As BLABBERMOUTH.NET exclusively reported earlier today, former JUDAS PRIEST/ICED EARTH singer Tim "Ripper" Owens has now officially joined YNGWIE MALMSTEEN's band. The legendary Swedish guitarist announced the news to the Guitar World staff today when he came to the magazine's New York headquarters for an exclusive interview and photo shoot.

Malmsteen and Owens are hard at work on a new CD, which is currently scheduled for a July release.

Owens and Malmsteen previously collaborated on a cover of OZZY OSBOURNE's "Mr. Crowley", which appeared on the "Flying High Again: The World's Greatest Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne", released in March 2006 via Magick Records. Listen to the track on YouTube.

Owens recently worked with QUEENSRĊ¸CHE guitarist Michael Wilton on demo recordings for the new SOULBENDER album (Wilton's side project). One of the demo cuts can currently be heard on the SOULDBENDER MySpace page.

Owens's predecessor, Doogie White, was a member of Yngwie Malmsteen's band for six and a half years. Doogie joined Malmsteen's band in September 2001 and recorded two albums with the legendary Swedish guitarist: "Attack" (2002) and "Unleash the Fury" (2005).

"I had a long chat with Yngwie today and it is clear that he wants to move musically in a new direction," Doogie said in a statement that was released to BLABBERMOUTH.NET earlier today. "It's great news that he will be expanding on his undoubted talents both as a writer and guitarist. I just want to thank, publicly, Yngwie and the many band members past and present that I have worked with. It seems appropriate that we started our working relationship in South America in September 2001 and finished in South America in December 2007. Now, anyone need a singer??"


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