Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier in the month (August 4-7) with an amazing summer camp featuring British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST. As part of the weekend, PRIEST members Scott Travis (drums) and Ian Hill (bass) participated in a question-and-answer-style interview with 16-year-old radio host Miles "The Shoe" Schuman. They discussed many of the obstacles PRIEST had to overcome over their career, talking in-depth about the struggles that came with the singer change from Rob Halford to Tim "Ripper" Owens, and everything that was going on behind the scenes during that time. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On JUDAS PRIEST's follow-up to 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" album:
Scott: "We're definitely working on a new record, or maybe even more than one record. But we'll see. It always takes a lot of time."
On how Tim "Ripper" Owens landed the singer gig in JUDAS PRIEST:
Scott: "I had seen Ripper. He was in a cover band, BRITISH STEEL, which was a PRIEST tribute band, believe it or not. And they had come through the town I was living at the time in Virginia, and I had seen him, actually. Of course, he called me up on stage and we jammed a couple of songs. And so when PRIEST was regrouping, I think, around 1995 and asked me to come over. And the idea was that I was gonna come over, and they had a list of singers that we were gonna audition together. And when I came to England to get back with the band, I said, 'Hey, I've got this VHS video cassette tape of this singer.' So we put it in and checked it out. Glenn [Tipton, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist] was, like, 'That's not him singing. That's Rob.' And I go, 'No, dude. It's really him.' Ripper was so good, or convincing on this tape that some of the bandmembers were actually unconvinced that that guy could sing like that on a straight-ass, VHS, hand-held tape, or camera, if you will. So, long story short, then obviously we flew him over, he auditioned, and you know the rest."
On the Tim "Ripper" Owens era of JUDAS PRIEST compared to the Rob Halford era:
Ian: "It was about as successful as it could be. Rob's a very hard act to follow, you know. Ripper has got a great voice, [and he's] a great talent, but he wasn't Rob. So when Rob came back, it was sort of like a homecoming. And Tim agreed with us that Rob should come back in the band. He was all for it, because he was a fan of the band as well, as we all are."
On whether the members of JUDAS PRIEST were worried, prior to getting Tim in the band, about how making a singer change would affect the group's career:
Ian: "Oh, yeah. It's a huge. I mean, a singer is a focal point of the band. PRIEST have got three frontmen — the two guitarists and the vocalist — but the vocalist is the focal point of the band, and to replace him with somebody different, obviously, is a huge change. And we were worried about whether it was gonna go down well or not. Fortunately, it did, and we kept on going."
On whether they ever thought that Owens could end up being PRIEST's singer for the rest of the band's career:
Ian: "Yeah. When [Tim] was in the band, obviously, we all put a hundred percent in, and we were prepared to continue with him, and we would have been perfectly happy to do so. But when Rob made overtures and we started to feel each other out again, like I say, it just felt, obviously, he should come back. It was one of those things that was a no-brainer."
"Redeemer Of Souls" was released in July 2014. The follow-up to 2008's double-disc concept album "Nostradamus" was billed as a return to JUDAS PRIEST's heavy-metal roots