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THE METAL OBSERVER - Interview - BEYOND FEAR - December 2006

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Beyond Fear - Any way you want to! (Tim Owens) - December 2006

Tim “Ripper” Owens should need no introduction. His story has become something of legend, even inspiring a major motion picture. Starting in small-town America with WINTER’S BANE, Owens quickly rose to fame as Rob Halford’s replacement in JUDAS PRIEST. Two studio albums (and two live albums) later, Owens moved from PRIEST to take over the vacated vocalist spot in ICED EARTH. But after years of singing other people’s music, Owens has come with BEYOND FEAR, a band of his own creation. Owens took a few moments out of his busy schedule of being a musician and a family man, to give us the story on BEYOND FEAR, along with his other endeavors.


Hello Tim. Let me start by saying that it is such an honor conducting this interview. Anyway, how are you today?

I’m doing great. Just running around crazy.

Well let’s go ahead and get right into this thing. Your BEYOND FEAR album is out now, and is a very solid piece of pure Metal. But I would have expected nothing less from you. So, how has the response to the album been, so far?

I would say maybe the best response ever. The reviews have been better then ever across the board. It will take more work, being a new band and all, but I could not have asked for a better reaction.

What prompted you to put BEYOND FEAR together?

I wanted to write and do what I want for a change and not what others think I want to do. It is real nice to make something your way. You know everybody I’ve worked with does it a different way and they think it is the only way to do it. Well they are wrong, you can do it any fucking way you want to!

Can you tell me a bit about the band’s other members?

John Comprix is the main guy with me on this. (He) writes with me and has been there from the beginning and he is a great guitar player. He plays with a lot of feel. It is killer! Dennis Hayes is on bass. (He’s) amazing and he has been there from the WINTER’S BANE days. Then Erik Elkins is on Drums. John brought him in and he is killer. He played with a band called CRYPT KICKER. He is just as solid as they come.

I have to ask, what is this “fear” that you are beyond?

Nothing really, just think it sounds cool and was perfect for what this band is about.

I’d also like to know if there is any significance to the cross logo that appears throughout the “Beyond Fear” packaging. I even noticed it on the shirt you’re wearing in one of the photos.

Well that is something I have had for years. It started with my wife and I getting a tattoo on our back, then it went from there. It is a beyond Fear thing but it is also a Tim Owens thing. I wore it on tour with ICED EARTH and will continue to wear it at all times. But now it is something that when you see it you will say “BEYOND FEAR”. 

Some of the songs on “Beyond Fear” have what I would simply call metal lyrics (“Scream Machine”, “And…You Will Die”, etc.), but many of the songs seem to have far more introspective lyrics. I’d really like to know the inspiration behind some of these, especially “Dreams Come True”, “I Don’t Need This” and “My Last Words”.

Just life. You know I’m a lyrics guy that likes them basic and to the point. No need for a fucking story all the time. So I like to write about how shitty the people in politics are or how shitty it is to die or how you get screwed over. You know, anything.

The production job on “Beyond Fear” is superb. How did Jim Morris’ involvement come about? I know he’s done a lot of work with ICED EARTH.

I loved working with him with ICED EARTH and thought he would be perfect. Smart guy and a friend. He got just what I wanted out of this.

How has the touring been going for BEYOND FEAR? And how has the live response been?

Great tour with ANTHRAX. It was a blast and the crowds where great! But we have not toured enough. I wanted to tour all summer but we did not tour at all...and it ain't my fault.

I know BEYOND FEAR did a tour with JON OLIVA’S PAIN. How did that go? With Jon Oliva being the Metal God that he is, it must have been pretty cool.

It was fun. Small crowds and not promoted well at all, but it was fun. Jon and his band are just great and (Chris) Caffery was kick ass. It was a lot of fun. I would love to do it again.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about BEYOND FEAR before I move on?
(It’s) the best CD I have made to date. I love it and it is the best reviewed CD I have made as well. So get the fucking thing!

I’d like to talk about ICED EARTH for a minute, if that’s okay. I have to say that when you replaced Matt Barlow, I was a bit skeptical, but you blew me away on the “Glorious Burden”, especially on the “Gettysburg” set. Needless to say, I can hardly wait for the follow-up. Any idea when that might be?
Not yet. What a masterpiece. Jon is just a blast to work with. I can't wait as well.

I’ve read that Jon Schaffer is planning a follow up to the “Something Wicked” story. Will this completely be his baby, or will you and the rest of the guys have some creative say?

I really have no say...I read it just like you! And I understand. That is why I'm working so hard on BEYOND FEAR! I can't wait to do the next ICED EARTH. It will be fun working with Jim and Jon again.

We’ve all heard countless stories from former ICED EARTH members about how difficult Jon can be to work with. Do you find this to be true? How is your working relationship with Jon?

I have not found him that hard. I do my job and it's fine.

When might we see ICED EARTH back out on the road again?

I hope next year.

Now Tim, I have to know, is the “Ripper” persona that fans see on stage and in pictures really you, or simply a stage persona? Does anything separate “Ripper” from Tim Owens (like Alice Cooper vs. Vincent Furnier)?

It is close to me. Not exactly. You need to not be normal on stage. I will leave it up to
people to wonder what is real and what is not.

If you don’t mind me asking, since I know you’re a father, how old are your children?

17 year old daughter, 3 year old Son, 1 year old daughter 

What do they think of dad’s music?

I really don't think they care. When people say, “Timmy what does your Dad do for a living?” he says “practice”.

How do your wife and children take this whole rock star thing? Not every kid can say, “My dad is ‘Ripper’ Owens”.

It's ok, but dad comes first and I'm home a lot. But I would say they love the whole rock star thing.

Do any of your kids show musical aspirations, maybe following in dad’s footsteps?

My eldest Daughter is a really good singer, but I hope she goes to college and gets a real job. Ha ha ha ha.

As a family man, where do you see yourself in 10 years?  Still rocking out?

Rocking man. That is my job. That is what I do and that is what I will do.

If you have time, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions I ask everyone. First, if I’d look in you CD player right now, what would I find playing?
IRON MAIDEN “Piece Of Mind”.

Very nice choice. What do you think of the current metal scene? Any bands you particularly like? Dislike?

I like it. At least there is one. Not sure of names of bands. TRIVIUM is cool.

Do you have any interests/hobbies in your limited free time?

Love sports and doing family stuff. Oh yeah, I still like beer.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Go get “Beyond Fear”...METAL BABY!




2006: s/t (CD, Steamhammer)


Eric Vieth

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