In a new interview with the "Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen" podcast, Tim "Ripper" Owens discussed the state of heavy metal at the moment and how it compares to the way it was during his time with JUDAS PRIEST. He stated: "I've said it, and, obviously, Blabbermouth has ran with it — probably five or six times — but I've said I joined JUDAS PRIEST in one of the worst times of heavy metal ever. '96, '97 — my time in JUDAS PRIEST, it wasn't good… It was a horrible time — nobody was playing big shows. But since the early 2000s on, it's been way better. I make a living touring. Whether it's small venues or not, I make a living playing heavy metal all over the world. And yeah, it's great. We don't have to be on [the top of the charts]. We do have bands that still help — DISTURBED will get a song [played on the radio]. Any band that has a classic edge to it and ends up on the radio, I still love it. But we don't have to be. We stay right here, man. We just float along. And metal's doing great."
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Rob Halford in 2003.
Three months ago, Owens told the "Iron City Rocks" podcast about Halford's return to PRIEST: "I knew it was coming. And I understood why. Rob needed JUDAS PRIEST, and JUDAS PRIEST needed Rob. And I understood that. I would never quit JUDAS PRIEST, so they fired me. And I wanted to do other things as well. That's why I recorded that ICED EARTH record. I kind of started wanting to do some other things. 'Cause we have a lot of downtime. I just felt like it.
"JUDAS PRIEST was just so much fun, and the guys were such great friends, and it was such a great time," he continued. "I didn't burn any bridges. I left and I don't talk bad about 'em. Other than me saying that they've erased my time. I mean, [the albums I made during] my era of JUDAS PRIEST [are not available]. But on a personal level, the guys are friends, the management, Rob — everybody. We all get along. I knew it was gonna happen. And it was always something that was there."
Owens is currently in a new band called KK'S PRIEST with ex-JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing, along with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
KK'S PRIEST's debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", was released on October 1 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.