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INTERVIEW – TIM “RIPPER” OWENS, May 2012

| 27 September 2012 | Reply

By Shayne Bishop

Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens first rose to prominence in 1993 as Rob Halfords replacement in Judas Priest. Since then, he has embarked on a successful career, recording two albums as a member of Judas Priest, recorded an album as a solo artist as well as working with such metal greats as Iced Earth and guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen.

Currently Ripper is fronting the late Ronnie James Dio’s former band as Dio Disciples, while also fronting the all star cover band HAIL!, his own band Beyond Fear and a collaboration with former Iced Earth band mate Richard Christy, in Charred Walls of the Damned. If you’re thinking this must be an impossible work load to keep up with, Ripper also owns his own sports themed restaurant in Akron, Ohio!

With all of this on his plate, Ripper is still managing to find time for a solo tour of Australia next week. With the tour kicking off in Melbourne on Thursday, The Hard Rock Show thought we would have a chat with Ripper about his career, and what to expect from the tour.

What are your earliest musical memories?

Well that would be singing around the house as a kid to Elvis, Dion and the Belmounts and the Kiss and BTO!! I loved to entertain.

Before you became a successful vocalist, what job(s) did you do for a living?

I worked at a Law firm as a purchasing agent… It was a large Law firm called Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs!! That was for about 6 years then I sold printing at a place called Formost for a few years.

At what point were you able to give up your “day job” and focus on your career in music?

During the Judas Priest time, I still had to do odd jobs in my JP time.

Which vocalist(s) first inspired you to give it a try for yourself?

I would say Halford did. When I sang to the albums, it was me being me, that’s when I realized this is what it’s like.

Can you tell us a little about your time in Judas Priest. What was it like to tour the world with a band that you were so influenced by?

It was great. I mean I tour the world WAY more now and I have been to places within the last year that Priest still hasn’t been, too! But Man I love those guys and I had a great time, it was pretty amazing just hanging and being friends!

You were Rob Halfords replacement, and then you were replaced by Rob. Was that something you seen coming? And how did it make you feel?

Yes, it really had to happen. At the time Rob needed Judas Priest and Priest needed Rob. I had to do other stuff to further my career! I was ok with it.

Have you seen the movie “Rock Star”? It has been said that it is loosely based on your joining Judas Priest. What are your thoughts on it, and is there any accuracy to the story of the film at all?

Yes, the movie is loosely based on my life. It was really going to be about it but the band didn’t like how things were being written! The idea came from a New York Times article about me!! You can still find it out there! Movie was ok… Right idea but wrong ideas… Hahahaha

Out of all the projects you’ve been involved with (Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen), do any stand out heads and shoulders above the rest? Why?

Yes, to me it was and is Judas Priests “A Different Animal”, I mean it was amazing and the fans were amazing! And you get to say; hey I sing for Judas Priest and was nominated for a Grammy… Hahahah

We have all of heard of Yngwie Malmsteens reputation for being difficult to work with. Is there any truth in that at all? What were your experiences in working with him?

All good with Yngwie… What a talent he is, and funny as hell… I enjoy it a lot. I do wish I had more time to do more shows with him!

How do you think being involved in so many varied projects has shaped your development as a front man and vocalist?

Well I am the front man and singer I want to see… A front man the controls the crowd but also has a sense of humour up there and one that sings live what is on the CD… Singing with all of these bands has helped me, and I still learn all the time.

You’ve been active for over twenty years now, what would you say has been the biggest highlight of your career to date?

Making Priest and becoming friends with them… Also being nominated for a Grammy in 98! But I have to say, all of it is a highlight!! EVERY DAY.

How different is it to record, release and tour your own solo material, compared to the previous work you’ve been involved in?

Well it is hard to sell any CD’s nowadays, but it is more satisfying now… I control what I want to do, and touring solo is the best… I do love touring with Dio Disciples though. There’s something every night on stage, we feel it, feel Ronnie, and it is amazing!

Do you have any advice to share with up and coming bands/artists trying to create a name in music right now?

Wow, go to college… Hahaha!!! I say – Take it serious, it is not vacation it is a job and go up there to blow people away every night.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Well, my kids are!! As far as in music I still say making Judas Priest and next making my solo and Beyond Fear CD’s.

You have an obviously busy schedule, how do you balance it all?

I don’t, life gets tough… People think when I’m home I do nothing all day. If that was the case I would be on a golf course (Only 2 times last year) I am working all day, putting tours together, singing in the studio, doing interviews, updating Internet pages!! The funny thing is people sit behind a desk doing a few things a day at a job and act like it is tough (which it is) I do the same thing and work all day and people think what the hell do you do all day! Hahahahha. So what I am saying is I don’t balance it… Hahha!! Oh yeah, I own a restaurant too, which I should be at WAY more than I am!!

Speaking of your busy schedule, tell us about the projects that you are currently working on?

Dio Disciples. It is with Ronnie’s band and it celebrates Ronnie’s music… It is AMAZING… I’ve got Beyond Fear, which is currently recording a new CD and I have Charred Walls of the Damned, who just put out the second CD a few months ago… Plus all my solo touring!

What can people who have not seen you before, expect from you on your Australian tour?

A great set list that has everything in it from old to new.

Do you have a favourite song to perform at the moment?

I love to do Scream Machine and Starting Over.

Will you be recording more solo work in the future?

Not sure about that. Up next I’ll be recording with Beyond Fear… I would love to do another solo CD some day though.

Do you have any favourite bands at the moment? What attracts you to a certain band?

I don’t listen to much music… I love Heaven and Hell, Dio, Disturbed, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden.

How would you like people to remember you?

A Pro who cared about the way he sounded and wanted to always blow people away.

Thanks for taking some time out to talk with us. We’ll see you in Melbourne!

See you soon, spread the word and let’s let the metal flow… And come play my game!

Dates for Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens tour are as follows;

Thu 17 May – The Hi-Fi, VIC

Fri 18 May – The Brisbane Hotel, TAS

Sat 19 May – The Hi-Fi, QLD

Sun 20 May – Fowlers Live, SA

Mon 21 May – Amplifier Bar, WA

Thu 24 May – The Cambridge, NSW

Fri 25 May – The Basement, ACT

Sat 26 May – The Hi-Fi Sydney (The Entertainment Quarter), NSW

Sun 27 May – The Cabbage Tree Hotel, NSW

Tickets from http://www.moshtix.com.au/

Shane

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Category: Interviews

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