ICED EARTH Singer TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS On Illegal Music Downloading, Possibility Of Solo Album

Sweden's Metalshrine conducted an interview with ICED EARTH/ex-JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens on October 25, 2007 in Stockholm. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Metalshrine: Do you see any fear of not being able to make a living out of releasing records and playing live, since people are just downloading these days and artists don't sell as many records as they used to?

Owens: Definitely, yeah! It's definitely something that hurts. I don't think people realize what they're doing to the industry. It gets silly, really, that people even think that it's right to download stuff for free. But I think it's starting... now they have so many sites where you pay to download, so I think that people more and more have done that. You have iTunes and the sites where you pay to download. It hurts. I mean, it definitely takes more away. It scales down touring budgets and they don't realize how much it scales down everything. It's a shame. You just release them and see what you can do.

Metalshrine: Do you see it like totally getting away from the record companies and releasing stuff by yourself, through a website or whatever?

Owens: I don't know. Maybe there will end up being more specialized companies that sell records. Maybe labels are gonna try to be more "online labels." I think they are trying to do both now. Labels obviously have to focus on the Internet and making albums. I don't know. It's hard to say. I think there will always be CDs for quite a while. People still want some CDs, they want the artwork, so people will still buy them. It's hard. I buy a lot of my stuff, the majority of it, from iTunes, but I'm still buying it, though, that's the difference.

Metalshrine: Do you have any other projects going on? Have you ever thought of releasing a solo album?

Owens: I have been kind of contemplating it. Maybe trying to make some type of album and get a bunch of different musicians to do it with me. My idea would be kind of neat to just try and get 5 or 6 different guitar players, or just different people who each of them write a song for the album and then I write the lyrics and the melodies. Just try to release an album like that, would be kind of cool. Try to get Scott Ian [ANTHRAX] on a song.

Metalshrine: Yeah, I read about that. Scott Ian and Jon Oliva [SAVATAGE].

Owens: Yeah, Jon Oliva. Have him do some songs with me and maybe get Michael Wilton from QUEENSRĊ¸CHE to do a song and maybe even Jeff Waters from ANNIHILATOR to do a song. Get Chris Caffery [SAVATAGE] to do a song. I think it would be kind of neat. I'd also like to make an album with Jon Oliva. I think that would be fun. But I've got the BEYOND FEAR thing now and I have some other things in the works. I have some people who have sent me some music and I've worked on some songs with them, so we'll see what happens with that.

Metalshrine: You've got an awesome voice, did you ever take lessons or are you totally self taught?

Owens: I started singing when I was a kid and I was in choirs and had some good teachers. Something I was born with, you know. I think I would've rather been born to be a brain surgeon, then my wife would've been a little happier (laughs). It's something I was born with and had the natural ability to do it, but then I've taken care of it and worked on it. It's not I just took for granted. OK, I've got this gift, but I'm not gonna run it into the ground, which I've seen a lot of people do. A lot of practice have gone into it.

Metalshrine: Just a few things about your JUDAS PRIEST days. Do you know if there's anything recorded with you that hasn't been released?

Owens: No, I think everything's been released. There's nothing. No extra tracks or no extra things that hasn't been released. I'm certain that nothing's left.

Metalshrine: If you got the chance, would you open up for JUDAS PRIEST?

Owens: Ah, man, we would open for them any day. I mean, I think it's a great combination and I think the fans would love it. I think ICED EARTH supporting JUDAS PRIEST on a tour would be a good thing and I know Jon says the same thing. There are bands that you want to open for. JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, HEAVEN AND HELL. Anybody that's big. You know, METALLICA, that would be the opportunity of a lifetime to open up for anyone of them.

Read the entire interview at this location.

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