The Three Tremors - Tim 'Ripper' Owens

After being a really fun subject to discuss with fellow metalheads to the point it became an urban legend, THE THREE TREMORS band has finally happened. Sure, the lineup isn’t the one that was rumored decades ago but it does feature the best Metal screamers out there, and there is no question about it. However, this is not a project to play the classics but a full-fledged band with a killer 12-song tracklist and a second album on the making... That’s right, there is more music on the way like Tim “Ripper” Owens revealed to METAL KAOZ in a recent phone call. Want to learn more? Dig in!

The Three Tremors - Tim 'Ripper' Owens

Hello Tim and welcome to METAL KAOZ!
How are you?

I’m good, how are things in Ohio?
It’s very good, cold and good.

Cold and good? Are you kidding me? And please keep in mind that I’m Greek (laughs).
Yeah, how do you feel now, huh (laughs)?

A fun fact; the first time I saw you live was in 2001 in Athens, Greece with JUDAS PRIEST.
That was a great show! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Yeah. Anyway, we have a lot of things to discuss; first of all, the project of THE THREE TREMORS was like an urban legend let’s say, so initially the rumor was to have Geoff Tate, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, so who had the idea to finally make it happen with you guys?
Sean Peck called me one day and said “hey, listen, I wanna do a three-singer Metal record and not just a three-singer tour to our backcatalogue”. He wanted to make a record so that’s how it started and then the name came a little bit later on. He was like Three Tremors has never been used” and we said “let’s take it”.

Why not? Even though, you know, people online try to compare this band with the alleged band and it’s a little bit crazy.
I tell you what; if people don’t like our name, then won’t compare the records that each THREE TREMORS made. Oh wait, they just did make one – that was my little story. They didn’t exist, they didn’t own the name. Not only that, they didn’t own the name. Listen, I got to be honest, if they called me, I’ve such respect for all of them they can have it, I don’t care. They can take the name because if they want to make a record and do it, they absolutely can have it. But they didn’t own the name; Sean bought the rights and everything [interrupting himself] but if it was that serious back in the day, they would have owned everything.

Of course. So, how long did you work on the album songwriting-wise and recording-wise?
It took a while because with our schedules; I was doing a lot of touring and many solo shows. Plus, I was also recording a record before that; I was recording the SPIRITS OF FIRE record before that, so I was kind of pretty busy. Sean was writing the music because he already had this idea, so the music was kind of ready to go and I just had to go into the studio and spend some time on that.

Did the rest of the guys, who are basically CAGE, contribute to the songwriting?
I know that Dave [Garcia] did one and I imagine they all probably did but I think it was Sean and Dave did a lot of it and made us to spend more time with the vocals, because the songs are already written.

And how did you split who will be singing what? Because, since Sean has already written most of the music, how did you adjust the songs to the three different voices?
Well, you’re right, and it was a great idea how we did it; I do think I was hooked-winged a little bit to this project, because I thought I was gonna sing a few parts and next thing I’m singing in the whole CD. We all sang the whole record. I heard Sean’s version and then, I just went and made my own version of the record and separated the vocals later on by listening to it. To me, this was a real advantage because I approached it differently than I would have any other record. I decided to sing a bit different, I used a different type of voice, different tones, just so I could stand up differently from the other guys. Because we have kind of similar voices, so I made sure I sang a little more falsetto, a little raspier, more like a METAL CHURCH / AC/DC type of approach and I layered with a bit more lower parts underneath the higher parts. So that’s the cool thing; we could actually release this CD individually if we wanted to, which we may do down the road, because we all sang the whole CD.

So, instead of THE THREE TREMORS, you could name the band THE THREE RECORDS (laughs).
Well, I would name it THREE TREMORS, THREE MINUS TWO TREMORS (laughs).

Although some of the songs have some JAG PANJER flavor onto them, others have a CAGE breeze and some JUDAS PRIEST of the “Jugulator” era – and that sounds awesome to me, to be honest.
I think it is and that’s the greatest thing about it. Again, we have the same genre of voice whereas we are Power Metal singers, we all can all sing different types, we all sing a lot of characters as well, you know what I mean? Harry has a lot of layers to his voice and Sean has too, so that’s what great about this album. Yes, you are right you hear all those elements and that’s why again I wanted to make this CD, because I wanted to make a Power Metal CD that reaches out and grabs everything about the ‘80s; the artwork is all about the ‘80s, the over-the-top lyrics and artwork, the colors have that vibe – everything about it, the whole thing.

You said that all three of you recorded their own version of the album, so who had the final say on what to use and how you’ll mix the three voices together?
I think Sean and Dave did in the studio. Because, obviously, I would sing a part different and then they came and said “let’s use that – listen what he did”. I wasn’t in the studio though and I’m glad I wasn’t because first of all if I was in the studio, and then we’ve got to separate the vocals, we would have been using all of my vocals. I wouldn’t wanna be with all of these guys separate because we had a lot of stuff to listen to and go through them. The thing is that Sean had the vision of this, it’s really his baby, so he gets to have the say on this one.

So, there were no egos classing over while standing above the soundboard?
Absolutely not; there are no egos around there. I probably have the biggest one and I’m proud of that, but there were no egos. You have a young band, some young kids in there, you have Dave in there who’s been with CAGE forever. We all are doing the same thing, so there are no egos at all.

Did you use all the songs you wrote in the album or do you have material on the side?
We used all of them. I know Sean probably has another album written already. So we’ll probably be in the studio before you know it. But we did them all. Like I said, to me, I’m glad Sean wrote them because right before I worked on that, I did the SPIRITS OF FIRE CD and I wrote material for that, and before that, I wrote A NEW REVENGE CD, so it was nice to have Sean do that. But that was it, we did all twelve.

Because I think I haven’t gotten the vinyl on my hands, but there are two instrumental bonus tracks on that version. Are those different versions of existing songs of the album?
I can’t remember because I don’t have the record yet either, but I know there is some instrumental stuff so people can dance to it and have fun – I’m kidding, they can’t dance to that.

(laughs) You said that there is a second album coming from THE THREE TREMORS, so we shouldn’t consider this as an one-time project, right?
I’ve got to tell you, anything I do, I don’t go into it thinking it as an one-time project. This certainly is gonna happen another record. Sean loves it, we all love to do it so I don’t think there is any doubt about it. We have already done 17 shows in Europe and we’re ready to do 15 shows in America. I have to tell them I can’t tour because I’m already committed to doing the hologram Dio thing, but we’ll be touring non-stop. We played Greece already so those shows are different than other ones because we all already touring.

So, after the North US tour, do you have something set on your mind to do with THE THREE TREMORS?
I think it depends on what I can fit in with the schedule. Like I said, I have scheduled some things already; the SPIRITS OF FIRE record is coming up on February 22nd, there are no plans about touring that yet. Listen; these records were recorded with a gap of a year between them and then the labels decided to put all three albums out at the same time, so everybody thinks I must have recorded these at the same time, but no. If it was planned perfectly, then each album would have come out followed by a tour, but that’s not the case. I think that THE THREE TREMORS have a lot of life and a lot of legs to them. The way I look it it’s different than anything else. It is Power Metal, it only goes to a certain genre of people; A NEW REVENGE is a Rock project, that’s straightforward Rock / Hard Rock record, which a great live record to play; SPIRITS OF FIRE is SAVATAGE-meets-JUDAS PRIEST and this one is Power / classic Metal with high-notes classic melodies, but it’s different, nobody is doing that. We are not going out playing our backcatalogue, we’re going out play the whole record a few extra songs but we’re playing the record when we go out live, so it’s pretty cool.

Awesome. And honestly, I do prefer to hear new music if there is some, instead of like you said the backcatalogue. Although if I’m being honest here, from you I’d like to hear more songs from the two JUDAS PRIEST albums that, I don’t know why, they don’t get much air-time.
Listen, it’s good for me because when I tour solo I play those songs, like “Bullet Train”, “Blood Stain”, “Burn In Hell”, “Hell Is Home”, “Lost And Found” and that’s what makes it great. Even on this tour, we’ll be playing “Burn In Hell”, “Scream Machine” from the BEYOND FEAR record. So, at least I tour solo a lot and then I play my music, so the JUDAS PRIEST fans get to hear them. I have a great band I tour with and the music sounds phenomenal.

So, now you know that you can put together a Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens festival, right?
Well, we’re gonna have someone else to sing some of my parts, if we’re gonna do that (laughs).

Yeah, I figure that out (laughs).
You never know though; by the time we do it, I’ve been fired from bands, I might have been fired from my own solo band, so you never know.

That would be a first.

You mentioned a couple of times SPIRITS OF FIRE, and that album is great. Chris did already mention plans to tour but is there anything new on that side? Have you talked about getting SPIRITS OF FIRE on the road?
I think we’d like to eventually. I think we all are kind of busy right now. Again, the album took longer to come out than I would have thought so it made it harder to tour. When you put out three records out at the same time, it’s kind of hurting the touring aspect. So, I guess the labels have to understand that when you delay records for 3, 4, 5 months or a year, then this happens. I would definitely love to tour with SPIRITS OF FIRE. I know for a fact that A NEW REVENGE tour is gonna happen – I’m not sure if it’s gonna be America but probably Russia and Europe. But everybody is busy so we have to figure out how the tour schedule will go but we definitely would do it; it would be nice to have an American tour with SPIRITS OF FIRE.

Still, the Metal business in the US is kind of hectic, I guess.
I toured the world and American shows and venues are the same, I mean our crowds on our last European tour were exactly the same as I tour in America. It’s just people see festivals and see a band like MANOWAR can do better in Europe than it does here but maybe it’s just that. America might move on a little bit from some bands and they’re not totally stuck in the past. But MAIDEN, PRIEST they sell out arenas here. I think the problem with America is that it’s saturated with bands touring, and sure, the whole world is. But in America, it just seems that every weekend there are two or three bands, and I’m talking about national acts, that are coming through town.

That’s true; even the day that you’ll come here, closer to town there is a couple of other shows.
Yeah. But it’s pretty awesome that this kind of music that I’m doing has fans all over the world. Maybe in one place there are a couple of hundreds of people and then you’ll go to the next place and there is two thousand people. That’s just the way it is, but it’s pretty awesome, you know. I don’t care if I’m playing in front of 15 people; witnessing first-hand the expression on somebody’s face is pretty great.

So, for the US tour, will you be changing the setlist as far as additional songs? Because you said that you’ll play pretty much the entire THREE TREMORS record, so are you adding something more?
No, probably we’re gonna keep it the same because we haven’t played it here. We played a couple of JAG PANZER songs, a couple of CAGE songs, we’ll play a couple of JUDAS PRIEST songs, maybe a classic PRIEST song, like “The Sentinel” or something. You know, sometimes we change something, we put something out and put something new in, but we’ll pretty much keep the base of the setlist because it’s a great setlist.

Although you’re a busy guy, do you have any other projects going that we’re not aware of?
Sometimes I work on stuff I don’t even remember I’m working on it. Last year I put out that TOURNIQUET CD, I special guested on the whole CD which is an amazingly great Hard Rock CD. I’m always singing special guest on people’s CDs and just got done working on a Rock ‘n Roll band called HELL OF A HOSTAGE - they’re from the Syracuse area I believe - it’s just straightforward Rock ‘n Roll and I sang on the whole CD and part of the profits goes to the veterans, so that was something totally different for me. So, it was pretty cool doing that. But I get to do music, gonna stay busy, remembering what I’m doing is a hard thing. I just finished that so now I’m gonna be touring and hopefully I’ll see you in Chicago when I do the Dio hologram tour – I’m excited on doing that, I was great friends with Ronnie, and it’s a pretty amazing experience to do something new and just try to make fans happy - or at THE THREE TREMORS show, on March 08th.

Of course. Thank you very much, Tim, for your time. I wish you the best on everything you’re doing right now. See you soon!
Thanks, Dimitris. See you soon, buddy!