Owens Plays Agora With Malmsteen

"I've never been so busy in my life," says Tim "Ripper" Owens, on the phone from Texas, where he's warming up for his first U.S. tour since his controversial split with Iced Earth late last year.

Owens is juggling three bands these days. He's now on tour with guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen. Owens sings on Malmsteen's new record, Perpetual Flame, which matches operatic vocals with classically influenced shredding. The tour hits the Agora Ballroom (5000 Euclid Ave.) at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 18. Tickets: $25.

Fans can expect three or four new songs - likely "Red Devil," "Death Dealer" and an instrumental. But the bulk of the set will be old Malmsteen favorites, like "I Am a Viking" and "You Don't Remember."

"He's out of this world," says Owens. "I've worked with some great players, but Yngwie - he can play absolutely anything."

Between appearances with Malmsteen, the former Judas Priest frontman has been recording his solo debut in Los Angeles. Due later this year or early next, the album features a parade of A-list metal players, including bassist Billy Sheehan (ex-Mr. Big, the classic David Lee Roth band), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot), Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) and many other veterans.

Bob Kulick (Kiss, WASP) and Chris Caffrey (TSO, Savatage) co-wrote material with Owens. The Akron singer didn't forget his old friends: John Comprix, his Beyond Fear bandmate, plays rhythm guitar and co-wrote some material. Mike Callahan (Disengage, Earshot) also contributed.

"[The solo record] was my management and label's decision," explains Owens. "I think they want to show I can do this on my own. If anything, it proves that Beyond Fear is a band, and this is my solo record."

Owens' as-yet-untitled power-metal/hard-rock record will likely push the release of the second Beyond Fear disc back to mid-2009. Owens says the delay will only help the power/speed-metal project. "[The extra time] will make the songs better," he says. "It will take all the good from the first record and build on it."

¥ Artist-designer-rock promoter Derek Hess and Please God Save Us From Your Followers co-author Kent Smith will sign their controversial, politically themed illustrated book over the next few weeks. On Thursday, October 16, they'll appear at Kent's North Water Street Gallery (257 N. Water St.) from 7 to 9 p.m. They'll be at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (24519 Cedar Rd., Legacy Village, Lyndhurst) from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, October 28.

¥ Guitarist Vic Flick will appear at the Rock Hall's (1100 Rock and Roll Blvd.) Songwriters to Soundmen interview/Q&A series Wednesday, October 15. Flick has performed with Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Dusty Springfield and others. The free event starts at 7 p.m.; e-mail or call 216.515.8426 for tickets.

¥ Comedian Jim Florentine (Crank Yankers) hosts Rock. Laugh. Rescue., a benefit for suicide prevention, at Peabody's (2083 E. 21st St.) Monday, October 20th. The River City Rebels will perform after Florentine, Ryan Dalton and Joe Howard. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets: $20-$30. ¥ Flowers in Flames play a free CD release show at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 18, at Akron's Square Records (824 Highland Sq.). Todd Tobias (ex-Guided by Voices) mixed the group's self-titled album. Says frontman Dave Chavez: "We have taken an '80s post-foundation and given it a bloody cutting edge for today's audience. The CD is stark, glam, gothic and glamorous."

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