TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS Defends KK'S PRIEST Against JUDAS PRIEST 'Soundalike' Criticism
June 9, 2021
Former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens spoke to the 80's Glam Metalcast about "Sermons Of The Sinner", the upcoming debut album from KK'S PRIEST, his new band with ex-JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing, along with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE),bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE). Regarding the record's overall musical direction, Owens said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think people got, right out of the gate, with [the recently released first single] 'Hellfire Thunderbolt', I think they got a taste of it, what's kind of in store for you. The album really has a little bit of everything. It's got the aggression; you hear it with 'Hellfire'. Even beyond that, with a couple of the tracks, right out of the gate, it has that. But it also has the classic metal to it — it has the classic K.K. feel going on with it as well. So it's got the singalongs, the great live songs, the epic songs — it's got a little bit of everything. The next one out of the gate, with 'Sermons Of The Sinner', it's a very falsetto-y, high-pitched song — a lot of that stuff going on. And then the rest of the album mixes it up very well."
Tim also addressed criticism from some fans that "Hellfire Thunderbolt" borrows a little too heavily from Owens's and Downing's former group.
"It's funny, 'cause, obviously, people complain about everything, which, I guess, is how the cookie crumbles nowadays," he said. "But I think it's one of the dumbest things that I hear people, who get mad at it, say that, like, 'Wow, it kind of sounds like JUDAS…' Well, K.K. Downing wrote JUDAS PRIEST songs since the 1970s, writing JUDAS PRIEST songs and onlyJUDAS PRIEST songs since then, so I think you can maybe also say that it sounds like K.K. Downing, because that's how he writes. And I think it's a fantastic thing that he didn't try to go off and invent the wheel again. That's the sound that K.K. has; he's written JUDAS PRIEST songs. And it's fantastic. It's got that classic sound. And no need to go away from that."
According to Tim, "Sermons Of The Sinner" is reminiscent of Downing's past efforts but doesn't come across as a copy of any of PRIEST's classic albums.
"The thing is it definitely doesn't sound like one record, like Ken just went to make this sound like that," Owens explained. "I think he just wrote songs. And while he's writing songs, I hear pieces and little guitar parts that kind of remind me of going back to even [JUDAS PRIEST's debut album, 1974's] 'Rocka Rolla'. Some of the guitar tones and some of these little leads, when it's a mellow part, and the ending of [album closer] 'Return Of The Sentinel' just reminds me of going back there. So, to me, I think it's got a little bit of everything. I can really tell that K.K. wasn't forcing something, that he was just writing music. He sat down and wrote songs. And he didn't have to please anybody, to write a certain style; he just had to please himself to write stuff. And I think that's what's so cool about it. I think it really sounds like not one individual record at all."
"Sermons Of The Sinner" will be released on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.
Downing spent four months writing and recording "Sermons Of The Sinner" and, along with new ideas, he even resurrected a few archived riffs from the '80s. After partnering with Explorer1 Music Group, the album was originally intended for release a year ago, but with the COVID-19 pandemic curtailing everyone's release and touring plans, Downing pulled back and spent two more months tweaking the album to how he wanted it.
KK'S PRIEST will play select shows to mark the 50th anniversary of PRIEST and Downing's career as a founding member. KK'S PRIEST's setlist will consist of PRIEST classics and new songs.
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Rob Halford in 2003.
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
In 2019, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band's upcoming 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.
In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST after Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.