Former JUDAS PRIEST/ICED EARTH singer Tim "Ripper" Owens has commented on his latest gig as the frontman of the solo band of the legendary Swedish guitarist Yngwie J. Malmsteen. Speaking exclusively to D.X. Ferris of the Cleveland Scene, Owens said, "Yes, it is official, I will be singing on the next YNGWIE MALMSTEEN CD, and I couldn't be more excited about working with him. We have known each other for a while and we have never had the opportunity to work together (aside from the 'Mr. Crowley' song) until now. Back when I was in PRIEST, we had tried to get together to do something but we couldn't get our schedules to align."
In addition, Ripper told the Cleveland Scene that he'll just be singing for the project, and won't be writing material, but expects to tour behind the record. He says he's learning old and new material, including "You Don't Remember".
As far as his other band, Owens added, "I'm still doing BEYOND FEAR [which is signed to SPV Records], but not sure of the timing of everything. To all the fans who are writing in expressing their congrats and concerns, please know that BEYOND FEAR will always be a main focus of mine, but I now have a great opportunity to work with one of the greatest guitarists ever… I AM A VIKING…LOL!"
Owens first mentioned the possibility of Malmsteen's band during a live interview that took place on the January 11, 2008 edition of the "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York City's Q104.3 FM. While discussing his departure from ICED EARTH and the perception that guitarist and primary songwriter Jon Schaffer rules ICED EARTH with an iron hand, Owens said, "If I went out and joined somebody like YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, well, you know what you're getting into — you're not joining a band, you're just joining a project to jump in and sing with him real quick. It's a whole different experience. I thought I was getting into a band and I was promised different things, and it all worked out until now. And I think everybody does know that it's the Jon Schaffer thing. It's a revolving door with everybody, and that's a cool thing, and Jon has built this thing from the ground up."
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 below.
Owens recently worked with QUEENSRŸCHE 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 and Malmsteen's cover of OZZY OSBOURNE's "Mr. Crowley" (taken from "Flying High Again: The World's Greatest Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne", released in March 2006 via Magick Records):