October 15, 2022

METAL GODS, described as the ultimate ode to JUDAS PRIEST and DIO featuring Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, KK'S PRIEST) and Simon Wright (AC/DC, DIO),kicked off its Australian tour last night (Friday, October 14) in Brisbane. The METAL GODS band also features the talents of James Morley, former bassist with THE ANGELS, and Joel McDonald, known for his work with ROSE TATTOO and various members of KISS.

METAL GODS is performing all the hits from Ronnie James Dio's catalog with BLACK SABBATH and RAINBOW, as well as Dio's solo classics such as "Holy Diver" and "Rainbow In The Dark".

This past May, Owens told the "Everblack" podcast about the METAL GODS tour: "It's not a normal tour for me. I'd like to come there and play a solo tour as well. But these kinds of shows are fun. I love singing Dio. It's gonna have not my typical type of set with PRIEST, but it'll have a couple of my-era PRIEST songs in it. James has set this whole thing up, and it's really gonna be a good time.

"Dio stuff, I love singing it, but it tears me down, man," Tim admitted. "It's not my regular stuff. Even though I sound like it's right in my wheelhouse when I sing it, it's not.

"It's a great setlist we've put together — RAINBOW, SABBATH, DIO, PRIEST," Owens added. "It's gonna be a really good show."

Remaining tour dates:

Oct. 15 - Bridgeway Live - Adelaide, SA
Oct. 16 - The Corner Hotel - Melbourne, VIC
Oct. 21 - Manning Bar - Sydney, NSW
Oct. 22 - Badlands - Perth, WA

Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 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 Rob Halford. The Ohio-based singer created two studio albums with the British heavy metal legends — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before the band reunited with 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," he continued. "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."

Wright, most recently a member of DIO DISCIPLES and also known for his work in DIO, RHINO BUCKET and UFO, lasted in AC/DC for six years. Wright, a then-unknown drummer whose first credits included Manchester, England metal outfit A II Z, joined AC/DC in time for the touring cycle for "Flick Of The Switch" and played with the Australian rockers throughout the '80s before leaving to join DIO in 1989.

Four years ago, Wright told the WSOU 89.5 FM radio station that Dio played a "massive" role in his career. "When I joined [DIO] in 1990, it was a little. short [run]," he explained. "[I] was only about three years with him when I first joined. And then I rejoined again in '98. And I ended up moving into his house. There were a few people staying there as well. I went through a horrible divorce — blah blah blah — and I was gonna quit. I said, 'I'm going back to England. I've had enough of all this. I'll stop playing drums.' So he said, 'No, don't do that. Just come over and just hang at my place and stuff, and get your head together.' And I ended up staying there for about 14 years. [Laughs] So he was quite a big part of my life. We got to know each other. We kind of bonded a bit more. We did a lot of work on the house together — not doing music, but just building things and stuff. And I looked after him a lot when he got really, really sick at home."

Wright went on to say that Ronnie's death 12 years ago was "a massive loss to me and to a lot of people. He was such a clever, smart, funny, funny guy. And what a singer and what a songwriter — you know, amazing."

Asked what it was like living with Ronnie for such a long period, Simon said: "It was good at the house. He had a studio downstairs and stuff. And when the writing process started for the albums, that was always great. He had some incredible ideas. To actually be there and see that process happening was something I'll never forget. It's amazing stuff."

Ronnie passed away of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010 at the age of 67.

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