Sunday, May 16, 2010
Play My Game...a conversation with Tim "Ripper" Owens
Tim “Ripper” Owens may be one of the busiest men in metal today. From his days fronting the legendary Judas Priest, to his stint with Iced Earth, and now he brings us a new solo album, Play My Game, an album with Richard Christy’s (The Howard Stern Show, Iced Earth)entitled Charred Walls of the Damned, and touring duties with Yngwie Malmsteen. I caught up with Ripper recently, and he filled me in on these incredible new projects, as well as talking a bit about his past work as well.
Let's start with your most recent release and work our way back a bit. Can you tell us a little about the creation of Play My Game?
Ripper: Well My manager and myself thought it was the right time to do this...even though the label who went bankrupt and did nothing for it (laughs)! But it is just a great CD, with a ton of great players on it.
How does the experience of composing compare with being a vocalist?
Ripper: Well I have always loved writing music..but I love singing as well. Just expressing myself in song is great but when you write it and add your feelings to it, it is special.
I, like many others, first became aware of your work through 1997's incredible album Jugulator, your first as Judas Priest vocalist. What was the recording process like for the album?
Ripper: It was a great time doing the Priest CD's..a lot of hard work, Glenn and Ken worked me hard (laughs). They knew I had areas in my voice that they could tap into, so they would just sit there and work me until I sang it!! You know these CD's had all the classic Priest style vocal and then a whole other range that isn't and wasn't in Priest.
How much of Jugulator was written before you came on board?
Ripper: All of it really...but vocally, the sky was the limit!
2001's Demolition was a great album as well, mixing various metal styles and featuring a raw back to basics tone to the recording. Was there a conscious effort on the band's behalf to shift gears a bit, or did it come about more organically?
Ripper: I felt it was more of an experimental CD...a lot of layers to it, and more melody than Jugulator. That was just a raw brutal CD...I really loved Demolition! The thing is, when you go back and listen to them now compared to what’s out there and been released, these CD's blow them away!
Your work with Priest touched on elements of science fiction and horror. Are you a fan of these particular genres?
Ripper: I am not (laughs), but I write about them, cause it is fun.
Can you tell us a little about your musical background?
Ripper: Well [I was] a choir singer who loved metal and just worked hard on my craft..[I] sang for a ton of Metal bands..US METAL, Brainacide, Winters Bane..just a ton of great bands and music!!
What would be the one defining moment that made you want to pursue a career as a vocalist?
Ripper: Judas Priest (laughs)!! When I made them I made it.
Looking to the future, what's coming our way next?
Ripper: Wow man, busy as hell..just put out the Charred Walls of the Damned CD with Richard Christy and it is doing great..I got tons of touring going on with Hail And CWOD and SOLO… all [info] can be found on my website (http://www.timripperowens.com/) and MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/timtheripperowens)
Also I got some great new merchandise on my site..shirts and Ripper hats!!
Do you have any final words for our readers?
Ripper: Metal...Buy my shit (laughs)!! Thanks everybody, you are all great!!!