Interview with SPV recording artist Tim “RIPPER” Owens of:
I talked with Tim “Ripper” Owens (Iced Earth/Beyond Fear, formerly Judas Priest, Winter’s Bane) a day after finishing final exams. I was exhausted and that accounts for the shortness of this interview. However, I found Ripper to be a great person to talk to and enjoyed doing the interview.
CRITICALTOM: How well has the new Beyond Fear album been received?
RIPPER: So far we have received a lot of positive feedback.
CRITICALTOM: You seem to me to be very comfortable in your skin.
RIPPER: With me what you see is what you get. That’s it.
CRITICALTOM: I noticed that both with the lyrics on this Beyond Fear album and on the earlier Winter’s Bane album that you seem to be very interested in moral issues.
RIPPER: That’s true. On this album the song “My Last Words” was inspired by the death of pro golfer Payne Stewart—not 9/11 as some have thought. I had the chance to see him play one time. Later he was killed in a plane crash with several others. I thought about what it would be like in a plane knowing that you were going to die. What would you say? “Scream Machine” on the other hand is just your sort of corny, fist pumping metal song. It was the last song I wrote for the album. I wrote it because I wanted to show the fans that I COULD HAVE written from Judas Priest. But for the most part I like to write about everyday stuff.
CRITICALTOM: I am very intrigued by the lyrics to “Words of Wisdom”. What is that song about?
RIPPER: It’s about the press. It is about how so many so-called journalists ask questions and then go and write all kinds of stuff that isn’t true, or that I didn’t say. It is like some of them are just making bad stuff up to sell.
CRITICALTOM: Which song on this album is the child you favor most?
RIPPER: I don’t know … That is hard to say. I have reasons for liking each of them. Maybe “The Faith” because it is one of the songs I wrote in the Priest vein. But this is the first album where I actually wrote music as well as lyrics. So I am very proud of it.
CRITICALTOM: Why did you choose the name “Beyond Fear”?
RIPPER: I wanted to have a band name and I wanted it to be kind of in your face.
CRITICALTOM: If this album doesn’t sell will you change your style?
RIPPER: No. It’s not about sales. This is what I like. I am a big fan of American metal and this is what I love doing.
CRITICALTOM: You and Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth seem to get along really well. Are you good friends and will you continue to work together on Iced Earth?
RIPPER: Yes. We are good friends and will continue working together. In fact, I’m getting ready to spend a few days at his house.
CRITICALTOM: Were you two friends before you joined the band?
RIPPER: We knew each other and had talked on the phone some, but we became friends later.