In a new interview with Canada's The Metal Voice, former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens spoke about the prospect of going back on the road following a year-and-a-half pause as the COVID-19 pandemic raged. "At first, people were enthusiastic and came out," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "I think it's a little different now. I just because they're told something different every day anyway, whether you believe it or not. I'm vaccinated — everybody knows I'm vaccinated — and I was all for wearing masks. But to go back to work, I have to figure out a way to do it.
"I think one issue now is there's a lot of shows — I mean, there are so many damn shows that are happening that people have to pick and choose what they go to," he continued.
"If, like me, you're vaccinated, but you're all concerned about people who aren't vaccinated, then you shouldn't go out anyways; you should stay home. Because I probably know seven people that are vaccinated that have had it and two of them ended up in the hospital.
"I feel pretty safe — I got it, and I'm ready to rock; that's my whole thing.
"I think people, they're not going out quite as much, but if they try to careful — that's what I always say: just try to be careful," the 53-year-old singer, who lives in Akron, Ohio, added. "You can live your life; just be careful and do it. It's like if you go to a show and you drink, call an Uber and don't drive home. It's about the same thing.
"I think people are worried. Some people still don't wanna go out. And you can't disagree with them — if they don't wanna go out, they don't wanna go out. This is a scary world. But I think the big thing with concerts, there's a lot of concerts going on [right now] — I mean, a lot."
Earlier in the month, Owens said that he "got vaccinated" and he wears a mask when he has to, "just because I wanna go back to work — I wanna tour. I got COVID last year. I had more effects from Mexican food than I did from getting COVID, but I got COVID. I believe it's there. It doesn't hurt me to wear a mask in a supermarket. Right now we just wanna get some kind of normalcy."
Owens went on to say that "people should get vaccinated. I think especially if you're older or you're unhealthy or you have underlying conditions, you should get vaccinated. I want the world to go back to normal. I wanna tour. I wanna be able to go to the store now and find something on the shelf. I mean, the shelves are empty. I go to my grocery store, and they're fucking empty, man."
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", will be released on October 1 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.