Former Judas Priest frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens contributed vocals to the upcoming Iced Earth album, The Glorious Burden, as a guest singer only and has not yet made up his mind as to whether he will join the band permanently.
Speaking to Canada's BW&BK, Iced Earth mainman Jon Schaffer clarified Owens' status in the group.
"Tim was hired to do the vocals for the record only," he said. "Two days after we finished, he lost his gig with Priest. Obviously this changes things and maybe he will be the new guy someday in the future, but right now he needs some time to figure out what he's going to do."
"There will come a time when I will decide to look for a permanent singer in the near future, if Tim can't commit. I hired Tim to do this record knowing that he had the ability to do the parts that I'd written and that was the extent of it. I would love to have Tim as the new frontman in Iced Earth, but he's got to want it or it's no good for anyone involved. He's going through a big change in his life and I will give him some time to figure out what he wants for his future career, but obviously we can't wait forever."
"Either way, Iced Earth will carry on in the same tradition as always. I feel great and am very, very optimistic for the band's future, no matter who ends up in the vocal position. I will find the right guy and maybe it is Tim. Time will tell. This record has brought about a new beginning for the band and fate will take its course!"
In an interview with Cleveland's The Beacon Journal last month, Tim indicated that since Judas Priest's last tour ended in the fall, he has been working on solo demos and has just completed vocal tracks with a well-known musician he declined to name (presumably referring to Schaffer). Owens described his upcoming original work as Godsmack-meets-Pantera-meets-Priest.
Iced Earth's The Glorious Burden, with Tim Owens on vocals, is scheduled to be released through SPV Records in the fall.