Impact metal channel conducted an interview with powerhouse American singer Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) before his September 26 concert in Dublin, Ireland. You can now listen to the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he is still in touch with the guys from JUDAS PRIEST:
Tim: "I am in touch with the guys, but not… I mean, we're really good friends, including Rob [Halford], but we really don't stay in touch as much as I'd like, as probably all of us… But we're all so busy doing other stuff, you know, so you really don't stay in touch that much. But I'll call 'em every now and then, or they'll call me, or drop an e-mail, and [we're] still good friends."
On whether he liked the latest JUDAS PRIEST album, "Redeemer Of Souls":
Tim: "I do like it, yeah. I think it's a good record."
On the 2001 Warner Bros. movie "Rock Star", starring Mark Wahlberg as a salesman-turned-rock star styled after Owens, who fronted a JUDAS PRIEST cover band before being tapped to become the new lead singer of the actual group:
Tim: "Well, I'm actually honored. But the things is, it's loosely based [on my story], and originally we were really gonna be a part of it, but [the filmmakers] just weren't making it accurate, so we pulled away. But I think a true movie about my life would have been much more interesting, just because of the things that happened. At that time, metal wasn't thriving — in the mid-'90s; '96 when I made PRIEST — so it's just what they portrayed; they always portrayed the sex, drugs and rock and roll. Just some of the things they did… But, to be honest, it's a pretty big honor to have them make a movie."
On Rob Halford's solo albums and Rob's other projects, like TWO:
Tim: "I loved his solo records, and I loved FIGHT. When the first FIGHT record [1993's 'War Of Words'] came out, it was just perfect for what I like; that first FIGHT record was just absolutely perfect for what I like, to tell the truth. And I like his solo records. I didn't really to the TWO as much, so I can't say too much. It really wasn't my cup of tea that much, and I think it was more because, not the music and that he experimented and did different stuff, I think it was just I didn't hear the Rob Halford soaring vocals when I heard it. But I can't say much about it, 'cause I never really listened to it that much."
On PROJECT ROCK (formerly ROCKSTAR), the band featuring Owens alongside Keri Kelli (SLASH'S SNAKEPIT, ALICE COOPER, RATT) on guitar, James Kottak (SCORPIONS, KINGDOM COME) on drums, Rudy Sarzo (OZZY OSBOURNE, QUIET RIOT, WHITESNAKE, DIO) on bass and Teddy "Zig Zag" Andreadis (GUNS N' ROSES) on keyboards:
Tim: "It's going good. We have an album written and recorded and ready to go. We were gonna release it on a label, but we weren't happy with the contract. But it's good. 'Cause it just started off as an all-star cover band doing all of our stuff. And I think Keri Kelli is a very great driving force and he is very talented, so he said, 'Let's write some songs.' And we wrote a record. So it's really good. 'Cause it's a little bit different for me. Every song.. almost every song, but maybe three, you can hear on the radio somehow, but not in a commercial way, in a metal way. It's a little more straightforward and hold-your-beer-up-and-sing-along kind of stuff. It's really cool. I really like it a lot."
On the upcoming third album from CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED, the project led by acclaimed metal drummer Richard Christy (ICED EARTH, DEATH, LEASH LAW, CONTROL DENIED, BURNING INSIDE):
Tim: "Yeah, we're gonna be maybe recording it this year. If not, it'll be early next year. I just talked to Richard the other day. So he's getting all the stuff together and we're gonna be heading into the studio soon, probably, with that. I mean, there's so much going on. Everybody's always, like, 'Why don't you do your own music?' to me. I'm, like, I do my own music a lot. I mean, think about it: two CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED records, a solo record, BEYOND FEAR, PROJECT ROCK now. I'm working with a band called TRED that has Michael Orlando [ADRENALINE MOB] on guitar, Rudy Sarzo [QUIET RIOT, OZZY OSBOURNE, DIO] on bass and A.J. Pero [TWISTED SISTER, ADRENALINE MOB] on drums. We have about six demo songs written. A new BEYOND FEAR record is gonna be ready to go. And even when I tour, I'm doing a setlist [where] the majority are my songs. Even if it's JUDAS PRIEST, it's 'Jugulator' and 'Demolition'. So I stay busy and I'm looking forward to doing the new CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED."
Owens recorded two studio albums with JUDAS PRIEST — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before the band reunited with Rob Halford in 2003.