The time Tim Owens performed with Judas Priest for the first time!

The time Tim Owens performed with Judas Priest for the first time!

January 30th, 1998

The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA

Here’s a little history about how Owens got the Judas Priest gig….

By the start of 1996, Judas Priest had received of a thousand audition tapes from various vocalists including former Accept singer David Reece. Another candidate was Gamma Ray singer Ralf Scheepers. Despite his ambitions to front a new version of Priest, Scheepers was reluctant about the band’s decision to continue with a new singer.

Combing through the rest of the audition tapes, the band and their management spent hours trying to find a singer that could equal or better Halford’s prowess while not necessarily looking the same. Scott Travis happened to be given a videotape by his then girlfriend of a Judas Priest tribute band called British Steel, fronted by a young, bulky mid-Westerner named Timothy Owens, filmed at a small club in 1995. The fans who shot the video purportedly told Owens after the gig that they would get the tape to Priest because they knew Travis. Owens shrugged it off as a nice but implausible gesture.

Having already seen British Steel play live in his home state, Travis was reluctant to watch the video at first, because Judas Priest were not looking for a Halford-type character but an original singer with a more modern approach.

However, Travis gave in to the persistence of his girlfriend.

The drummer was sufficiently knocked out by how good Owens was and immediately contacted the rest of the band.

Travis took the tape with him to England in February, 1996 and showed it to Tipton, Downing and Hill, who were at Rockfield Studios poring over the hundreds of audition tapes they had received.

Tim Owens: “It was almost like a year later, they’d given the tape to Scott. He was going back to England to work on some stuff and, you know, they were gonna look at some singers and he happened to bring that tape with him, so it was pretty cool.”

Like Travis, the other band members could not believe how good Owens was. “We were totally amazed,” Downing told Metal Edge in ’96. “This guy had every quality and more of a young, strong Rob Halford … He’s as good as if not better than Rob Halford.” Priest’s management immediately contacted Owens to validate who he was and to ask him if he had an up-to-date passport. “First they called and said Judas Priest is wanting to get hold of you,” Owens recollected. “So then Jayne Andrews called me from Priest management – their co-ordinator or whatever her title is. She said, ‘We’d like to have a meeting with you.’ I thought, ‘Wow! This is pretty amazing, man.’

Owens was flown to England in February, 1996 for a live audition, just two days after the band saw the tape. A new phase in Judas Priest’s career was about to begin…

Did you know… With Judas Priest, he was nominated once for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1999, with the song “Bullet Train” from the album Jugulator, but lost to Metallica’s “Better than You”.

Fast forward to January 30th, 1998 and here he is performing with Priest for the first time. And the rest is Heavy Metal history!!!


  1. Electric Eye
  2. Metal Gods
  3. Grinder
  4. Blood Stained(live debut)
  5. The Sentinel
  6. A Touch of Evil
  7. Burn in Hell(live debut)
  8. The Ripper
  9. Bullet Train(live debut)
  10. Beyond the Realms of Death
  11. Metal Meltdown
  12. Night Crawler
  13. Victim of Changes
  14. Breaking the Law
  15. The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)(Fleetwood Mac cover)
  16. Painkiller
  17. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
  18. Hell Bent for Leather
  19. Living After Midnight

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