Tim "Ripper" Owens

Throughout heavy metal's history, there have been few times where a fan was lucky enough to land a spot with their favorite band due to a vacancy, such as Jason Newsted joining Metallica, and Tim "Ripper" Owens signing on with Judas Priest. Hailing from Akron, OH, Owens grew up a major metal fan -- fronting a Judas Priest cover band (called British Steel) and getting his nickname, Ripper, from the title of his favorite Priest song. Owens also fronted other local groups as well (including Brainicide, U.S. Metal, Winters Bane, and Seattle), as he developed a multi-octave vocal range, just like his hero, Rob Halford. It was during this time that Owens and Winters Bane guitarist Lou St. Paul penned a concept album together, Heart of a Killer, which told the story of a murderer who gets a heart transplant from the same judge who sentenced him to the death penalty. Recorded in Germany over a period of only two weeks, the album was originally issued on a small independent record label in Germany as well.

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