On February 20, The Great Metal Debate conducted an interview with acclaimed Ohio-based heavy metal singer Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN). You can now listen to the chat below.
Asked about the status of the songwriting and recording sessions for the long-awaited sophomore album from his BEYOND FEAR project, Owens said: "The [second] BEYOND FEAR record's actually written, and I've recorded about five songs or so vocals to. But it's just hard, because we're not signed to a label, and most labels nowadays wanna get the products finished and hear it. And it just takes a lot of time and money. You wonder at the end of the day, '[If] I release this, will it be exactly…?'"
He continued: "What I'm having my problem with BEYOND FEAR, am I gonna just put a BEYOND FEAR record out because people wanna hear it, or am I gonna spend the right time and have them do it right and make sure it's the record I wanna put out, and not just put it out. I'm kind of stuck. I'll go down and do some vocals to the song we wrote, and at the end of the day, a couple of them I'm just not happy with what I've done.
"It's just hard. I mean, [when I did the yet-to-be-released] PROJECT ROCK [album], Keri Kelli [guitar] was, like, 'Man, let's write this,' so he started writing it and sending it to me. And he got the ball rolling. I'd go downstairs in the studio and I'd record it, and then I flew out to L.A. and recorded the vocals. We really did it right. And CHARRED WALLS [OF THE DAMNED] [the project led by former DEATH and ICED EARTH drummer Richard Christy] is the same way. But, you know, it's hard to… I mean, I really wanna put a new BEYOND FEAR record out, but, you know, there's a lot of other…
"It's like this: you make money at a job, and then something that you love to do, do you wanna not work half the time and make way less money or pay somebody to go do what you wanna do, so that… You know what I mean?! That's almost the situation with BEYOND FEAR."
Owens added: "Listen, I love the guys in the band. John Comprix [guitar] and myself are like brothers, and I would do anything musically with him. But it's hard, even for him, because now he's gonna have to leave his job… If you go do a tour… It's just hard. I mean, it's weird situation. I don't think people understand that it's different nowadays. They used to give you fifty thousand dollars to go make a record or something, and then you could spend some of that and then it could be part of your income. You could pay the band, you could have twenty thousand left over and pay some bills. Well, now you don't. So everything you do is… It's just that everything has changed. And that's the one band that I'm having a hard time nailing my songs. And financially, I'm just… It's gotta be right."
The recording sessions for BEYOND FEAR's new album are being funded entirely by Owens, who is seeking a new label home for the effort following the band's split with Steamhammer/SPV.
Released in 2006, BEYOND FEAR's self-titled debut album sold just over 1,000 (one thousand) copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD was recorded at the legendary Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida, under the direction of producer Jim Morris. The album consisted of 12 haunting metal numbers, which, according to Owens, "show unmistakably where my musical roots lie: in the classic heavy metal of the Eighties. However, I've transported that traditional metal style into the present, lending it its own touch."
BEYOND FEAR's most recent lineup was as follows:
* Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, DIO DISCIPLES) - Vocals
* John Comprix (RINGWORM, LAW OF DESTRUCTION) - Guitar
* Matt Sorg (RINGWORM) - Guitar
* Eric Elkins (CRYPTKICKER, ALL YOU FEAR) - Drums
* Ed Stephens - Bass