TIM ‘RIPPER’ OWENS On DIO: ‘He Was Such A Legend And A Friend And Everybody Loved Him’

Bob Ruggiero of Houston Press‘ “Rocks Off” blog recently conducted an interview with powerhouse American vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens (DIO DISCIPLES, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Rocks Off: How did you hear about [DIO DISCIPLES], and why did you want to be part of it?

Tim “Ripper” Owens: I think with Ronnie [James Dio], he was such a legend and a friend and everybody loved him. When Wendy [Ronnie‘s wife/manager] mentioned that she wanted to do something to celebrate his music, I wanted to be involved. It was a no-brainer, and I was excited. And we wanted to do it the right way, with people that Ronnie would want to do it. He was such a great person, no one nicer in the industry, and vocally, he was the best.

Rocks Off: You’ve already done some [DIO DISCIPLES] shows in Europe. Which song has been your personal favorite to sing?

Tim “Ripper” Owens: That’s tough. There are so many emotional parts in the evening. You know what, I enjoy singing “Heaven And Hell” and watching the people get into it. But emotionally, it’s “Rainbow In The Dark”. It’s a hard one to sing. This feeling just comes out.

Rocks Off: Which has been the biggest challenge vocally?

Tim “Ripper” Owens: “Rainbow in the Dark”! You know, they’re all a bit challenging! (laughs). There’s so much power and light and shade in how he [did the songs]. And he sounded amazing all the way to the end.

Rocks Off: I have to ask, what are your thoughts about founding guitarist K.K. Downing abruptly quitting JUDAS PRIEST?

Tim “Ripper” Owens: Well, you know, I’m friends with all the guys, and that’s what happens. It’s just a shame that they were going to embark on their last tour — though I think they’ve kind of backtracked on it. You know, whatever made it happen, it was probably for good reason, and I wish Ken success. He’s probably got some other things he wants to do, and I wish the band all the success. But when they do end it for good, I hope it’s something with Ken.

Rocks Off: You sing with a number of bands in addition to your solo career. Is the flexibility a good thing?

Tim “Ripper” Owens: You know, they just sent over songs for the Yngwie for the next tour, which starts right after the DIO DISCIPLES tour, a day later! I think you know, may I have a bit too much on my plate! But it is a blessing. I toured solo last year most of the time in Europe and South America, all over the world. But it’s funny that people are always telling me to do more music. I’ve also got a HAIL! tour and new CHARRED WALLS [OF THE DAMNED] album. This is a real job. I just booked 12 shows in Australia for next May!

Rocks Off: So you have no spare time.

Tim “Ripper” Owens: Well, I spend the summer with my family and my wife and kids. The kids are in cheerleading and piano and they’re always running around. I also have a restaurant, Ripper Owens Tap House, in Akron, Ohio. It’s a rocking sports eatery, and we have a lot of acts play like L.A. GUNS, the BULLETBOYS, and LYNCH MOB.

Read the entire interview from Houston Press.