Tim "Ripper" Owens has dismissed Rob Halford's recent claim that a straight man can't front JUDAS PRIEST as a "fun" comment that didn't mean anything.
Earlier this month, Halford told the Edmonton Journal about his position in PRIEST: "A straight man can't do my job. That's the way I view it. Freddie [Mercury] said it wasn't important, but if Freddie hadn't have been gay, QUEEN would've been a totally different band."
Asked by RadioactiveMike Z, host of the program "Wired In The Empire", which airs on the Riverside, California radio station 96.7 KCAL-FM, if he had a response to Rob's latest remark, Owens said (hear audio below): "Rob and I are friends, and I really don't care [about his comment]. What's he supposed to say? Rob is the band. He is the singer, and Rob's gay, so what you can say? I don't care that he said it. He's the singer of JUDAS PRIEST. I think it's funny. Obviously, someone else can sing in [the band]. Maybe I'm gay and I didn't know it."
He continued: "I love Rob. He's so amazing — he's an amazing guy. We're friends, and he's the singer of JUDAS PRIEST. He's the Metal God... I don't think he means anything by it. He just said it. I don't care. JUDAS PRIEST was my college. I do what I do now because of JUDAS PRIEST... I sang with them; I had a great time; and comments like that, those are just fun comments."
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Halford in 2003,
Halford previously said that a straight man couldn't do his job in PRIEST during a 2008 interview with The Dallas Morning News. The singer — who revealed he was homosexual during a 1998 appearance on MTV — explained why he believed that he was the only man capable of fronting PRIEST. "To be brutally honest, 'Jugulator' and 'Demolition' were affected by my not being in the band, much like when Bruce Dickinson went away from IRON MAIDEN, the way VAN HALEN [was] affected when David Lee Roth left. But I don't think a straight man can do my job in JUDAS PRIEST. I've never said that before. I'm sorry, but they can't."