Tim 'Ripper' Owens (Beyond Fear)
'Preaching To A New Choir'
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is without doubt among the most important metal vocalists of the past ten years. When he succeeded Rob Halford, joining Judas Priest in May 1996, the press rubbed their eyes, surprised as well as impressed: Owens had previously been a fairly unknown quantity to international music journalists, but recorded his first Priest album, Jugulator, with more aplomb than even insiders had expected. Following successful tours with the British metal legends, the strong studio recording, Demolition (2001), and the live recordings, Meltdown - 98 Live (1998) and Live In London (2003), Halford’s return put an end to Owens’ stint with Judas Priest.
More or less immediately, he was enlisted by Jon Schaffer to team up with Iced Earth and sang on The Glorious Burdon in spring 2004. Yet there was never any doubt in Owens’ mind that he wanted to release an album featuring his own material as soon as possible.
He is now about to carry out his ambitious plan with Beyond Fear, the debut by his same-named new band (Owens - vocals, John Comprix - rhythm & lead guitar, Dwane Bihary - rhythm guitar, Dennis Hayes - bass, and Eric Elkins - drums), just released on Steamhammer/SPV.
Chatting recently with Tim, and knowing that he had first come to worldwide acclaim by being plucked from a Judas Priest cover band to suddenly front the actual metal Gods themselves, I first wondered what his memories of those days were like? "Great times man. It was a blast and I made some great friends. You know they were my favorite band as a kid so it was just an amazing ride."
Did the film 'Rockstar,' which was supposedly inspired by your events, really portray it accurately? "F**k no! It was way off. I wish they could have made a real movie but we knew it was gonna be out there so we pulled away. It was lame and the music was horrible, but the band in the movie was cool!"
And, come the finale was there massive sour grapes between you and Judas Priest when after just two albums they decided to let you go to reform with Rob back at the vocal helm again? "No, it had to happen. I mean I'm better off, Rob's better off and the band is better off. I went on to Iced Earth and made one of the best Metal CD's of the year."
In reflection, do you feel that your time spent in Iced Earth was nothing more than a stepping stone, a musical marriage of convenience, perhaps? "I'm still in IE and loving it. It is great stuff to sing and Jon and I are real good friends."
OK, for the Average Joe who may not have heard of Beyond Fear and was thinking of buying their new self-titled CD, how would you yourself describe your sound and what they are to expect? "METAL! Classic metal moved to the year 2006. We are not stuck in the 80's, but we are influenced by it! It sounds like BEYOND FEAR."
And when a band self-titles their album it means that it was a bout of creative genius or one of complete laziness ... so, which was it?! "Well it is our 1st CD and I thought it was the best thing to do. I was gonna name it and had some ready, but it just didn't work for me."
And just where does the band name originate and what else could it so easily have been called? "Well, it was Beyond All Fear and then I just liked Beyond Fear. I think it is the band, the name fits. I love it, ... BEYOND FEAR. See, it works, lol!"
And, while we're continuing to reveal things, just where did your nickname 'Ripper' come from?! "Priest named me that the day I tried out and it stuck. I think it was a joke at first, Glenn just said, 'hey Ripper,' ... funny. Thank God he didn't say, 'hey asshole,' ... lol!"
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Beyond Fear their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "Well, not lyrics but 'And ... You Will Die' is everything in a nutshell. But 'Coming At You' is pretty cool."
Please, and for fun, taking some titles from your new CD, answer these next questions with a smile:
'Scream Machine' - Have you ever had a girlfriend that in the sack was a real scream machine ... so much so that you actually got embarrassed by the noise?! "I better not answer ... OK, I will but she will be pissed! My wife ... better shut the windows ... haha."
'Dreams Come True' - Do you have any recurring dreams and have any ever come true? "That I make money in music ... and no they haven't, lol."
'Words of Wisdom' - What have thus far been the best words of wisdom spoken to you ... and by whom? "My Dad. He said do the music thing because you only live once ... so do it."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "WOW ... 'Unskinny Bop.' It is a cheesy horrible song. OK, never mind ... 'Taking Care Of Business' by BTO. Yea man!"
Please fill in the one word blanks below:
Childhood Pet = Bruno
Street you grew up on = 10th
This now makes your Porn Star name = Bruno 10 ("Cool!")
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I do and I own 3 of them. I really breed them and dolphins ! It is a lot of fun, I'm trying to breed them together to make Dolphguins but not sure how to do it! Really, I could care less about penguins! If I had some I would grill them and eat 'em!"
Thanx again for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for the future "Thank you and let's get Beyond Fear out there ... at least it is real metal and not fake!! Keep it heavy man. Tim."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Beyond Fear's new CD, just answer this easy question: At which legendary studio was this debut recorded in Tampa, Florida?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before September 1st with your answer and the subject title 'BEYOND FEAR SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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