Tim “Ripper” Owens feels Judas Priest’s album ‘Jugulator’ isn’t far off musically from ‘Painkiller’

Tim “Ripper” Owens feels Judas Priest’s album ‘Jugulator’ isn’t far off musically from ‘Painkiller’

Former Judas Priest and current K.K’s Priest frontman Tim “Ripper” Owens was recently interviewed by Andrew Daly for Metal Sucks. Owens was promoting his new solo EP Return To Death Row, which was released back  in November 2022. Owens first rose to fame as Judas Priest‘s lead vocalist and the replacement for the one and only “Metal God” Rob Halford. Judas Priest released two studio albums, Jugulator (1997) and Demolition (2001), with Owens on lead vocals.

With respect to what sort of pressures he felt replacing Halford in Judas Priest, Owens indicated: “I gotta be honest; I didn’t feel the pressure at the time. I felt confident because, vocally, I knew I was the right fit. I knew I was enough; I could sing anything. I remember that back then, when people would doubt if I could handle the Rob Halford stuff, K.K. used to say, “Okay, come to the concerts and see Ripper if you don’t believe us. The proof is in the pudding.”

So, I felt pretty good about it. I knew fans weren’t gonna like me, and I knew it wasn’t gonna last forever. I knew that eventually, Priest was going to have to have Rob back and that Rob was going to have to have Priest back in his life. But I didn’t feel the pressure, and I think one of the big reasons was that I was treated well by the guys in the band. We got along so well. I was just a kid from Akron, Ohio, who got to be in Judas Priest, and it was terrific.”

In terms of what led to Jugulator‘s darker and more aggressive sound, Owens stated: “I think it had a lot to do with what was happening at the time in the band and the world around us. Priest has always kept their ears open to the changes in music around them on records like Turbo and Painkiller. And I think that with Jugulator, you saw bands like Pantera and Metallica thriving and doing darker stuff, and maybe that shaped the album’s direction. But I always say Jugulator is a true continuation of Painkiller, to be honest. If I didn’t use some of the lower heaviness, people would have made that same comparison. Musically, Jugulator isn’t far off from Painkiller. But vocally, with me dropping into the lower registers, that threw people off a bit from that.”

Owens was asked how he measures Jugulator‘s importance to his trajectory and the legacy of Judas Priest, to which he replied: “Jugulator probably doesn’t mean much in Judas Priest’s history because it’s not even out there as a reissue. So, to those guys, my records probably don’t mean much these days, especially with Rob in the band. But to me, it has a lot of meaning. Joining Priest and making Jugulator paved the way for me to be a musician and permanently made that my job. I’ve always told people that being in Judas Priest was my college education, but without having to pay back a student loan [Laughs].”

You can read the rest of the interview with Tim “Ripper” Owens at Metal Sucks’ website.

Judas Priest‘s “Painkiller” video (from Painkiller album):

Judas Priest‘s “Burn In Hell” video (from Jugulator album):