'Ripper' Owens says he's been "erased" from Judas Priest's history: "The only emails I ever get are threats"

Ripper Priest
(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns)

Former Judas Priest vocalist Tim 'Ripper' Owens believes that he's been "erased" from the band's history, and admits that he finds it "shocking" that the two albums he recorded with the band - 1997's Jugulator and 2001's Demolition - aren't available on Spotify or other major streaming services. 

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Owens expresses great pride and gratitude when reflecting upon his time fronting the British metal gods, a position he held from 1996 to 2003, but makes no attempt to downplay his disappointment when asked about his legacy with Priest in the wake of Rob Halford's inevitable return to the band. 

Revealing that he received the news of the termination of his contract with Priest on a fax which read 'You’re out of the band', Owens says he had no issue with being dismissed - "I understood it. It’s a business. When you think of Judas Priest, you mainly think of Rob, Glenn, and K.K. I was all right with it" - but the Ohio-born singer feels that he's subsequently been ostracised by the industry team around the band.

Asked for his thoughts on Priest finally being accepted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, Owens says, "It’s a shame that they can’t bring in members that were in the band almost 10 years and had a Grammy nomination, two studio records, two live records, a DVD. It’s a shame that they can’t do it.

"What gets me more than anything is that I haven’t even gotten a call from Judas Priest on it... There’s never been a call saying, 'You were a big part of this. Here’s the reasons you’re not being inducted, but you were a big part of us and you’re a big part of the family.' There wasn’t even a phone call. Not getting in, whatever.

"Here’s how I look at it: I’m in the Hall of Fame," he adds, defiantly. "I was in the band for almost 10 years. When someone says that Judas Priest is in the Hall of Fame, I sang for Judas Priest, so I’m basically in the Hall of Fame.

"It just would have been nice to get an e-mail or a call. The only e-mails I ever get are threats. It’s a shame because we’re friends. It’s a shame that’s all management is worried about, instead of, 'We should probably send a letter to Tim or a bottle of champagne to thank him for his years in the band'."

Asked why his debut release with the band, Jugulator, isn't on Spotify, Owens admits "I don't know."

"It’s funny," he continues. "I won’t make any money from it if they’re being sold on Amazon and Spotify. I wouldn’t make any money from sales. But the guys in the band would. I’m dumbfounded. They would sell. I don’t know if they realize that. They must not need any more money...

It is shocking though that they’ve kind of erased my time. At least Maiden plays [Bruce Dickinson's replacement during his time away from the band] Blaze Bayley stuff live."

Owens currently fronts KK's Priest, the band formed by former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing.

The full interview with the singer can be read on the Rolling Stone site.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.