Ian Hill has denied Tim "Ripper" Owens's recent claim that the singer's time with JUDAS PRIEST has been intentionally "erased" from the band's history,
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 Rob Halford, who has since rejoined the band.
Owens recorded two studio albums with JUDAS PRIEST — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before Halford's return to the group.
Tim recently told "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" that he was a little miffed by the fact that fans cannot find the music that he made with PRIEST on any of the music-streaming services or other online retailers. "My issue is I would like to buy the records," he said. "I'd like to buy some to even sell when I'm touring solo, but you can't when they're kind of gone. And that's only the thing I talk about… If they were out there, I could maybe buy 'em at cost and sell 'em at my concerts. That would be kind of cool. Then I'd have my whole catalog."
Asked in a new interview with "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" if the unavailability of the Owens-era PRIEST albums is a rights-related issue or if it is a deliberate attempt to bury that part of PRIEST's past, Hill said (hear audio below): "It's an odd one, really, because there's some good material on both of those albums. And Ripper is a terrific vocalist, and he did a tremendous job on 'Jugulator' and 'Demolition' And why they're not for sale has got nothing to do with us — put it like that. Whether it's a contractual thing between Sony and whoever owns the copyrights to those albums, I don't know. But it is a shame, because there's some good material there. And as a band, it's still JUDAS PRIEST. I know it wasn't the trademark lineup, but it was still JUDAS PRIEST nonetheless. So, it's disappointing — if that's true that the material is not available. It really is."
Owens told "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" that he would possibly re-record the material from "Jugulator" and "Demolition" and release it independently under his own name. He explained: "I would only do it because you can't buy [the original records]. You can't get 'Jugulator' unless you find a used copy. But I probably wouldn't. First of all, I've gotta have time to do it. I do play it live, so I'd probably record it in the U.K. with my band. SANDSTONE is there, from Ireland — I'd probably do it with those guys, 'cause they already know almost the whole both records. But that's the only reason I would do it, so those songs could be bought again." He also lamented the fact that the current version of PRIEST has never performed any songs from his time with the group.