Home RMW Articles RMW Interviews Tim Ripper Owens - The Interview

Tim Ripper Owens – The Interview

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RMW: Hey this is Tony Fennell. Rock my world and with me today I’ve got one of the greatest rock and roll singers out there right now, and that’s for certain. How you doing Tim?

Tim: I’m good man, how are you?

RMW: Not too bad, not too bad matey. I know you haven’t got much time because you’ve got a thousand interviews lined up for today. But let’s get into the nitty gritty about your new band the three tremors. How on earth did three kick singers come up with a concept of making an album, sharing the stage and sharing vocal duties. I know you’ve done these shows before with other singers but never an album right?

Ripper: Yeah I think that’s difference really. I think you know I did it over in South America with Blaise Bailey and Dirk Schneider and Mike Merscara and I did America with Jeff Tate and Blaise Bailey but no one ever did a record. When Sean called me, Sean Peck called and said hey, let’s do a three singers thing and let’s do a record. It wasn’t like let’s tour on our back catalogue or your back catalogue or whatever, let’s let’s go do a record and that’s what got me. And, I’ll tell you what else got me was it was gonna be like classic Power Metal high note you know just craziness going on. I do all kinds of styles singing all kinds of records but I don’t do this one funny thing, I don’t do this one as much. And I was pretty excited to do it. So when he when he called that was the main idea was let’s let’s make an album.

RMW: Love it. So let me ask you then, the three of you came together, where on earth did that name come from, the three tremors?

Ripper: Well it was you know obviously I think everybody and especially the hard rock world knows that originally Halford and Dickinson and Jeff Tate talked about releasing the three tremors, they talked about doing a record and doing a project called Three tremors. You know it had never seen the light of day. I think I think Sean was like, you know hey well you know it was talked about never used, no one owns the name, no it was not a three tremors dot.com, no one even owned it, so he went and got the rights to it and got it all and said you know let’s do it. I got to be honest if they would even call me now and say yeah you know, we want to do it, we want to go back and do it again, I’d be like yes sure I don’t care. But I think it was just, I think Sean’s totally, you know, he loves like we all do, that genre of the 80s and stuff, and I think. it was a legend man. It was an urban legend that never happened. Let’s do it. I mean listen, we’re obviously not the giant characters that they were (Halford Dickinson and Tate) are but we decided to do it ourselves.

RMW: Well dude, you say that but I mean, I’ve heard you sing Dio and it’s frightening. Well done my man.

Ripper: Thank you.

RMW: Well can you walk us through the new album’s recording process? I’m guessing, and this is a guest by the way, you all recorded at different times. The question is, did you will recall the songs front to back and then choose the best takes and then go, that’s Ripper’s verse, or did you did you already have them in place like, that’s your song (Ripper), that’s your song (Sean). How did it actually come together, the album?

Ripper:  We did. I recorded the whole thing. Sean sent me, and this is another reason why I love getting into this because, I had just written part of the Spirits of Fire CD that I had come out. Chris Caffrey and and produced by Roy Z and before that I did, what was, Project rock, but is now called New Revenge with Carrie Kelly James Kottak and Rudy Sarzo, so I kind of, within the past two, three years I was doing a lot of writing, so when this came along and he said listen, I got these songs let’s do it. I love that.

And then I had to concentrate on the singing, all I had to concentrate was doing whatever kind of voice, and just worry about singing and I sang from top to bottom, we all did. He (Sean) sent me his vocals but what made it great for me, and you would get this, is I heard him singing so I changed my voice more than I usually would because I would have I would have sounded too similar to his style. So I did more of a falsetto, more of an AC DC Metal Church you know, a raspy high notey kind of thing, I did a lot more layering. Listen, I, could we could release this record with me singing the whole thing, and with Harry singing the whole thing, we could actually release our own records.

RMW: That’s brilliant.

Ripper: Hey listen, I thought at first I was just going to be singing parts so I thought this is going to be a piece of cake. I thinking I’m singing this line and this line, and he’s like, no, sing at all and I’m like Jeez, Ok.

RMW:  Let me ask you with regards to that, how about harmonies? Did you all do the exact same harmonies and then you just did a huge blend. I mean, it’s interesting to me because, again, you’ve got three kickass singers so that can’t be any, you know the old saying, LSD, (lead singer’s disease) you’ve got to throw that aside, so, how on earth did you work out the harmonies.

Ripper: Well he had some harmonies there but I’d like to just do my own. Like I said, I did a lot more layering even on the verses. I would do a lower one, I would do a higher one, I would just kind of do things all over the place.

Some sections, verses, we tried it, or choruses we tried to do the same harmonies but you know really the hard part ended up being when they wanted to go mix it in the studio, they had to figure out who’s singing what?

That’s why I think me singing different made them go, yeah listen to Ripper on that part right there, he sounds totally different, let’s have Ripper do it.

RMW: That’s also the mark of a fantastic singer by the way and I’m not I’m not blowing smoke, but to be able to change on the fly, you know a lot of singers, and the reason that a lot of bands sell a lot of records is because they go, that’s obviously Steve Perry, that’s obviously Rob Halford. For you to be able to switch up and go, hey you know what, this doesn’t call for that so let me switch it up, that’s the mark of the singer, for me anyway.

Ripper:  It is, but you know what’s cool about my singing, and I’ve always tried to pride myself on it, it is that I still sound like me. I mean I can sing Pantera, I can sing AC DC, I can sing, you know, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest Dio, that’s just the way my voice is, but it doesn’t sound like I’m cloning these people, it’s just the style of my voice. The Project Rock, or the New Revenge C.D. I have coming out, it’s straightforward rock. I mean it’s catchy hard rock, catchy courses. It just sounds like me and a different type of music. But that’s the thing, I could change up on the on these CD’s but not change who I am, it’s still is like, yeah, it’s still Ripper.

Actually I’ve read reviews, I read a horrible review about the Three Tremors and I haven’t read a ton of them, and this guy’s like, man Ripper’s terrible, he sounds just like typical Ripper, and I’m thinking, I’m actually singing totally different, so this dude thinks I still sound exactly like me, which obviously, he doesn’t like me at all.

RMW: He’s listening to a different album. I mean, remember he probably doesn’t have a life but that’s another story for another day I guess.

RMW:  You know it’s when I first came to the states, and I’ve lived in America now for 30 years, I can just remember going to bars in hearing these guys getting up and singing, in England there’s some great singers obviously, but as far as bands in bars in the 80s, when I first arrived in the States and heard guys singing I was like, what on earth are they drinking? because it was like every single guy that got off his stool sounded kick ass. It was absolutely crazy.

Ripper: And yeah you’re right, you’re right man. That era, and those singers you know, were pretty amazing.

RMW:  Well with regards to singing live, do you have a set band for the tour or is it sort of a revolving door?

Ripper: You know what’s great, Sean has a band Cage, and that’s and that’s actually how I met I met Sean. Cage, it’s a different lineup now, but back in 1970 opened up for Judas Priest in San Diego. So that’s how I kind of met him but. We used their band, it’s got the seasoned veteran David, who did the mixing production and songwriting with Sean, and then the band, the rest of the guys also are young, and I mean young and fantastic. It’s great to see these young kids who are so into metal and so good at what they do. So, it was a choice at first, do we get people, an all-star band or other musicians? and Sean mentioned using Cage, and I’m like, well why not. They’re from San Diego you guys can rehearse, they’ll be there in the studio, they’ll make us a better band, so that’s what we do.

RMW: That’s great. and are they in for the long haul, or are they just for this for the North American tour?

Ripper: No, we did a European tour in October because the record was the record was supposed to come out but it didn’t, so they went there and they did that. We did Cyprus and Greece and Israel and Germany and everywhere. We did 17 shows there and now they’re in for the long haul.

As a matter of fact, I liked them so much they backed me up one time in San Diego. We did a set and they backed me up for a solo show. I like them so much I’m thinking hey, I need to tour America, I’ll just use you got you guys solo.

RMW: Well that’s brilliant. With regards to the live set, obviously you going to be concentrating on the new album, the new Three Tremors album, but do the fans get to hear material from any of your prior projects?

Ripper: Yeah we’re going to throw a couple in there, and like I said, we we’re going to play all 12 cuts from the Three Tremors and I know there’s two instrumentals on there and I hope they’re I hope they’re gonna throw those in to give us a break. Of course, they’re only like a minute long so it’s doesn’t matter, but yeah, we’re going to do a couple. We’re gonna do Burn In Hell from the Jugulator CD from Judas Priest, and we’re going to Scream Machine probably from my Beyond Fear C.D. We’ll do a couple of Cage songs, and a couple of Jag Panzer songs, and we’ll probably throw in like a classic Preist song, maybe like Painkiller or The Sentinel like we did in Europe. But the main focus of the set is we’re playing every song from the CD, as we did in Europe. When nobody had even heard it we played every song.

RMW: So that’s that’s going to be a long set isn’t it?

Ripper: It is, unless I get in I start cutting songs out. (laughter)

Hey, you know us singers, we get to say listen, let’s let’s cut that one now. (laughter)

RMW: Yeah exactly, mmm, about those pipes? they’re not there tonight. (laughter) So, with regards to this year, obviously it’s all about the Three Tremors at the moment, but are you working on anything else? I mean, do the fans get anything else to look forward to this year from you?

Ripper: Well, you know I’m constantly working and people are always mad at me. They always tell me the story of, man, you need to get in one band and stick with it. I’m like, yeah. I just said the other day, I said I would have to work a 9 to 5 job 60 hours a week or whatever if I had one band. I couldn’t afford to do it. I just finished recording a record, it’s kind of like a classic rock n roll or early AC DC influenced band out of Syracuse. I didn’t join them or anything, I just guest sang on their whole CD and sang all the songs, and its really basic easy stuff for me to sing but, I loved it. It was totally different for me and some of the money that they make when they tour goes to the veterans. So it was a no brainer to do it and that’s the real main reason why I wanted to do it because I wanted to be involved with something like that.

Like I said, I got two CD’s coming out right now as well. Spirits of Fire, that comes out February 22nd. At the end of March, New Revenge comes out so I’m constantly doing stuff and I’ll probably be hitting the road with the hologram tour soon. So I’m always doing something.

RMW: Well mate, you know I just want to say, absolutely thank you so much for taking time out with us today. Listen, be safe out there and kick some serious metal, my friend. Tim, you’re a superstar.

Ripper: I will, and Listen, you’ve got my information now so you stay in touch and reach out any anytime, just give me a shout

RMW: You got it brother, listen do me a favor, be safe out there

Ripper: You got it.

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