Watch Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner Shred a Perfect ‘Painkiller’ Solo as His Aorta Ruptures
If he wasn’t already, Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner is now officially a metal god. Not only did Faulkner survive a near-fatal rupture of his aorta, but as his heart was spilling blood into his chest cavity, Richie didn’t miss a single note of his solo in “Painkiller.”
“As I watch footage from the Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky, I can see in my face the confusion and anguish I was feeling whilst playing ‘Painkiller’ as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity,” Faulker wrote after successful heart surgery. ”I was having what my doctor called an aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection. From what I’ve been told by my surgeon, people with this don’t usually make it to the hospital alive.”
According to the National Library of Medicine via Nashville Vein Center, “only about one in five people survive a ruptured aortic aneurysm.”
Fan-shot footage from Judas Priest’s Louder Than Life set shows the “confusion and anguish” on Faulkner’s face as he shreds through “Painkiller,” which ended up being Priest’s final song of the night. Despite his aorta literally rupturing onstage, Faulkner absolutely crushed the lengthy solo to one of the most metal songs in history.
Watch the incredible footage below.
Judas Priest, "Painkiller" at Louder Than Life Festival 2021
“The amazing Heart & Lung Center was 4 miles away from the gig site – if it had been further away…” Faulkner pondered. “We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things but I’m still alive thankfully. Whatever the circumstances, when watching that footage, the truth is, knowing what I know now, I see a dying man.”
We’d like to wish Faulkner a full and speedy recovery. Judas Priest have postponed the remainder of their tour dates. Stay tuned for updates on the rescheduled shows.