TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS: 'We Don't Have The Rock Stars Like We Did Before'

May 5, 2020

In a recent interview with Big Music Geek, former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens spoke about how he has been able to adapt to the access-over-ownership business model of streaming music. "It's just not the same," he said. "We don't have the rock stars like we did before and that's really because everyone just streams music. Plus, you also have things like YouTube and you have social media. You just didn't have that in the '80s and even in the '90s. In the '80s, you wouldn't even hear a new song until it was debuted on the radio. You'd hear that JUDAS PRIEST 'Locked In' [from 'Turbo', 1986] was being debuted, so you would tape-record it. You would go to the record store when the record came out and you would get it. Now they're playing snippets of the new songs on social media, which is cool, but...

"When I was young, you went out and bought a magazine and you read the article, you took out the poster or you cut out the pictures and put them up on your wall," he continued. "Or you'd sit up and wait to watch [MTV's] 'Headbangers Ball' and watch the videos. That's all you had. Now everyone they just goes and look at pictures on the Internet. All of that's gone. And it's not that this era is bad. In fact, I think it's fantastic. I just feel bad because they've lost all of that. Back then, you had to sneak around to find out when a tour bus was coming so you could maybe watch or see where their hotels were. Now, the fans expect the musicians to come out to them. They're, like, 'Hey, shouldn't you guys be out meeting your fans?' But that's what made rock stars rock stars back then. They didn't hang out at the bar with their fans all the time because they were rock stars. It's just so different, ya know? We couldn't wait until that record release day so we could go get it. And you still have that on social media.

"I buy all my music on iTunes, but I don't stream anything because one million streams gets an artist three cents," he explained. "I buy all my music on iTunes, and I probably buy 75 more, just because when I'm at the gym or driving on tour, I go, 'Oh man, I'd love to get that new FOREIGNER record', ya know? They still have release days and you can still go get it, but it doesn't have the same sense of excitement of going the record store to get it.

"You know what's funny? This year is the first year that physical vinyl has outsold CDs... Vinyl is truly going to outsell the CD. How crazy is that?"

Owens recently completed work on the debut album from KK'S PRIEST, his new collaboration with founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing and ex-PRIEST drummer Les Binks. The band, which pays homage to Downing's past, is rounded out by guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE) and bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX).

KK'S PRIEST's debut album will be released via Explorer1 Music Group. The group will also 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.

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