TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS Talks His Vocal Performance: 'I Don't Think I Sound Like Anybody' Else
January 3, 2023
In a new interview with Heavy New York, former JUDAS PRIEST and ICED EARTH singer Tim "Ripper" Owens reflected on his vocal performance on the debut album from WINTERS BANE, "Heart Of A Killer", which was released in 1993, three years before he joined PRIEST as the replacement for Rob Halford. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, it's funny, 'cause vocally, I would love to re-record 'Heart Of A Killer' now. Everybody's, like, 'That's one of your best vocal performances.' I'm, like, 'It's really not.' It has high notes and it's a good vocal album, but it doesn't have the character that I have now — it doesn't have the rasp, the heaviness. I still have the same highs. My highs right now — which I finally got 'em back — my highs right now are as good as ever. But I have a heavier tone to my voice, and I would love to do it with all the characters.
"The funny thing about that record is we recorded it on Massacre Records in Germany," he continued. "We had a week or so to record it. I had a day, a day and a half to record all my vocals. So whether I was sick or not, they waited till the end. So the day came for me to sing, and I'm thinking, 'Man, I hope I'm not gonna be sick, because I've got one day or two days to record the whole record.' So that was busted out like craziness."
According to Owens, "Heart Of A Killer" "showed what I sang like back then. It's not like I joined JUDAS PRIEST and I started singing that style," he explained. "And it took me a while to find the style when I was a singer. When I first started, I sounded like Brian Johnson — everything I sang. Whether it was SCORPIONS, it sounded like AC/DC. 'Cause I didn't know how to sing yet. I didn't know. And then I think listening to all my heroes — DIO and ANTHRAX; I was a big ANTHRAX fan — and then I realized, 'This is my voice. I've got this voice.' But it didn't have as much character back then; it was still straightforward, like on [the] WINTERS BANE [album]. But it started showing then, really, what I was like, what I was gonna sing like. And every day I tried to get better. I'm influenced by Chris Cornell, I'm influenced by Jon Oliva, so I kind of go on. But right now, it's funny, 'cause like I said, it molded me into sounded just like Tim 'Ripper' Owens. I don't think I sound like anybody; I don't think anybody sounds like me. And it's probably because I still try to get better and sound different as I go on."
Owens recently released a solo EP, "Return To Death Row". The effort was produced by Jamey Jasta (HATEBREED) and Nick Bellmore (JASTA, DEE SNIDER). Players on the EP, which contain Owens's "heaviest songs yet," include Nick Bellmore, Charlie Bellmore (DEE SNIDER, ex-TOXIC HOLOCAUST) on guitar, and Chris Beaudette (JASTA, ENTEIRRO) on bass.
Owens is currently the frontman of KK'S PRIEST, featuring fellow former JUDAS PRIEST member K.K. Downing.
Owens joined PRIEST after being discovered when the band's drummer, Scott Travis, was given a videotape of him performing with the PRIEST cover act BRITISH STEEL. JUDAS PRIEST at the time was seeking a replacement for Halford.
In 2019, Owens told Ultimate Guitar that he believes his era of JUDAS PRIEST is largely overlooked. "Yeah, I think it definitely deserves more [attention]," he said. "I mean, they don't do anything. [Laughs] It's kind of amazing that they just totally erased it that they won't play... I mean, 'Burn In Hell' [off 'Jugulator'], the crowd would like to hear 'Burn In Hell'.
"They don't have to give me a tribute or anything, but it would be nice to play a song from... You know, that was a pretty big thing, I did two studio records, two live records, and a DVD, starting from '96 to 2004. So it's kind of crazy that it's just been erased and they won't even play a song from it live, because it is JUDAS PRIEST."
"Demolition" and "Jugulator" are included on "50 Heavy Metal Years Of Music", JUDAS PRIEST's 2021 limited-edition box set which contains every official live and studio album to date plus 13 unreleased discs.
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