Former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens says that the band "needed" to reunite with Rob Halford .
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 after being discovered when the band's drummer was given a videotape of him performing with the PRIEST cover band BRITISH STEEL . JUDAS PRIEST at the time was seeking a replacement for Halford , who has since rejoined the band.
Owens recorded two studio albums with JUDAS PRIEST — "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before Halford 's return to the group.
Owens told Ultimate Guitar that he wasn't particularly surprised to see PRIEST reconnecting with Rob .
"Well, the band needed Rob Halford , really," he said. "I joined JUDAS PRIEST in a horrible time in heavy metal — the mid-'90s. It wasn't very good. It started taking up in 2000, but it was too late for us.
"I've always said it this way: JUDAS PRIEST needed Rob Halford back and Rob needed to come back. He needed JUDAS PRIEST . I mean, he can have a very successful solo career, he still co do his HALFORD thing. But money's doubled with JUDAS PRIEST and Rob Halford . So they needed each other.
"I think we could have continued on, I think we could have been successful and did it. But, really, I think it was a smart decision for everybody. But I think that is it. Bands need the original lineup and the original singers to come back together and do that."
"I mean, JUDAS PRIEST — if they got [original guitarist] K.K. [ Downing ] back... I love Richie [ Faulkner , Downing 's replacement], I wouldn't ever want Richie to go anywhere, but if they had that lineup back and they did a big tour, it probably would fetch more money as well."
Owens went on to say that he believes his era of JUDAS PRIEST is largely overlooked.
"Yeah, I think it definitely deserves more [attention]," he said. "I mean, they don't do anything. [ Laughs ] It's kind of amazing that they just totally erased it that they won't play... I mean 'Burn in Hell' [off 'Jugulator' ], the crowd would like to hear 'Burn In Hell' .
"They don't have to give me a tribute or anything, but it would be nice to play a song from... You know, that was a pretty big thing, I did two studio records, two live records, and a DVD, starting from '96 to 2004. So it's kind of crazy that it's just been erased and they won't even play a song from it live, because it is JUDAS PRIEST ."
Tim told The Metal Voice in 2016 that he "wouldn't have quit JUDAS PRIEST ." He clarified: "I wanted to leave JUDAS PRIEST , 'cause I had already recorded the ICED EARTH record [ 'The Glorious Burden' ]. So I wanted out of JUDAS PRIEST , 'cause I wanted to do other stuff, but I never would have quit. 'Cause I was great friends with them, and I was the singer of JUDAS PRIEST . But to make more money and to do more things, I had to branch out and do other things."
In a separate interview, Owens defended himself against accusations by some JUDAS PRIEST fans of changing the band's sound to a more brutal, modern direction on "Jugulator" . He explained: "Every record JUDAS PRIEST puts out is different. I mean, 'Nostradamus' sounds nothing like JUDAS PRIEST ever wrote, ever. 'Turbo' sounded nothing like JUDAS PRIEST . You know, JUDAS PRIEST changes. They wrote 'Painkiller' , and 'Jugulator' was a transition; it was kind of following what was going on."
He continued: "You've gotta remember, JUDAS PRIEST always went with the times a little bit. Glenn [ Tipton , guitar] started playing arpeggios. PANTERA was really big [at the time]. [On the] 'Painkiller' [tour], they toured with PANTERA ; PANTERA opened for JUDAS PRIEST . 'Painkiller' was a heavy record, and this was a natural progression. The difference is I probably had a few more different layers to my voice that they could tap into — some deeper, death metal kind of undertones to do backups and some different types of voices that they might be able to try. But it was JUDAS PRIEST ."