Judas Priest fired me properly… Iced Earth didn’t, says Ripper Owens
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens says he always understood why Judas Priest had to fire him, and they did it decently – unlike Iced Earth, who “handled it poorly.”
The singer knew he’d have to leave the British metal giants if Rob Halford wanted to return, and that’s what happened in 2003.
Four years later Iced Earth mainman Jon Schaffer dumped him by email just before they started work on a new album, and at the same time announced Matt Barlow had returned to the mic.
Owens tells Loudmag: “We all knew that Rob would come back eventually. That was a given. I love the guys in Priest – if there’s anything where I look back and wish, ‘Oh man, I wish it could have worked out,’ that would probably be it.
“I was glad to see Rob come back. I do wish they’d play some of my material when they’re out there.”
Addressing his departure from Iced Earth, Owens says: “If you don’t have anything nice to say you probably shouldn’t say anything. That’s why I don’t say a lot about Iced Earth.
“It is what it is. It was handled poorly, I think. It could have been handled good and everybody could have looked good in the situation.
“The difference with Judas Priest is that they knew they had to get Rob back. All the blame wasn’t on me. but Iced Earth; I started getting all the blame. None ever came down on Jon.
“I’m fine with that – but the funny thing is that nothing really changed when I left. I read numbers and I talk to agents, and the crowds are the same or smaller now.”
On reflection Owens agrees it was time for him to leave Schaffer’s band, and draws another similarity to his Judas Priest experience.
He says: “I didn’t want to be in Iced Earth any longer. It’s like in Judas Priest – I didn’t want to be there any more. I wasn’t making the money, in either one of the bands, that I thought I could have been making on my own.”
And he’ll accept the blame for giving Schaffer the impression he didn’t care enough: “I started doing Beyond Fear and pushing Beyond Fear when I should have been talking about Iced Earth. I think Jon read a lot of that and he read into it that my heart and soul wasn’t into Iced Earth.
“I have nothing against what happened. I think it should have happened.”
Owens continues with a varied career including a stint with the Dio Disciples and fronting Yngwie Malmsteen’s band.
But he says: “The one guy I always wanted to work with was Dimebag. I always thought my voice and his guitar playing would have worked well together.
“I’m pretty fortunate – I’ve worked with a lot of people.”