YNGWIE MALMSTEEN Parts Ways With DOOGIE WHITE; TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS To Step In?

Vocalist Doogie White and Yngwie Malmsteen have decided to part company after six and a half years together. 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??"

Although there has been no official announcement on the matter, BLABBERMOUTH.NET can reveal that White's **rumored** replacement in Malmsteen's band is none other than former JUDAS PRIEST/ICED EARTH singer Tim "Ripper" Owens.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Owens briefly broached the subject of him joining 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 on YouTube.

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.

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