Tim "Ripper" Owens says that he joined JUDAS PRIEST during "possibly the worst era of heavy metal ever"
The Ohio-based singer created two studio LPs with the British heavy metal legends — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before the group reunited with Rob Halford.
Regarding Halford's return to PRIEST, Owens told the "Iron City Rocks" podcast (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I knew it was coming. And I understood why. Rob needed JUDAS PRIEST, and JUDAS PRIEST needed Rob. And I understood that. I would never quit JUDAS PRIEST, so they fired me. And I wanted to do other things as well. That's why I recorded that ICED EARTH record. I kind of started wanting to do some other things. 'Cause we have a lot of downtime. I just felt like it.
"JUDAS PRIEST was just so much fun, and the guys were such great friends, and it was such a great time," he continued. "I didn't burn any bridges. I left and I don't talk bad about 'em. Other than me saying that they've erased my time. I mean, [the albums I made during] my era of JUDAS PRIEST [are not available]. But on a personal level, the guys are friends, the management, Rob — everybody. We all get along. I knew it was gonna happen. And it was always something that was there."
According to Owens, the timing of his addition to JUDAS PRIEST worked against him during his time with the legendary band.
"The only bad thing about when I joined JUDAS PRIEST is it was possibly the worst era of heavy metal ever," he said. "It was at the end of grunge, during grunge kind of, that whole thing. And [in] '96, [metal bands] were playing clubs — I don't care who you were, what bands you were; you were playing smaller venues. So that made it even worse that here I am joining my band, which hasn't been around for five years, joining JUDAS PRIEST in the worst part of heavy metal. But the fans were great. And obviously, not everybody loved me; that's normal. There's still people that don't like Brian Johnson [in AC/DC]; it amazes me. But they were great records. To me, 'Demolition' was even better, so it was kind of nice to do those records.
"I could sing the stuff. When somebody didn't like me, or they'd say they didn't like 'Jugulator' or 'Demolition', I would always say, 'Well, come to the concert and hear me sing there then. Because you'll love it.' And the fans were great. Everybody was always good."
Back in 2019, Owens told "Talking Metal" that JUDAS PRIEST's management requested that he stop using artwork related to his time with the group to promote his solo shows.
More than two years ago, Tim defended Kenneth "K.K." Downing over the comments the ex-PRIEST guitarist made about his former bandmates in his autobiography, explaining that Downing is "just telling the truth."
Owens and Downing are currently in a new band called KK'S PRIEST with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
KK'S PRIEST's debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", will be released on October 1 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.