TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS Would 'Absolutely' Step In For PHILIP ANSELMO On PANTERA's 'Celebration' Tour

March 13, 2023

In a new interview with DJ Zoran Theodorovic of Metal Godz Radio, former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens asked if he would be "up to the task" of stepping in for Philip Anselmo, if he was approached about it, at a PANTERA concert on the reformed band's upcoming tour. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, I would be up to the task as celebrating PANTERA, like they're doing right now, which I think is fantastic. All these guys — Zakk [Wylde, guitar] and Charlie [Benante, drums] — you couldn't have picked two cooler guys to celebrate that. My thing is I would celebrate it.

"I have my own career; I do my own stuff. People are always, like, 'Oh, you're always singing for this and that.' Well, listen, I put records out of me singing my own stuff all the time; I can't put any more records out of me singing stuff."

Circling back to the possibility of him fronting PANTERA, Owens, who has previously covered PANTERA's classic song "Walk" on several occasions (see video below),said: "I nail styles like that. I love PANTERA and I love that style, and I would for sure get up and celebrate the career of PANTERA with those guys, absolutely. It's never gonna happen, but I'm not replacing anybody; I would just be celebrating it."

PANTERA's surviving members Anselmo and Rex Brown (bass),along with Wylde and Benante, are headlining a number of major festivals across South America, North America and Europe and staging some of their own headline concerts. They will also support METALLICA on a massive North American stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.

Owens previously discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback last December during an appearance on the "Smokin' Talk N' Roll" podcast. He said: "I think it's great. As long as they don't say it's… It's not PANTERA; it's a celebration of PANTERA. I think it should be [written] on the top of it: 'Celebration Of PANTERA'. People are loving it. Obviously, people hate everything, right? Go to Blabbermouth or wherever."

Expanding the discussion to include metal fans' general reluctance to embrace anything but the classic lineup with their favorite bands, Owens continued: "I had to live with [that kind of criticism as well when I joined JUDAS PRIEST]. That's why Ronnie [James Dio] and I hit it off and he took me under his wing right away. 'Cause he was, like, 'I had to go through it with BLACK SABBATH.' He was, like, the people in the crowd flipping you off…

"People don't give it a chance," Tim added. "When they say — to me, they [say things like], 'You're not a good singer,' or, 'You're a Rob Halford clone.' First of all, when you hear my records, I sound like me. I've been doing this for 20, 30 years; I've been putting these records out. [It's PRIEST album] 'Jugulator''s 25th anniversary. It sounds like me. Can someone finally just go, 'Yeah…' And they do say it, but then there's also people that [are], like, 'He's trying to be like Rob.' I'm, like, 'Why would I try to be like Rob?' And why would Zakk Wylde try to be like Dime. There's people who just attack you."

In December, PANTERA played seven shows in Mexico and South America. The band will next headline the 2023 "comeback" edition of Japan's Loud Park festival. The two-day "limited" event will take place on March 25 at Intex Osaka in Osaka and March 26 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City near Tokyo.

Brown was forced to leave PANTERA's Latin American tour after testing positive for COVID-19. Filling in for him at some of the shows was CATTLE DECAPITATION bassist Derek Engemann, who also plays with Anselmo in both PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS and SCOUR.

Tim "Ripper" Owens photo courtesy of Tim "Ripper" Owens

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