Published on June 16th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Tim “Ripper” Owens On The “DIO RETURNS” Tour & The Success Of His Career After Judas Priest
One of the most buzzed-about tours in the heavy metal world — the DIO RETURNS Tour featuring the Ronnie James Dio hologram — finally came to the United States this spring and summer. The DIO RETURNS U.S. Tour features a lineup of full of classic DIO band members performing DIO catalog favorites alongside a stunning, refined and officially-sanctioned Ronnie James Dio hologram.
The official band line-up will feature Craig Goldy on guitar, Simon Wright on drums, Scott Warren on keyboards, and newer DIO family member Bjorn Englen on bass. The show will also feature renowned metal vocalists Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen) and Oni Logan (Lynch Mob). This 90-minute celebration of Ronnie James Dio will include all of the great fan favorites — such as “Holy Diver”, “King of Rock N’ Roll” and “We Rock” — taking fans on a DIO journey from Rainbow to Black Sabbath, to his own DIO material, much of which with the legend himself.
In August 2016, Eyellusion surprised fans when it debuted the Ronnie James Dio hologram at the Wacken Open Air heavy metal festival in Germany. The hologram was also tapped to open the 2017 Pollstar Awards, wowing bookers and promoters in attendance and creating excitement for the forthcoming tour. Most recently in December 2017, thousands of fans in Germany, Poland, Spain, Romania, the U.K., Netherlands, and Belgium experienced DIO like never before via the DIO RETURNS tour. And for the past year, the presenting team at Eyellusion have been perfecting the production and unbelievable visual effects behind the amazing new Ronnie James Dio hologram.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the aforementioned Tim “Ripper” Owens by phone in June 2019, and highlights from that chat are transcribed below for your reading pleasure. Audio from the full interview will be posted next month via the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast.
On joining The Dio Returns Hologram Tour:
Tim “Ripper” Owens: This one is actually not technically DIO Disciples, it’s just the DIO band. We kind of tried to make it different going out on the road with this… The hologram itself and the idea has been of works from Eyellusion for years now… Trying to get it like four years, I think. I’m just guessing, I’m not exactly sure, but it’s been a long process.
On how he would describe the overall show to someone who hasn’t yet seen it:
Tim “Ripper” Owens: I sing probably three or four [songs] myself. Oni Logan sings three or four, around there. We sing a couple together as well. Then we do a couple with with the hologram, we’re on the side. It’s really amazing looking, to be honest… Ronnie’s hologram comes in and out and sings songs throughout the show.
On how his vocal care and preparation compares to that of Ronnie James Dio:
Tim “Ripper” Owens: I remember Ronnie Dio could have some beers before the show. He would entertain everybody and I’m the complete opposite. I have to kind of just shut it down and be careful what I do.
On having more work and success since leaving Judas Priest:
Tim “Ripper” Owens: Judas Priest was so amazing for me. There’s such great guys… They gave me everything in the world, man… I was able to go buy a Jaguar. It was a great time, they opened the doors up for me to do whatever I wanted if I played my cards right, and I’ve been able to.
On being able to sing a variety of styles for a variety of projects:
Tim “Ripper” Owens: I have a wider range of a voice now where my mids and my lows and my higher natural voice is even better because I’ve had to learn to do different things. When I put these last three records out, I put one out called The Three Tremors, which is three singers singing straight-out power metal. That’s craziness with high notes all over. I also have the Spirits Of Fire which is with Chris Caffrey from Trans-Siberian Orchestra and it’s like Judas Priest meets Savatage. Then probably the most well-received one was in one called A New Revenge which has Keri Kelli who was in Alice Cooper and he now in Night Ranger, and it has James Kottak who was in The Scorpions, and [bassist] Rudy Sarzo, and that’s like a hard rock record, straight-forward, which is the most commercial and there’s not that much high notes in it. So I’ve just released three records and are obviously very different.
On upcoming touring plans:
Tim “Ripper” Owens: Well usually I have a plan pretty far in advance, but we’ve kind of been on hold with the Hologram tour, so I’ve left a big opening to be open and to wait to tour with that. But now I’ve decided to go ahead. The Three Tremors are in-demand to go do a lot of touring. I think September, October I’ll be touring pretty much all over from America to Australia to South America, Mexico… July and August I’ll take off and do a little bit of recording, maybe gonna take a little vacation in the middle of July. You know it’s always something I’m working on I always have something going on, right?