Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is a Grammy nominated American hard rock singer who first gained attention as the lead singer of Judas Priest (1996-2003) and then Iced Earth and Yngwie Malmsteen. Tim currently tours the World as a SOLO artist and performs as the Lead Singer for the band Charred Walls of the Damned with Richard Christy from the Howard Stern show, plus he also sings with Dio Disciples, which is a band celebrating the music of Ronnie James Dio with Ronnie’s band mates and friends.
Tim has also started a super group called Project Rock w/ James Kottak ( Scorpions ), Keri Kelli ( Alice Cooper, Slashes Snackpit, John Waite ) Rudy Sarzo ( Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Dio ) Teddy Zig Zag ( Guns N’ Roses, Carol King ). Also, The movie Rockstar ( Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston ) was loosely based on Tim’s time in Judas Priest! Ripper is managed by Wendy Dio and Niji management! ,
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is without a 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 and only a few new of him from the band Winters Bane, but he recorded his first Priest album, Grammy nominated Jugulator (1997) 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), and the movie Rockstar, that was loosely based on Tim’s experience with Judas Priest, 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. Three years later, Owens followed suit with the Iced Earth album, Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt.I), which succeeded the self-titled highly praised debut by his own band, Beyond Fear. Spring 2008 saw Owens move on to join One of the worlds best guitar players Yngwie Malmsteen, debuting with a sensational vocal performance on Perpetual Flame.
Life and career
Brainicide and Winter's Bane/British Steel
Owens began his musical career as the singer for Brainicide, a thrash metal band based in his home town of Akron, Ohio. However, the band split up shortly after recording a demo tape titled “Damage Daze” in 1990. Prior to joining Judas Priest in 1996, Owens fronted a band called Winter’s Bane, with whom he recorded an album called Heart of a Killer in 1993. He was most prominent in his role as the frontman of Judas Priest tribute band British Steel, named after the Judas Priest album, although the bands Winter’s Bane and British Steel were actually one and the same. The band would often open their shows as Winter’s Bane in order to introduce the audience to their original material. After finishing their original set, they would then take a break, which included a wardrobe change to emulate the subject of their tribute, Judas Priest. Winter’s Bane sound engineer Ken Reffner would come out from behind the soundboard, adding a fifth member to the stage. Reffner can be seen playing the part of K. K. Downing with British Steel in the Judas Priest episode of Vh3’s Behind the Music.
Owens made headlines in 1996 when he went from being a fan of the metal act Judas Priest to being their lead singer, replacing Rob Halford. Despite numerous rumours that Halford would reunite with Priest, Owens recorded two studio albums with his childhood heroes, as well as two live albums and a 2002 DVD release. Owens also helped write one Judas Priest song, “What’s My Name?”, which was a bonus track on Demolition With Judas Priest, he was nominated once for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1999, with the song “Bullet Train” from the album Jugulator, but lost to Metallica’s “Better than You”.
The movie Rock Star (2001), about a tribute band singer who is asked to join the band he has tried to imitate, was loosely based on Owen’s career. Judas Priest disavowed the movie after they were denied creative control in the screenplay and script. For example, in Rock Star the band throws out their original singer while on tour and replaces him a few days later; while in real life, Rob Halford left Judas Priest almost a year before he was replaced. Owens said of the movie, “They fabricated things and decided to pull away from my story and make their own because I guess mine was too normal. There’s no telling what they put in there. If I could sue, I would.
Iced Earth and Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force
Judas Priest reunited with Rob Halford in 2003. Owens seized opportunity when, that same year, vocalist Matt Barlow quit Iced Earth. Iced Earth’s first album with Owens, The Glorious Burden, came out in early 2004. While singing with Judas Priest, Owens had toured with Iced Earth (and Anthrax) in 2001, but the tour was cut short. In 2006, Owens also reunited with his former Winter’s Bane colleague Dennis Hayes in a band called Beyond Fear. The self-titled debut album from his new band was released in May of that year. Hayes would join Iced Earth as well in 2007 after bassist James “Bo” Wallace left due to family health issues.
Owens’ stay in Iced Earth was short, however, as on December 11, 2007, guitarist Jon Schaffer announced that Owens would be leaving the band; Matt Barlow had been invited to return to the line-up after heavy feedback from fans.
On February 26, 2008, it was announced that Owens would be the new lead singer for Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, replacing Doogie White.
In May 2009, Owens released his first solo album, Play My Game. The album featured many prominent metal musicians.
Charred Walls of the Damned, HAIL! and Dio Disciples
Owens now fronts a new project called Charred Walls of the Damned, a band founded in 2009 by Richard Christy, radio personality on The Howard Stern Show and former drummer for Iced Earth and Death. The origin of the band’s name was explained on May 20, 2009. It derives from a series of radio prank calls Christy made to a Christian radio station. In response to the pranks they received, the host described how he prays for them, thus “saving their soul to be saved by God’s grace…not in the devil’s hell where you’d be putting your nails in the charred walls of the damned”. The band features Christy on drums, and Owens on vocals along with Steve DiGiorgio (bass guitar) and Jason Suecof (lead guitar).
The band’s debut self-titled album was released on February 2, 2010 on Metal Blade Records. Owens is also a member of a cover band called HAIL!. HAIL!’s rotating cast of members include Owens, Andreas Kisser, Paul Bostaph, David Ellefson, Mike Portnoy, Jimmy DeGrasso and Roy Mayorga. Owens, DeGrasso, Ellefson and Kisser formed the band in late 2008. The band toured Europe in 2009, June 2010, and also came together to perform at a benefit for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng in 2010. That line-up consisted of Owens, Portnoy, Mark Anthony of The Letter Black, Phil Demmel of Machine Head and Ellefson. HAIL! is on their second European tour with the following line-up: Andreas Kisser, Owens, Paul Bostaph and James LoMenzo. Due to the tragic death of previously announced bassist Paul Gray, LoMenzo agreed on only one day’s notice to fly to Portugal and rescue the Rock In Rio Festival where HAIL! was scheduled to perform on May 30, 2010. In early 2011, Owens also joined Dio Disciples, which features former Dio members.
- (Compilation) Heavy Artillery k7 (1990) (Song: “Payment in Blood”)
- Brutal Mentality K7 Demo (1990)
With Winter’s Bane
- Heart of a Killer (1993)
- Jugulator (1997)
- Demolition (2001)
- ’98 Live Meltdown (1998)
- Live in London (2003)
With Iced Earth
- The Glorious Burden (2004)
- Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1) (2007)
- Beyond Fear (2006)
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force
- Perpetual Flame (2008)
- High Impact (2009, song: “Beat It” by Michael Jackson)
- Relentless (2010)
- Play My Game (2009)
Charred Walls of the Damned
- Charred Walls of the Damned (2010)
- Cold Winds on Timeless Days (2011)
- Creatures Watching Over the Dead (2016)
The Three Tremors
- The Three Tremors (2019)
Spirits of Fire
- Spirits of Fire (2019)
A New Revenge
- Enemies & Lovers (2019)
- Kickstart my Heart: A Tribute To Mötley Crüe (Song: “Louder than Hell”, Backing vocals only)
- One Way Street: A Tribute To Aerosmith (Song: “Round and round”)
- Michael Schenker – Heavy Hitters – vocals on “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath
- Numbers from the Beast: An All Star Salute To Iron Maiden (Song: “Flight of Icarus”)
- Bat Head Soup: A Tribute To Ozzy (Song: “Mr. Crowley”)
- Butchering The Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute (Song: “Hey Jude”)
- Hell Bent Forever: A Tribute To Judas Priest (Song: “Exciter”)
- Sin-Atra (Song: “Witchcraft”)
- Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life (Japanese Edition) (Song: “Stand up and Shout (live)”)
- Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute Album(2015) (8 of 11 songs)
- The Doom In Us All – A Tribute To Black Sabbath (Song: “Children Of The Grave”)
- Spawn – Round 2 (production, 1998)
- Soulbender – Demo (2008)
- Ellefson, Bittner, Grigsby & Owens – Leave It Alone (Memorial Track for Dimebag Darrell, iTunes release) (2008)
- Roadrunner United – The Concert (DVD, live, 2008) – vocals on “Curse of the Pharaohs” by Mercyful Fate, “Abigail” by King Diamond and “Allison Hell” by Annihilator.
- We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year – vocals on “Santa Claus Is Back in Town” by Elvis Presley
- Neil Zaza (Free Download) (Song: “Keep Yourself Alive”, Queen)
- Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony (2010)
- The Claymore – Damnation Reigns (2010) – Vocals on “Behind Enemy Lines”
- Memorain – Evolution (2011)
- Ralf Scheepers – Scheepers (2011) – Vocals on “Remission of Sin”
- Desdemon – Through the Gates (2011) – Vocals on “The Burning Martyr”
- Infinita Symphonia – A Mind’s Chronicle (2011)
- Wolfpakk – Wolfpakk (2011) – Vocals on “Wolfony”
- Absolute Power – Absolute Power (2011)
- SoulSpell – Hollow’s Gathering (2012)
- T&N – Slave to the Empire (2012) – Vocals on “Kiss of Death”
- Maegi – Skies Fall (2013)
- Marius Danielsen – The Legend of Valley Doom Part 1 (2014)
- SoulSpell – We Got The Right (Helloween 30 Years Tribute) (2015)
- Carthagods – Carthagods (2015) – Vocals on “My Favourite Disguise”
- Operation: Mindcrime – Resurrection (2015) – Vocals on “Taking on the World”
- Trick or Treat – Rabbits’ Hill Pt. 2 – vocals on “They Must Die”
- Europica – Part One (2017) – Vocals on “The Patriot” and “Unsounded Crosses”
- Metal Allegiance – Metal Allegiance (2016) – Co – lead Vocals on “We Rock”
- Trigger Pig – Sands of Time (Single, 2017) – Lead vocals
- Jano Baghoumian – “The End of Prance” (Symphonic Poem Album, 2018) – Lead vocals
- Tourniquet – Gazing at Medusa (Album, 2018) – Lead vocals on all but title track
ther music projects include: Project Rock w/ Keri Kelli, Rudy Sarzo, James Kottak, and Teddy Zig Zag.
Owens owned “Ripper’s Rock House”, a sports eatery, restaurant and entertainment venue, in Akron. In August 2015, Bar Rescue filmed and transformed the bar into “Tim Owens’ Traveler’s Tavern” The venue closed permanently in September 2016.
He was also the owner of “Ripper Owens Tap House”, the predecessor to “Ripper’s Rock House”, in Akron’s Firestone Park neighborhood
In 2015, Ripper recorded music for the fictional band “Witches’ Lips” for the heavy metal horror film “Hairmetal Shotgun Zombie Massacre: The Movie.” He recorded and wrote the lyrics with guitarist Marzi Montazeri of Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals.
Ted Kirkpatrick, drummer and songwriter for the Christian metal band Tourniquet, announced on July 25, 2018 that Tim would be doing lead vocals for all the songs (except the title track Gazing at Medusa) on their next album (estimated for September 2018 release). The album, Gazing at Medusa, was released on October 16, 2018.