Ripper Watch

Updates on Tim “Ripper” Owens, the always-working, blue-collar metal hero from the Rubber City:

Owens plays yet another acoustic duo show tomorrow at Akron’s Tap House. US Metal guitarist Scott Jones will back him through a set of songs from his various bands and choice covers. Set starts 9:30 p.m., no cover charge, all ages. It may be your last chance to see him live this spring.

One of the most improbable reunions in the history of heavy metal may derail spring shows for Hail, the internationally touring, all-star metal cover band featuring Owens, Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser, Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and bassist David Ellefson.

Ellefson was the longtime wingman to Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, but the relationship ended in multi-million dollar lawsuit. Now Ellefson has rejoined the band, which is on the road celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band’s signature album, 1990’s Rust in Peace. Owens says Ellefson is still in Hail, but won’t be playing Hail shows while he’s with Megadeth. Hail has gigs scheduled for March and April; so does Megadeth.

“It puts a wrench in things,” says Owens, adding, “we’re not sure for now” whether the shows will go on. Says the singer, it’s not simply a matter of finding someone who can play headbanger favorites from Motorhead to Metallica. “It’s a matter of whether the promoter wants it. They [want] a name-all-star metal band. We could fill the position, but not with a name nobody knows. We talked to some people, like Frank Bello [from Anthrax and Helmet]. And anybody’s who’s a name is busy.”

The band recently participated in a photo shoot (see clip above). Owens says the Hail members are just as surprised as the rest of the metal world.

“I gotta be honest,” says Owens. “I’m over the moon that he’s back in Megadeth. I think it’s a great thing for Megadeth, for Ellefson, and for Mustaine. Everybody’s happy for David. It’s just bad timing.”

One of Owens’ other projects, Charred Walls of the Damned, has an album out now on California label Metal Blade. Owens backs drummer Ian Christe, formerly of Iced Earth/Death renown, who traded speed metal for a gig as one of Howard Stern’s sidekicks. The album is top-shelf technical power-metal. Check out the first single, “Ghost Town”

If Hail go on hold, Owens says he’ll spend March and April recording the first half of the second Beyond Fear record. The singer says the band of Clevelanders have 10 tracks ready.

“When I’m home, I like to say busy with music,” says Owens. “Music’s my work and my job.” —D.X. Ferris

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