Former JUDAS PRIEST and current ICED EARTH/BEYOND FEAR frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens has defended himself against accusations that he is not a "songwriter" following comments made by ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer in a recent interview.
Speaking to LocalMetal.com, Schaffer spoke about his decision to record a concept album based on the "Something Wicked This Way Comes" story first touched up on the 1998 album of the same name. Asked how much input Owens will have in the songwriting process for the new album, Schaffer said, "Probably not that much, because the story has been there for awhile. Tim doesn't have experience as a songwriter. He's never really been given that opportunity. However, he WILL be given that opportunity in ICED EARTH. It's just that with this, it's kind of a done deal, and he's very aware of that. Also, just because somebody is a great singer doesn't necessarily mean they're a great songwriter, and you can basically ruin your career very quick if you're not careful about the way the writing goes, and Tim is aware of that also. He's doing a side project right now in which he has… It's him and another guitarist, it's a friend of his that's writing most of the material, but Tim is writing and he's gaining experience by doing that, which is a good thing. So we'll see… I mean, obviously, if Tim comes up wit hideas and they're really strong ideas, they'll get used and he'll get credit for it, and he knows that. But he also knows the importance of the decisions in songwriting, and if you're not careful, you can ruin your entire career. We have to be careful… It's funny to me. It blows me away how the human mind works and how people think that just because a guy plays an instrument he must be a songwriter, and that's so far from the truth, it's unbelievable. In all my years of being a professional musician, I've probably met two or three guys that are actual, real songwriters, and there's quite a difference."
Responding to fan comments made on his official message board in regards to the above interview, Owens wrote, "Saying I'm not a songwriter is WRONG. You don't say anything unless you know what you are talking about. Take BRAINICIDE; if you haven't heard it, then you can't say anything. Take WINTERS BANE; if you haven't heard it, then you can't say anything. Take BEYOND FEAR; if you haven't heard it, then you can't say anything. Also, I have written on every song on the BEYOND FEAR CD and I have written seven of the songs myself. So to say that somebody is doing all or most of the writing is wrong, John Comprix [BEYOND FEAR guitarist] has written with me and still has put in 50 percent of the writing not all of it, And his stuff is just amazing. It makes me very angry that people say I can't write, when they don't know that anything about my past and then just bring up PRIEST. To me, Glenn [Tipton] was probably one of the best songwriters I've dealt with, and If you agree or not, I don't care...See, I can put my foot in my mouth also! As for the next ICED EARTH CD, Jon and I knew that it was going to be the 'Something Wicked' thing, and there really isn't anything I can do on it but add some input and sing. This is a story in Jon's head, and me not being into science fiction stuff at all, I really won't be that much help. But it will be a killer CD, and I really look forward to making it."
Owens is in the process of signing a record deal for his BEYOND FEAR project, which also features guitarists John Comprix (SPAWN, 13 FACES) and Dwane Bihary (MISSING SKIN), bassist Dennis Hayes (WINTERS BANE, SEVEN WITCHES) and drummer Eric Elkins (CRYPTKICKER, ALL YOU FEAR). Songtitles set to appear on the CD include "I Don't Need This", "And You Will Die", "It Is Me", "Telling Lies", "The Faith", "The Human Race", "Your Time Has Come" and "My Last Words". Producing the group's debut CD will be Jim Morris (ICED EARTH, DEATH), with most of the recording sessions scheduled to take place in Owens' home state of Ohio.