Tim “Ripper” Owens waits patiently to set up the cameras, the microphones, the lights while he doesn’t miss a chance to joke around and remember various incidents from his past visits in Greece. When everything is ready, “Ripper” shares with us all the details regarding all about Hail and much more…A big “thank you” goes out to Mark Abbatista for all the necessary arrangements.
Interview: Sakis Nikas
Rockpages.gr: Tim, welcome to Greece.
Tim Owens: Thank you.
Rockpages.gr: You are here with Hail. Who had the idea for the formation of this supergroup?
Tim Owens: We decided to join our super powers and put our hands together and say “Hail”! I think Jimmy (De Grasso) is the Invisible Man (laughs)…Actually, the whole idea started after a jam that I did with David (Ellefson) and we said that it would be cool to do this someday. David had a friend…Mark…well, I don’t know if you can call him “friend” because Mark (ed. note: Mark Abbatista who is the Hail’s tour manager is present during the interview) has no real friends (laughs)…anyway, Mark organizes all these KISS conventions in the States and he was the one who got us all together. When we first played in Chile, we realized that it was something really special and it would be nice to…spread our powers throughout the world…save small children! (ed. note Mark is laughing and says “what the hell is he talking about”)
Rockpages.gr: Who had the idea on which songs are you gonna play?
Tim Owens: All of us actually sat down and talked about it…obviously there gonna be Sepultura and Priest songs…David became the “set-list guy”, but everybody had a few ideas about the songs and most of the times when they wanted certain songs I would say “no”…
Rockpages.gr: I know that it’s too soon, but are you thinking of doing something with Hail in the studio?
Tim Owens: You know…the thing is that this group is so special…we are going out and play songs from our heroes...the fans are getting something really special. All of us have our own bands and time wise it would be difficult...But, you don’t get to see well-known musicians getting together, travelling around the world and playing their favorite songs. Maybe, it would be something they would do at home, but not at this extent. We enjoy it and I think the fans enjoy it…
Rockpages.gr: You are also about to release a solo record. Would you like to tell us something about it?
Tim “Ripper” Owens: I’ve got almost everybody in there…from Rudy Sarzo to Billy Sheehan, Doug Aldrich, Steve Stevens, Vinny Appice, Simon Wright, Dave Ellefson, Bruce and Bob Kulick…it’s different…it’s more melodic…hard rock, maybe influenced a little bit by Sabbath and Priest whereas Beyond Fear is more “in your face”. I am looking forward to having a listening party for “Play My Game” when I return to the States.
Rockpages.gr: Now that you mention Beyond Fear, what’s the status of the group at this point?
Tim Owens: Well, most of the songs for the second album are already written…my manager thought that it would be best if we released the solo album first…we are definitely active, we live together…well, not in the same house (laughs)…but nearby…it’s a good thing! The next record will be a little more aggressive!
Rockpages.gr: How about Yngwie Malmsteen? Was it an one-off deal?
Tim Owens: No…I know Yngwie for many years. I did “Mr. Crowley” with him back in 2001 and we always talked about doing something together when the time is right. So, we met at a Starbucks…I guess, that’s where you are going when you get older (laughs)! It was a good meeting…after a while, I listened to the new material and I really liked it. We did the record, a world tour and I actually got back from Japan last week…it was great. We will definitely do another record together! It’s fun being on stage with Yngwie.
Rockpages.gr: What went wrong with Iced Earth?
Tim Owens: It just didn’t work out, you know…it was the best for both of us, really…but it ended in an unprofessional way. Δεν ήθελα να τελειώσει με αυτό τον τρόπο, αυτό είναι το μόνο σίγουρο. I didn’t want to end this way, that’s for sure. It had to happen…it wasn’t going anywhere for me and Iced Earth. The right move was to get Matt (Barlow) back, that what they fans wanted, after all. But, everything’s going great for me…I just finished a solo record and had a blast with Yngwie, so…
Rockpages.gr: I know that you are a big Priest fan…if you had the opportunity to change something in the two records that you did with them, would you do anything? Maybe, something regarding the compositions…
Tim Owens: First of all, I love both records. Looking back now, I see how different they are, but I still like them. I write in a complete different way…I’d probably prefer more the classic, old-Priest type of material…like the way I write in my albums…”British Steel” kind of stuff…for example “Scream Machine” (Beyond Fear) was like a Priest song. The title track of “Play My Game” was originally written for Judas Priest…also, the song “Save Me” (Beyond Fear”) was also considered for Judas Priest. But, I totally understand their decision…Priest has treated me better than any band that I’ve been with.
Rockpages.gr: Did you like “Nostradamus”?
Tim Owens: Ahh…I think it’s a good record. It’s not the kind of record I would have put out, but it’s a good record…I prefer the songs to be more...not so laid back…But, Judas Priest always released different records, they changed with every album…
Rockpages.gr: What did you think about the “Rock Star” movie?
Tim Owens: It is what it is…obviously, it’s based on me but I didn’t really like the rock star cliché that they projected, you know…sex, drugs and rock n roll…lots of women…of course they are some those thing in a rock band, but…in a Judas Priest tour, I didn’t notice anything…unless, I was too drunk to remember (laughs)! Apart from that, the movie was OK…