Tim "Ripper" Owens has responded to 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.'"
When a fan asked Owens on Twitter if he has seen the BLABBERMOUTH.NET article containing Freeman's inflammatory comments about DIO DISCIPLES, the former JUDAS PRIEST singer replied, " Yea. It is what it is!! I am a dick", followed by several crying-with-laughter and a devil-horns emojis.
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.