Tim “Ripper” Owens was no longer a member of Judas Priest and had moved on when the Metal God Rob Halford chose to return to their ranks. Of course the singer would not sit idly by and instead would hook up with the one and only Iced Earth and record their stunning “The Glorious Burden “CD. The powerful release found the group touring to support it and playing with Children Of Bodom as their direct support along with Sweden’s Evergrey. We caught up with the vocalist backstage at the venue and discussed a few of the recent happenings.
KP: Tim it’s indeed a great pleasure to meet you face to face and let me first thank you for taking the time to sit and talk with me on behalf of the Metal Circus
Ripper: Good Man
KP: So it’s awesome to see you in New York again, so how does it feel to be back in the Big Apple
Ripper: It’s great you know I was just doing some promotion here not too long ago did MTV and Sirius Music and a bunch of stuff but its nice to play here. We should be playing someplace a little bit bigger though I think.
KP: Well you gotta admit an intimate room is good sometimes.
Ripper: Definately, it is nice to have a room this size and it was sold out but if there was some way we could have moved up but its a pretty cool place.
KP: Its nice to see how well you have stepped into the role of singer for Iced Earth and I think this album is fucking killer man, I love it and cant stop listening to it. Also I am a new fan of the band to be honest
Ripper: Cool thanks
KP: I also liked you in Priest, so I have to ask are you happy with the response you’ve been getting so far?
Ripper: Yeah its been all positive but obviously the only downfall we ever get is people who say that its a political record and we cant figure it out. Canada was pretty bad on that, a magazine was on that but we are not worried since its really just a small low budget magazine anyways, a crap magazine.
KP: I’ll leave the name out.
Ripper: Yeah they really hammered it saying it was a political album and we cant quite figure out how people would say that.
KP: so the site I write for is in Spain, so I am their New York guy and they love this record and their big fans and this site is 100% behind it
Ripper: Well the fans have been really behind it.
KP: So we have site visitors raving about the review we did of the CD and there are rave reports coming in on shows they have heard about so their question is are you going to Spain with this soon?
Ripper: We havent yet and we were supposed to but earlier this year Jon’s back was bad.
KP: Yet he is doing good now.
Ripper: He is feeling better on that, but he is actually sick today and he has a stomach virus or something.
KP: So how long is this tour going to go on for you guys?
Ripper: Uhm, well we go to LA on the 20th May, Go to Japan for three dates, and come back for more American dates and then we pretty much end on June 26th in Europe. We have two Festivals in Europe, Grasspop which we are headlining on the Friday and German Bang Your Head Festival.
KP: Those sound like two good festivals to be part of.
Ripper: Oh yeah.
KP: So whats next for you are you going to do another Iced Earth record?
Ripper: Oh definately.
KP: Now I heard some rumbling about some solo stuff from you…
Ripper: I am going to do some solo stuff – I gotta get it signed but I am gonna do it. It’ll be a solo record and more of a side project type of record I am definately going to do that.
KP: Definately going to be metal though right?
Ripper: Its gonna be metal yeah but my main band is Iced Earth.
KP: I am really happy to see you in this band cuz I even said to your friend Chris when I talked to him that I liked you in Priest but I love the work you do in Iced Earth. Now I was one of those fans that embraced it when you were in Priest because I said, well Halford left .
Ripper: I think overall I was embraced in Priest , I mean most of the fans embraced me, and there are some old school fans that might not have but ..
KP: Well that was their loss I mean I got the records and the DVD’s and its great stuff.
Ripper: Well overall it was a positive response and when people saw us live it was always a good thing. It was always a good time I think I succeeded in Priest. We might not have succeeded but we still kept going in metal and we still kept playing and we sold a lot of places out, and well while the albums didnt sell but neither did Halfords neither did some other people I mean its just the way it is. But it was a good time and it made my mark.
KP: So I have to ask you are you happy to see this resurgence of big metal, I always seem to ask everyone this.
Ripper: Well yeah, I’ve seen a big difference over the past years since I joined Priest, because when I joined Priest there was nothing going on. Now people might say why is it all of a sudden doing it now well bands are starting to play more like that and more metal bands came out . I mean it might not be the metal that old school metal fans like but bands like Disturbed and Godsmack and stuff but it did start emerging at that time since I joined Priest and fans seem to start embracing the whole metal market again. Folks call it New Metal but I think myself its just metal of some sort. Of course I dont wanna be classified as old metal because then I am classic rock . Yet I think that when a lot of all these other different metal bands started coming out It just put kids awareness back to that. Plus Ozzfest didnt hurt either with doing a metal show and mostly featuring new bands at the time. Still it helped and Its music has always been there. Metal never really died.
KP: So any last minute addition to this years Ozzfest?
Ripper: No. It would have been a good year to do it this year, because of the lineup. I am not sure we are going to do it, if the numbers are ever there and the money is there and its not a loss and we can do it sure. Which I think in Ozzfest might be kind of hard since you dont just jump on Ozzfest, you sorta have to pay your way on it and we’re not going to do that. We like to get on another tour maybe supporting a bigger act but right now we’ve been selling out all of our shows right now and its been good.
KP: Well, its a great response that I’ve seen and that I have been reading about and for me every time I recommend a new record I have been saying topeople that Ihave been listening to this new Iced Earth and I say grab it. It was among the things when I spoke to Chris (Caffery) that I said what is in your CD Changer and he was like I have been listening to it a lot, I cant turn it off.
Ripper: Yeah its a good album and it has a lot of good songs I mean Iced Earth is about mixing it up and having a lot of melody.
KP: What are some surprises we are in store for tonight? Will it be most of the Glorious Burden or maybe even hear the whole album tonight?
Ripper: No its old and new of course we do have a lot of Glorious Burden in the set, because we have Declaration Day and Greenface and Red Baron, When Eagle Cries and of course Gettysburg I think is the highlight of the evening.
KP: I also like Dont Tread On Me.
Ripper: Yeah thats a good one, we tried to fit that in but we just could not fit it into the setlist. We’re going to try and get it for the next time. I mean we rehearsed it but it was so hard and we wanted to put a different mix on it.
KP: You think that there will be a live DVD released of this short tour.
Ripper: We might, but we are releasing a Gettysburg DVD. It’s going to be all about Gettysburg and it will have the music and song in it so I think it will be pretty awesome. Hopefully we will release a live one .
KP: Yeah that will be good because you are coming in at a perfect time for it since you have this killer record and there is a back catalog for Iced Earth and it’s high time for a great double live album from them
Ripper: Yeah I would really like to do a live one eventually.
KP: Well let me let you get something to eat and to meet your next interview. Kick ass tonight and Keep rocking. Thanks very much for your time.
Ripper: You’re welcome, thanks for the support.
Here’s a photo of Ripper and I post the interview discussion.
Editor’s Note: This article was written for another medium prior to the 2005 launch of PiercingMetal.com and has been added to our content for your enjoyment.