will be working in new guitarist Faulkner, who sees his playing style as similar to his predecessor's. "My take on KK's playing was he improvised quite a lot live," says Faulkner. "It was kind of a basic framework around the solo that was on the record, and then he would go off a bit on that. So my style is kind of the same as that – I normally take what's in the solo and just play around with it a bit. But it keeps the essence of the solo there."

Priest singer Rob Halford also revealed that the group has also been working on all-new material. "We do have some completed tracks that we've been talking about in the last few days, as to how we can feed those out to our fans," he says. "We wanted to make at least one more great metal album that really represents all the wonderful things we've tried to do. If things go as planned, we want to get this out by the summer of next year."

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But the first order of business will be the upcoming tour, which as of now kicks off October 12th in San Antonio and wraps up November 18th in East Rutherford, New Jersey (though more dates should be announced soon), with support acts Thin Lizzy and Black Label Society. "We're doing a track off every album," says Tipton, rattling off songs the band is planning on performing – from tracks like "Never Satisfied" (which Tipton says the band has never played before) to classics like "Hell Bent for Leather" and "Electric Eye."

And the band plans to go out in what can only be termed a blaze of glory. "We're pulling out all the stops," says Halford. "We've built a brand new stage set, we've got all the effects that people love us for – the lasers, the fire, the bombs, the smoke, new costumes, and the bike. It's just a full-on metal extravaganza."

Confirmed Judas Priest U.S. Tour Dates (more dates to be announced):

October:

12 – San Antonio, TX

14 – Corpus Christi, TX

15 – Houston, TX

16 – Dallas, TX

18 – Tucson, AZ

19 – San Diego, CA

21 – Phoenix, AZ

22 – San Bernardino, CA

23 – Las Vegas, NV

25 – Los Angeles, CA

26 – Oakland, CA

29 – Seattle, WA

30 – Vancouver, BC

November:

1 – Edmonton, AB

2 – Calgary, AB

4 – Salt Lake City, UT

5 – Denver, CO

12 – Chicago, IL

13 – Detroit, MI

18 – East Rutherford, NJ

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