Judas Priest are starting to make some headway toward a new album. During an appearance at the Making Hard Rock Look Easy master class in Indiana, guitarist Richie Faulkner spoke with Sweetwater editorial director Mitch Gallagher about the band's current status and laid out the timeline for the next year.

"We've just been in the studio for a couple of months putting songs together. We haven't started the recording process yet, but we're recording demos," said Faulkner. "We're recording songs that work without the production to save them, if you know what I mean. But the core value ... We're putting down some grassroots ideas and fleshing them out for the next Priest record. So we're gonna go into the studio to start recording in January. So it should be out sometime next year. But we're not touring next year. So we're gonna be touring, hopefully, in 2018."

Though a firm release period has yet to be revealed for Judas Priest next year, it appears as though the band members will have some free time before promotion for the next disc arrives. Faulkner also stated that he's putting together a touring "guitar event" that's expected to hit the road next year. He's calling it "Cult of Guitar," and says it puts the focus on the instrument itself.

"I saw this thing about Stradivarius violins. And you know they've created some of the most beautiful music the world's ever known, but what's happening is people are buying them as an investment and putting them in a bank vault. And the same is starting to happen with vintage guitars, and no one's hearing… When Jimmy Page played the '59 Les Paul, that's not being experienced anymore. So the idea is loosely based around that — getting these guitars out of bank vaults, putting them in a scenario where people can experience them, people can hear them," stated Faulkner.

He adds, "It's getting those guitars out of retirement and into where I believe they should be. It's all about that. So it's all about uniting the tribe, getting the people together. We're calling it 'Cult of Guitar,' 'cause that's what we're a part of — it's a cult of guitar. We're nuts; we're all nuts, we're nerds. [We're] inviting some friends down, getting their guitars out, talking about why they play them, why it's got one volume knob, why it's got this, why it's got that, why they choose to play it, who turned them on to guitar, and then having a big old jam at the end, with some friends coming down."

So keep your ears open for news on the "Cult of Guitar" tour and stay patient for the next Judas Priest album, which is tentatively expected in 2017.

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