SINGER TIM “RIPPER” OWENS SAYS THAT TODAY “WE DON’T HAVE ROCK STARS LIKE WE DID BEFORE”
In a recent interview with Big Music Geek, former Judas Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens spoke about how he has been able to adapt to the access-over-ownership business model of streaming music.
He said (via blabbermouth.net), “It’s just not the same. We don’t have the rock stars like we did before and that’s really because everyone just streams music. Plus, you also have things like YouTube and you have social media. You just didn’t have that in the ’80s and even in the ’90s. In the ’80s, you wouldn’t even hear a new song until it was debuted on the radio. You’d hear that Judas Priest Locked In [from Turbo, 1986] was being debuted, so you would tape-record it. You would go to the record store when the record came out and you would get it. Now they’re playing snippets of the new songs on social media, which is cool, but…
“When I was young, you went out and bought a magazine and you read the article, you took out the poster or you cut out the pictures and put them up on your wall,” he continued. “Or you’d sit up and wait to watch [MTV’s] Headbangers Ball and watch the videos. That’s all you had. Now everyone they just goes and look at pictures on the Internet. All of that’s gone. And it’s not that this era is bad. In fact, I think it’s fantastic. I just feel bad because they’ve lost all of that. Back then, you had to sneak around to find out when a tour bus was coming so you could maybe watch or see where their hotels were. Now, the fans expect the musicians to come out to them. They’re, like, ‘Hey, shouldn’t you guys be out meeting your fans?’ But that’s what made rock stars rock stars back then. They didn’t hang out at the bar with their fans all the time because they were rock stars. It’s just so different, ya know? We couldn’t wait until that record release day so we could go get it. And you still have that on social media.
“I buy all my music on iTunes, but I don’t stream anything because one million streams gets an artist three cents,” he explained. “I buy all my music on iTunes, and I probably buy 75 more, just because when I’m at the gym or driving on tour, I go, ‘Oh man, I’d love to get that new Foreigner record’, ya know? They still have release days and you can still go get it, but it doesn’t have the same sense of excitement of going the record store to get it. You know what’s funny? This year is the first year that physical vinyl has outsold CDs… Vinyl is truly going to outsell the CD. How crazy is that?”
Owens recently completed work on the debut album from KK’S Priest, his new collaboration with founding Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing and ex-Priest drummer Les Binks. The band, which pays homage to Downing’s past, is rounded out by guitarist A.J. Mills (Hostile) and bassist Tony Newton (Voodoo Six). Read more about KK’S Priest by clicking here.
Just like “Video killed the radio star”, “Internet killed the rock star”. There is no mystique anymore cuz of social media, in addition to “meet and greets”. It’s like one of Lemmy’s quotes “If you want to be a rock star, then be one. People don’t want to see the guy next door on stage, they want to see a guy from another planet”. Well, musicians’ access to their fans via social media and, to a lesser degree, “meet and greets” has turned musicians into “the guy next door”. Fans have a lot of access to these musicians and it’s killed their mystique.
I remember waiting in long lines for concert tickets to get the best tickets and getting to the venue early to “tailgate” in the parking lot. I remember my great anticipation to read the next issue of Sounds and Kerrang magazines. I remember bands having “record release listening event” parties. I remember Tower Records opening its stores at midnight so droves of fans outside could buy the newest Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, or other artists’ newest album. All that extra effort just inspired me to worship these musicians as the “rock stars” they were…..
Tasker, I 100% agree with you “Those were the days”. I remember those same experiences of getting a new album. I, too, treasure my vinyl collection and I have many rare, high valued items in my collection. But their monetary value will never be greater than their sentimental value.
This year, 2020, is the 40 year anniversary of some landmark albums from our great era of yesteryear…..Iron Maiden’s first album, Priest’s British Steel, Blizzard of Oz, Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell, Saxon’s Denim and Leather, AC/DC’s Back in Black, Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, Diamond Head’s White Album, Angel Witch’s first album, etc…the list is endless! This weekend, I pulled out one of my old Guitar Player magazines from April 1980. It was the very first Guitar Player magazine that featured Eddie Van Halen on the cover. Just a great interview with Eddie Van Halen who still influences guitar players to this day……who rose to “guitar god” status during our great music era…..
I do miss watching Headbangers Ball late at night, and I also miss going to the record store. Records then had a continuity that made you want to listen to each song in the order that they are on the record.