Tim “Ripper” Owens says that he would rejoin JUDAS PRIEST if asked, but he doesn’t believe that it will ever happen.
The Ohio-based singer recorded two studio albums with the British heavy metal legends — 1997’s “Jugulator” and 2001’s “Demolition” — before the band reunited with Rob Halford.
Asked by Metal Temple if he would return to JUDAS PRIEST if Halford decided to retire from the band and the rest of the group wanted to carry on, Owens said (hear audio below): “Well, there’s no doubt I would, if the timing was right. It’s not gonna happen — it’s never gonna happen. It’ll never, ever happen; Rob‘s not ever gonna leave JUDAS PRIEST. They’ll retire and I think that’ll be it. But, yeah, I’ll tell you the reason I would is because of the friendship. Financiallly, I don’t know if it could be any… it’s not gonna be any better than what I do now. But the friendship with those guys is really great. They are great guys and I had an absolute blast with them. That’s probably the thing I miss the most — hanging out with them and the friendship.”
Owens said in a 2014 interview that he liked the material PRIEST has released since he left but that he felt his work with the band was stronger. “I preferred ‘Jugulator’ but Rob‘s going to prefer what he did,” Tim said. “Rob and I are good friends — we’re still all good friends and we can always joke about that. But ‘Redeemer Of Souls’ is getting back to their roots. What’s great is they’re a band that can release an album like ‘Nostradamus’. When they released ‘Turbo’, people didn’t like that. They’ve always experimented throughout their career.”
In a separate interview, Owens defended himself against accusations by some JUDAS PRIEST fans of changing the band’s sound to a more brutal, modern direction on “Jugulator”. He explained: “Every record JUDAS PRIEST puts out is different. I mean, ‘Nostradamus’ sounds nothing like JUDAS PRIEST ever wrote, ever. ‘Turbo’ sounded nothing like JUDAS PRIEST. You know, JUDAS PRIEST changes. They wrote ‘Painkiller’, and ‘Jugulator’ was a transition; it was kind of following what was going on.”
He continued: “You’ve gotta remember, JUDAS PRIEST always went with the times a little bit. Glenn [Tipton, guitar] started playing arpeggios. PANTERA was really big [at the time]. [On the] ‘Painkiller’ [tour], they toured with PANTERA; PANTERA opened for JUDAS PRIEST. ‘Painkiller’ was a heavy record, and this was a natural progression. The difference is I probably had a few more different layers to my voice that they could tap into — some deeper, death metal kind of undertones to do backups and some different types of voices that they might be able to try. But it was JUDAS PRIEST.”