Tim "Ripper" Owens says that he "doesn't understand" Andrew Freeman's recent comment that "a couple of guys" in the DIO DISCIPLES camp are "dicks."
DIO DISCIPLES is made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of singers, including Owens.
Freeman, who formed LAST IN LINE in 2012 with original DIO members Vivian Campbell (guitar), Vinny Appice (drums) and Jimmy Bain (bass), told the "Music Mania" podcast in an interview that while he is on friendly terms with several members of DIO DISCIPLES, "there's a couple of guys in that camp that are dicks — to put it bluntly. And personally, I've been affected by it, because I've been told, 'We can't use you [for shows] because you're playing with Vivian,'" he said. "But that doesn't come from the band guys — that comes from other places… They told me I wasn't gonna be able to do a gig because I played with Vivian. I was just, like, 'Okay.'"
Owens was asked to "provide some clarity" on Freeman's inflammatory comments during a recent interview with ListenIowa.
"I don't understand it," the former JUDAS PRIEST singer said. "I'm actually friends with him and Vinny. I don't know. I didn't listen to the interview, but I guess he said a couple of guys are dicks. All I did then was make a joke out of it on Twitter and said that I'm a dick.
"I've got nothing but good things to say about those guys," he continued. "I think it's fantastic. We're all celebrating Ronnie.
"If anybody has talked bad about each other in the past, I mean, that's a long time ago," Owens added. "Let's all just do it for the ride and not say, 'My band's the official one because we were there first.' Really? Okay. Good. 'And you were fuckin' fired.' You know what I mean? Yeah, those guys were there first, and [the early DIO albums] are some of my favorite records of all time. I would love to watch them play when they're in town and hang out with them. If they came to our show, I'd love to have them come up onstage and play a song."
In a 2016 interview, Vivian slammed DIO DISCIPLES, saying that the band has "zero credibility" as a Ronnie James Dio tribute project despite the fact that it is fully supported by the late singer's wife and manager, Wendy.
"I don't think [LAST IN LINE is] even in the same league as the DIO DISCIPLES," Campbell said. "None of those guys were original members of the band DIO. We're the original band. We're the guys who formed the band with Ronnie. Not only were in the band, but we wrote all the songs with Ronnie. If you look at the writing credits on the first three records, it was very, very much a collaborative creative venture. That's what made the early DIO records so strong."
In December 2017, DIO DISCIPLES guitarist Craig Goldy said in a Facebook post that "certain members" of the original DIO band became motivated by "money" because they "didn't have the same heart for the fans" as Ronnie James Dio did.