Jay Nanda of the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner conducted an interview with powerhouse American vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens (DIO DISCIPLES, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: I was excited to learn you had joined Yngwie [Malmsteen] in 2008, though he usually only lasts one or two albums with the same singer. What happened in your case?
Owens: I’m still with Yngwie.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: Oh, really? I had read where you said you didn’t know about his “Relentless” album coming out with you on it, so it sounded like you weren’t in the band anymore.
Owens: I had been asked in an interview about Yngwie releasing an album, and I didn’t know about it. The songs that were left after “Perpetual Flame” (in 2008) weren’t actually leftovers. They were extra material. I actually like “Relentless” better than “Perpetual Flame”. But Yngwie releases a lot of instrumentals, so I didn’t know if those songs were going to be released. I actually leave the DIO DISCIPLES tour and go on tour with Yngwie.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: When you were in [JUDAS] PRIEST, how hard was it on you as the rumors kept building regarding Rob’s [Halford] return, and the rest of the guys doing interviews and being asked about him?
Owens: Well, I knew it was going to happen someday, but everyone around me was so professional in the way they handled it. The band and I, we’re friends, you know. Listen, the proof was in the pudding when I got on stage and I could sing the material. Now when you look back after all these years, if you compare “Jugulator” [the 1997 JUDAS PRIEST album featuring Owens on lead vocals] and “Nostradamus” [the 2008 PRIEST double-disc concept album which is based on the mysterious, world-known 16th century French prophet Nostradamus], I think “Jugulator” is better. But Rob is the man. I understand that, and I knew it was going to come. And to tell you the truth, I was actually alright with it coming. I tour more and do more stuff in my life now. But if I hadn’t done PRIEST, I wouldn’t be doing some of the stuff I do now, either.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: So what do you think of [guitarist] K.K.’s [Downing] departure [from JUDAS PRIEST]? When was the last time you saw him or spoke with him?
Owens: You know, it’s just one of those things. I’d rather see him in the band. Hopefully, it will work out one day, and everything will be hunky-dory. I’m glad everyone’s happy and Ken’s happy. They’ve had this so-called last tour, but they’re not really advertising it as such anymore, and maybe that has to do with Ken not being there. I don’t know. Maybe someday it’ll work out again, and they’ll make another record (with him) or go out again. I saw him in Manchester, England, a few months back, maybe in June, at one of the DIO DISCIPLES shows.