Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is a shining example of making your rock ‘n’ roll dreams come true. He used to be the vocalist for a band doing Judas Priest covers, British Steel (‘93-‘97), back in Ohio, US, when Judas Priest called Tim to join the band, replacing Rob Holford. Interesting to note, British Steel was the Judas Priest avatar, the band also went by Winters Bane when it performed its own music. During his time with Judas Priest (’97-‘03), Owens recorded two studio albums Jugulator and Demolition, as well as two live albums and a DVD. Owens also contributed in writing the Judas Priest song, ‘What’s My Name’.
When Holford reunited with the Band, Ownes went on to sing for another beloved metal icon Iced Earth (’03 – circa ’06)
Tim Ripper Owens with Iced Earth Ten Thousand Strong
Owens went on to do vocals for a number of projects the latest being Project Rock. Rock Era Magazine had an interview with him to discuss this as well as his life, highlights, disappointments, and what we can expect at his show in Dubai.
You are a shining example for anyone in a tribute band. Can you tell us a bit about the start of your career why a Judas Priest tribute band and how were you invited to join Judas Priest?
Well, I was in a band called Winters Bane that had a new CD out, a power metal band. Metal was in a bad state at the time (mid 90’s) so we did a Judas Priest tribute to get shows. We would open as Winters Bane and then do Judas Priest! I did that for a year or so and then I moved on! When Judas Priest called I was not in The Winters Bane band for over a year.
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens with Judas Priest
You had a premonition about this? Did you have any more ‘dreams come true’ in your career?
I never really thought I would make it in music, but it is a dream come true. I mean making your favorite band and having the career I have had is a dream.
Can you tell us how you have grown as an artist from being in a cover band, to singing in a number of different bands, your solo album, and your latest projects?
Well I have grown on learning how to sing and tour and write songs. I mean it is my job so I try and stay aware of what to do to sing well! I have learned how to treat my voice to make sure I will be 100% on stage.
The number of musicians you have worked with is amazing. What does it take to be so flexible as a musician in the metal world?
Well I have and it’s great, I am lucky that I have a voice that can change and sing different types of music! I mean when I am off and I get a call to do something, I do it because it’s my job and I love to sing! This era you cannot be in one band and make it! I have bills!
How has your character as a person build your success as a musician? And can you give key takeaways for your fans and aspiring musicians?
Again you need to go on stage to blow people away, you need to treat fans good. I pride myself in all of these things! New musicians need to realize that you are not a ‘rock star’ and even if you are, no need to act like it! You may be the big guy in your hometown but no one cares outside of it! Go out there and do your best, IT IS NOT A VACATION it is a job!
Which is your favorite album(s) you have worked on and why?
Well I really love them all, I can’t narrow it to 1, but Jugulator and Beyond Fear really stick out! I just love all I have done – all different and all are me!
Who is your favorite musician(s) to work with and why?
Well my hometown guys are great, John Comprix and Eric Elkins from Beyond Fear. Love the Judas Priest guys like brothers. Then Simon Wright and Rudy Sarzo! Keri Kelli and I have a great relationship and have made some great music and a CD coming out with Project Rock!
Which was your favorite band(s) to perform live with and why?
Judas Priest and Dio Disciples. It’s something about the feel. Dio Disciples didn’t really make me money but made me feel something inside. Ronnie was the best and for me to celebrate him is something special! Judas Priest, well I mean it was like a family, so many good times. I really miss hanging with the guys.
Which is your favorite song(s) and why?
‘Blood Stained’ because it has every type of vocals in it and is a great exercise in singing! ‘Scream Machine’ because it’s an old school high note tune and my version of ‘Diamonds and Rust’.
Which has been your biggest disappointment in your career and why?
I didn’t have much – maybe that my solo CD Play My Game did not come out like I wanted it! The demos had a great feel but it never came across on the real CD, the sound wasn’t what I wanted. The sound on Beyond Fear was great but never got it on my solo CD and it was all my fault.
You are known as one of the most important vocalists in the history of metal. Any health tips for aspiring vocalists?
Wow – thanks! LOL. Sleep, water, and don’t talk much. Know your voice; know what you need to do to sing well.
Can you tell us more about Project Rock and who are involved in it?
Yea, Keri Kelli, Ruddy Sarzo, Teddy Zig Zag and James Kottack. It started as an all-star band playing songs from all of our careers. Then we wrote a CD and recorded it, and I can’t wait to get it out. Just good old straight forward hard rock!
What projects are you working on now?
Well I have been writing and recorded music for a Zombie movie and I will be recording vocals for a new Charred Walls of the Damned CD and still doing some vocals for Beyond Fear. I stay busy; I am always touring or recording something.
What can we expect from your show in Dubai? Would you be playing any Judas Priest and Iced Earth or mainly newer stuff?
It is gonna be a fun set! Classic Priest, my era Priest, Beyond Fear and a solo tune. I mean you gotta do Scream Machine! LOL Fans are gonna love it!