TIM ´RIPPER` OWENS
"PLAY MY GAME"
The public storm of enthusiasm for his great vocal performance on Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen’s Perpetual Flame (2008) haven’t even faded yet as the American Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens’s own impressive offering arrives at the stores: late May 2009 will see the arrival of his first solo album, Play My Game, proving that he’s not only an outstanding vocalist but also a highly talented and extremely experienced composer. Play My Game consists of around a dozen brand-new tracks that Owens composed himself or together with renowned friends, such as Bob Kulick, Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mike Callahan (ex-Earshot) and John Comprix (Beyond Fear, Ringworm). “A lot of my fans suspected that the debut by my group, Beyond Fear, had basically been a solo project, but Beyond Fear are a real band. We rehearse together, we compose as a team, and we do everything together. Play My Game is my first real solo effort on which I controlled everything, from the song writing to the final mix. This album is 100% Tim Owens.”
The list some of the guest musicians featured on Owens solo debut is even more spectacular than the illustrious cast of his co-composers: along with Bob Kulick and Chris Caffery and the others, he was supported by the guitarists Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Bruce Kulick (KISS), Michael Wilton (Queensr?che), Jeff Loomis (Nevermore), Craig Goldy (Dio), Carlos Cavaza (Quite Riot), Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), and Neil Zaza, bassists Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake), Billy Sheehan (ex-Mr Big, David Lee Roth), Dave Ellefson (ex-Megadeth), Rudy Sarzo (Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot), James Lomenzo (Megadeth), Tony Franklin (Blue Murder), Dennis Hayes (Beyond Fear) and drummers Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio), Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio), Ray Luzier (Korn), Bobby Jarzombek (Rob Halford), and Brett Chassen. Owens: ”All these musicians are not only great artists but also really good guys and loyal friends whom I only had to call, and they all came and played on my album. I asked Michael Wilton, for example, only for a solo on ‘To Live Again’, but in the end he recorded all the guitar parts of the song. Crazy! And Bob Kulick called Billy Sheehan when I was at the studio in Los Angeles. The next day he was sitting in the rehearsal room, playing bass for me. Sometimes I just couldn’t believe how smoothly it all went off.”
Fans and experts alike will love this sensational all-star line-up and may rest assured that the haunting songs will effortlessly live up to this illustrious cast of musicians: Tim ´Ripper` Owens has never sounded more impressive, melodic and multi-faceted! “I’ve gotten better as a songwriter,” Owens explains. “And I also write songs that the fans can really get into and get their fist pounding in the air. I’ve always been a great fan of the Black Sabbath line-up featuring Ronnie James Dio, and I love Judas Priest. Both bands delivered records that are straight forward and go directly to the bloodstream – which also happens to be my compositional approach.”
And this approach is based on the roots of heavy metal, even more than Beyond Fear’s music. “Beyond Fear has a sound more direct and aggressive, while Play My Game is more melodic and allows more space for my voice. From a vocal point of view, I took all the liberties I needed to make the melodies as interesting as possible.” A thoroughly successful process, as the 13 songs prove impressively. Play My Game has Owens present his wide vocal range, combined with an unmistakable penchant for traditional metal the way it was perfected in the 1980s and ‘90s by the protagonists of the scene. “Those are my roots, that’s the music I grew up with. That’s why it’s only logical that my enthusiasm for Sabbath, Priest and even Soundgarden transpires on this album. But this is still my music and my cd, I’m not trying to be anybody else, and that is nice. And what could be better for Owens’s fans but a tour to promote the new album? “I want to play as many shows as possible and put together a great band featuring my guests. Whoever happens to be available could play, and I’m sure the fans would love to see a top-class band with changing line-ups.”
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is without doubt among the most important metal vocalists of the past ten years. When he succeeded Rob Halford, joining Judas Priest in May 1996, the press rubbed their eyes, surprised as well as impressed: Owens had previously been a fairly unknown quantity to international music journalists and only a few new of him from the band Winters Bane, but he recorded his first Priest album, Grammy nominated Jugulator (1997) with more aplomb than even insiders had expected. Following successful tours with the British metal legends, the strong studio recording, Demolition (2001), and the live recordings, Meltdown - 98 Live (1998) and Live In London (2003), and the movie Rockstar, that was loosely based on Tim’s experience with Judas Priest, Halford’s return put an end to Owens’ stint with Judas Priest. More or less immediately, he was enlisted by Jon Schaffer to team up with Iced Earth and sang on The Glorious Burdon in spring 2004. Three years later, Owens followed suit with the Iced Earth album, Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt.I), which succeeded the self-titled highly praised debut by his own band, Beyond Fear. Spring 2008 saw Owens move on to join One of the worlds best guitar players Yngwie Malmsteen, debuting with a sensational vocal performance on Perpetual Flame.