Tim "Ripper" Owens

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Tim "Ripper" Owens
Ripper Owens.jpg
Tim "Ripper" Owens in 2009
Background information
Born (1967-09-13) September 13, 1967 (age 50)
Akron, Ohio, United States
Genres Heavy metal, power metal
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica
Years active 1990–present
Associated acts Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, Beyond Fear, Winter's Bane, Iced Earth, Judas Priest, American Dog and Tim Owens, Seattle, Hail!, Charred Walls of the Damned, DIO Disciples, Rockstar
Website TimRipperOwens.com

Timothy S. "Ripper" Owens (born September 13, 1967) is an American heavy metal singer who currently performs with Beyond Fear, Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force and Charred Walls of the Damned. He first gained attention as the lead singer of Judas Priest, and then Iced Earth. He took the nickname "Ripper" from the Judas Priest song "The Ripper" during his time in the tribute band "British Steel".[1]

Early life

Owens was born on September 13, 1967, in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from Kenmore High School in 1985.[2]


Brainicide and Winter's Bane/British Steel

Owens began his musical career as the singer for Brainicide, a thrash metal band based in his home town of Akron, Ohio. However, the band split up shortly after recording a demo tape titled "Damage Daze" in 1990. Prior to joining Judas Priest in 1996, Owens fronted a band called Winter's Bane, with whom he recorded an album called Heart of a Killer in 1993. He was most prominent in his role as the frontman of Judas Priest tribute band British Steel, named after the Judas Priest album, although the bands Winter's Bane and British Steel were actually one and the same. The band would often open their shows as Winter's Bane in order to introduce the audience to their original material. After finishing their original set, they would then take a break, which included a wardrobe change to emulate the subject of their tribute, Judas Priest. Winter's Bane sound engineer Ken Reffner would come out from behind the soundboard, adding a fifth member to the stage. Reffner can be seen playing the part of K. K. Downing with British Steel in the Judas Priest episode of VH1's Behind the Music.

Judas Priest

Owens made headlines in 1996 when he went from being a fan of the metal act Judas Priest to being their lead singer, replacing Rob Halford. Despite numerous rumours that Halford would reunite with Priest, Owens recorded two studio albums with his childhood heroes, as well as two live albums and a 2002 DVD release. Owens also helped write one Judas Priest song, "What's My Name?", which was a bonus track on Demolition. With Judas Priest, he was nominated once for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1999, with the song "Bullet Train" from the album Jugulator, but lost to Metallica's "Better than You".

Rock Star

The movie Rock Star (2001), about a tribute band singer who is asked to join the band he has tried to imitate, was loosely based on Owens' career. Judas Priest disavowed the movie after they were denied creative control in the screenplay and script.[3] For example, in Rock Star the band throws out their original singer while on tour and replaces him a few days later; while in real life, Rob Halford left Judas Priest four years before he was replaced. Owens said of the movie, "They fabricated things and decided to pull away from my story and make their own because I guess mine was too normal. There's no telling what they put in there. If I could sue, I would."[3]

Iced Earth and Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force

Judas Priest reunited with Rob Halford in 2003. Owens seized opportunity when, that same year, vocalist Matt Barlow quit Iced Earth. Iced Earth's first album with Owens, The Glorious Burden, came out in early 2004. While singing with Judas Priest, Owens had toured with Iced Earth (and Anthrax) in 2001, but the tour was cut short. In 2006, Owens also reunited with his former Winter's Bane colleague Dennis Hayes in a band called Beyond Fear. The self-titled debut album from his new band was released in May of that year. Hayes would join Iced Earth as well in 2007 after bassist James "Bo" Wallace left due to family health issues.

Owens' stay in Iced Earth was short, however, as on December 11, 2007, guitarist Jon Schaffer announced that Owens would be leaving the band; Matt Barlow had been invited to return to the line-up after heavy feedback from fans.[4]

On February 26, 2008, it was announced that Owens would be the new lead singer for Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, replacing Doogie White.

In May 2009, Owens released his first solo album, Play My Game. The album featured many prominent metal musicians.[5]

Charred Walls of the Damned, HAIL! and Dio Disciples

Owens now fronts a new project called Charred Walls of the Damned, a band founded in 2009 by Richard Christy, radio personality on The Howard Stern Show and former drummer for Iced Earth and Death. It was also around this time that Owens started using a spray cover up to hide his hair loss. The origin of the band's name was explained on May 20, 2009. It derives from a series of radio prank calls Christy made to a Christian radio station. In response to the pranks they received, the host described how he prays for them, thus "saving their soul to be saved by God's grace...not in the devil's hell where you'd be putting your nails in the charred walls of the damned". The band features Christy on drums, and Owens on vocals along with Steve DiGiorgio (bass guitar) and Jason Suecof (lead guitar). The band's debut self-titled album was released on February 2, 2010 on Metal Blade Records. Owens is also a member of a cover band called HAIL!. HAIL!'s rotating cast of members include Owens, Andreas Kisser, Paul Bostaph, David Ellefson, Mike Portnoy, Jimmy DeGrasso and Roy Mayorga. Owens, DeGrasso, Ellefson and Kisser formed the band in late 2008.[6] The band toured Europe in 2009, June 2010, and also came together to perform at a benefit for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng in 2010. That line-up consisted of Owens, Portnoy, Mark Anthony of The Letter Black, Phil Demmel of Machine Head and Ellefson. HAIL! is on their second European tour with the following line-up: Andreas Kisser, Owens, Paul Bostaph and James LoMenzo.[7][8] Due to the tragic death of previously announced bassist Paul Gray, LoMenzo agreed on only one day’s notice to fly to Portugal and rescue the Rock In Rio Festival where HAIL! was scheduled to perform on May 30, 2010. In early 2011, Owens also joined Dio Disciples, which features former Dio members.[9]

Other projects

Other music projects include: Project Rock w/ Keri Kelli, Rudy Sarzo, James Kottak, and Teddy Zig Zag.

Owens owned "Ripper's Rock House", a sports eatery, restaurant and entertainment venue, in Akron.[10][11] In August 2015, Bar Rescue filmed and transformed the bar into "Tim Owens' Traveler's Tavern"[12]

He was also the owner of "Ripper Owens Tap House", the predecessor to "Ripper's Rock House", in Akron's Firestone Park neighborhood

In 2015, Ripper recorded music for the fictional band "Witches' Lips" for the heavy metal horror film "Hairmetal Shotgun Zombie Massacre: The Movie." He recorded and wrote the lyrics with guitarist Marzi Montazeri of Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals.


  • Europica - Part One (2017) - Vocals on "The Patriot" and "Unsounded Crosses"
  • Metal Allegiance - Metal Allegiance (2016) - Co - lead Vocals on "We Rock"


  1. ^ Prato, Greg. "Tim "Ripper" Owens". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Clawson, Kerry (2014-05-29). "Vocal Music Teacher Leaves Akron Schools on High Note". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved 2014-05-30. 
  3. ^ a b "Judas Priest Turn Their Backs on "Rock Star" Movie". MTV.com. 
  4. ^ "Vocalist Matt Barlow Rejoins Iced Earth". Blabbermouth.net. 
  5. ^ "TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS To Release Solo Debut In May". BlabberMouth. 
  6. ^ "hailthemasses.com". hailthemasses.com. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  7. ^ "hailthemasses.com". hailthemasses.com. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  8. ^ "Hail! to Continue Tour Despite Paul Gray's Passing; James Lomenzo to Step In". Metal Underground. 
  9. ^ "Blabbermouth.net". Roadrunnerrecords.com. 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  10. ^ "Ripper's Rock House". Tim "Ripper" Owens, owner. 
  11. ^ "Tim 'Ripper' Owens still livin' the rock 'n' roll dream in his Akron hometown after his reign as frontman of Judas Priest". Cleveland Plain Dealer. 
  12. ^ "Ripper's Rock House is now Traveler's Tavern: Same owners, different vibe". Akron Beacon Journal. 
  13. ^ http://www.guitarworld.com/immortal-randy-rhoads-ultimate-tribute-hear-entire-album-now

External links

  • Official website
  • Tim "Ripper" Owens biography at Country Music Television
  • 2005 & 2006 radio interviews with Tim "Ripper" Owens
  • Tim "Ripper" Owens interviewed by Highwire Daze (2006)
  • Tim "Ripper" Owens on MySpace
  • Tim "Ripper" Owens' restaurant web site
  • "A Metal-Head Becomes A Metal-God. Heavy" New York Times article on Owens
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