TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS Says RONNIE JAMES DIO Hologram Tour Is 'Opposite' Of A Cash Grab: 'It's A Cash Giveaway'

June 17, 2019

Former JUDAS PRIEST and ICED EARTH singer Tim "Ripper" Owens recently discussed the "Dio Returns" hologram tour with RadioactiveMike Z, host of the Riverside, California radio station 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the preparation that went into the "Dio Returns" tour:

Tim: "We've got a few songs we sing with the hologram and we've got to figure out where to stand, things like that. The pre-production was really long and right to the last minute. You're syncing everything together, and it's not just a hologram — it's a giant light show and video screens and all this stuff going on. There was a lot [that went] into it."

On the structure of the show:

Tim: "It really just goes itself. We don't want to talk too much, to be honest. I think we just want the show to run into each other. I'll come out and sing a couple, and Oni [Logan] will sing a couple. Obviously, in between, the hologram songs are going on, which are unbelievable, and then Oni and I will sing some together. I try not to do too much talking. For some reason, this show, it doesn't seem like I should... It's a special show. It's an amazing show. It's a very big production — a semi and two tour buses — and we got this thing out there. A lot of money is being spent to try and bring happiness and enjoyment to fans. Some fans don't like the idea because they think [it's] a cash grab, which is the stupidest thing I've heard because it's actually a cash grab in the opposite. It's a cash giveaway, because [Wendy Dio, Ronnie James Dio's widow and longtime manager] is throwing money out to do this thing. It's really an amazing show. It's a spectacle, entertainment, and it's unbelievable."

On his favorite DIO song to perform:

Tim: "I love singing 'Don't Talk To Strangers' because I haven't sang it in a long time. Oni starts off with the slow part, and then I come in and sing the rest of the song. I really love singing all of them. I actually love opening the show, when I come out opening with '[The] Mob Rules'. I love singing that. One of my favorites always to sing, which I'm not singing on this tour, is 'Heaven And Hell'. I love singing 'Heaven And Hell' — its ups and downs, and so much feel. Some are them are pretty hard, singing. Luckily, Ronnie's taking care of 'Rainbow In The Dark', because that one was always a tough one. Ronnie's a tough singer to sing. That's why Oni and I aren't pretending to be Ronnie Dio. We're our own singers."

On where things stand in regard to a DIO DISCIPLES studio album:

Tim: "I really haven't heard anything new on it. I've been busy making my own records, and I'm waiting to see what's going on. I don't know if it's still out there, if we're going to do it. I'm not sure. This past year, I've released [the] A NEW REVENGE record; I did SPIRITS OF FIRE; and then I released THE THREE TREMORS. I have three different types of music out there for myself, so I'm just waiting to see what's going to go out with the DIO DISCIPLES stuff."

On juggling multiple projects:

Tim: "It's a blast. It makes me be able to make a living. I do a lot; I stay busy; I do music. I'd rather do that than put a roof on right now in my life. To be out there in the hot sun tarring roofs, I think I'd rather be singing in a studio."

On CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED, his project with heavy metal drummer-turned-Howard Stern sidekick Richard Christy:

Tim: "I don't know what Richard's plans are. I'm extremely busy, but I'll always have room to do make a new CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED record. Richard's busy as well, but I would love for us to do it, because they're successful records. I know that we're not paid a lot to make the records, so it's not a very big investment that's put into it, and it's on a fantastic record label — Metal Blade. Brian [Slagel] and everybody at the record label is great. It's a low-cost record, so I know they'd have to be making some money back, so I think we definitely would be making another one."

On his favorite JUDAS PRIEST song to sing live:

Tim: "I loved singing the ones I did. I loved singing 'One On One' and 'Burn In Hell', but I loved singing the classics. I loved singing 'The Sentinel', but I probably loved singing songs like 'Metal Gods' and 'Grinder' [more] so I could get a break. Some of those songs off 'British Steel' would give me a nice break, or 'Hell Bent For Leather'... All those songs are so great to sing for a certain reason. Another one I do love singing is 'Electric Eye'. That's what got me sold on JUDAS PRIEST was that song. When I heard Rob [Halford] change his voice about three or four times at the beginning of the song, I was like, 'That guy's awesome.'"

The current leg of the "Dio Returns" hologram tour will wrap up on June 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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