Vocalist candidates selected - the
DISCLAIMER: Non of the singers listed
here have ever been revealed nor confirmed by Judas Priest or Trinifold
Management to have made their short-list. These following stories were
personally shared by the candidates themselves...
"We never told anyone who was on the original short list
- not even the people who were on it!! We don't intend to give out the
names at this stage either!
"I verbally told a few people that when we came
to making a short list they would be on it, but we never officially made any
dates for auditions or whatever or made an 'official' short list - we knew which
people we thought would be possibles, but still the band were not convinced that
they had their 'man' - that's why we didn't hold any auditions - great singers
but just not quite right for Judas Priest..."
- Jayne Andrews, Management Co-ordinator, August 15 and September 2, 2003
"We do have some people in mind.
We're especially looking for someone with a unique, strong character, who can
of course sing the old stuff. But almost more importantly, we're taking a look
at who we can get along with - someone we'll feel comfortable around when
we're on the bus during a long tour. We don't want any reoccurrences of what
has happened in the past. Since we're not under any pressures, financial or
otherwise, we're able to take our time and make sure that everything is right.
It's like a breath of fresh air, being able to work this way. We're starting a
new chapter of Judas Priest, and we're all so positive about it. The energy
we've built up is tremendous, and I think the fans are going to love the new
- Glenn Tipton,
Memoirs of an Invisible Man, 1996
"There were a lot of good singers
who would have been willing to join the band, but then it would have been the
amalgamation of two bands and we always wanted it to remain uniquely Judas
- K.K. Downing,
BayInsider, July 2004
"I remember Glenn said in
interview, when asked if there were any famous singers hunting for Rob's
place, 'I'm not saying any names, but Bon Jovi wasn't one of them'."
- Fan report
When Rob Halford shocked the metal community
by announcing his departure from Judas Priest, many aspiring vocalists of all
types, known and unknown, male and female, talented and untalented - thousands from
around the world, applied for the coveted throne of the Metal God. By 1994, the list had
been narrowed to 30 good possibles and writing of a new album was under way. A
audition was planned early in the year, but work on Glenn's solo album caused it
to never take place.
"Due to various other commitments the band have,
including Glenn Tipton working on his solo album, we have had to put the
auditions off until later on in the year..."
- Jayne Andrews, Management Co-ordinator for Judas Priest, February 4,
the end of 1995, the list
was narrowed down again to what Glenn Tipton referred to as a "short-list"
of 5-10 finalists and letters were sent informing the remaining candidates
of their status.
In 1996, Century Media released the album
Legends Of Metal, A Tribute To Judas Priest Volume 1. Glenn Tipton has also
claimed this to be the best tribute album made to Priest, and he even considered
several of the album's vocalists as possible candidates.
Here now are the candidates and their stories, though neither
Priest nor their management will confirm these:
(ex-Tyran Pace, ex-Gamma
Arguably the best choice to fill Rob Halford's shoes
might have been Ralf Scheepers, formerly of Gamma Ray, now in Primal Fear. He
has a look somewhat like Rob's from the Painkiller era and he can hit the high
notes almost identical to Rob. But as history reveals, it was by last
minute chance that Tim Owens was discovered, and he fit the bill for what Judas
Priest were looking for in their second coming. Here are the thoughts and quotes
of Ralf Scheepers and Glenn Tipton concerning Ralf's application to the band:
never had auditions for Judas Priest. I had promises in my bag in which their
management said I would be invited. It never ever happened. Glenn Tipton was
doing his solo stuff and I had to keep waiting and they said I was one of the
top-of-the-list guys. All these promises that I was going to be invited and
one beautiful day a letter came in which said that they found their man, Tim
Owens. They did say my vocal abilities stood out, but I mean, I couldn't do
anything with that! It was a big disappointment...
"I don't like Priest's new style so much. Of
course Priest always had aggression going on, but to me it isn't progression
because this kind of thing was done by Pantera. I didn't like the new album so
much, so I'm very happy to be with Primal Fear."
- Ralf Scheepers, Lamentations Of The Flame Weekly #4, 1999
"I knew for one year already that Rob
Halford left Judas Priest, but I didn't do an application, so far as I never
thought they would ever take me. But then Edgar, my former bandmate from Tyran
Pace called me up and gave me the phone number for the personal manager of
Priest, Mrs. Jayne Andrews. She said that I should send some material, so
I did, sending three albums of Gamma Ray and the live video from Japan [Heading
For The East]. After one month, a letter came in saying that the band
like the way I am singing so they put me on the short list... Oh my God - what
a long short list!!! After several promises like, 'I promise you right now
that you are definitely going to be invited to do an audition', it never
happened!!! I didn't even have contact to one of the band members - nothing.
Just waiting... Rehearsing Judas Priest songs with some friends of my
hometown... Waiting... Singing Priest songs two-and-a-half hours every other
day...Waiting... Getting promises... Waiting for Glenn Tipton's solo album...
Promises... Waiting... This whole process was taking two-and-a-half years of
my precious time as I couldn't join another band (and there were many offers),
but what should you do if you're waiting for an audition for one of the top
heavy metal bands in the world? You cant just team up with some hungry
musicians to create a new band...
Then another letter came in:
I am very sorry to have to inform you that we will
not be holding any auditions for the position of vocalist for Judas Priest as
the band have found their man. We had always intended to audition as I told you,
but this singer came totally out of the blue and is everything the band were
looking for, so they do not feel the need to try anyone else out. The band send
their apologies and thank you for being so patient. They know it's no consolation,
but they would like you to know that out of the thousands of applicants we received,
your vocal abilities stood out and you were amongst the final ten who they felt
had something special. Once again, we are very sorry about this, but wish you
luck for the future.
"WOW!!! What a hammer of
disappointment!!!! I had no more Gamma Ray, I had no Judas Priest , I had
nothing... Just sitting in a black hole of disappointment!!!"
- Ralf Scheepers, Steel Eagle Online
"Well, at the time when myself and Gamma Ray parted company, I still had my
application for the job of the new vocalist in Judas Priest running. I prepared
myself intensively for a possible date to audition. Together with some of my
friends from the Esslingen area, I rehearsed a set of almost two hours that only
consisted of Judas Priest songs. We formed the Judas Priest cover band 'Just
Priest' , and we also played a few local gigs from time to time. In the end I
made it into a selection of the top five vocalist for the job in Judas Priest,
but then it didn’t work ultimately. As a guest musician I did some vocals for
the power metal band Scanner, for the solo album of Roland Grapow and also for
the Gamma Ray 1996 contribution on A
Tribute to Judas Priest: Legends of Metal - Volume II...
Priest was actually the basic step on the way to the formation of Primal Fear.
We had this one particular gig with Just Priest one day. Unfortunately
however, our guitarist was getting married that some day. As I didn’t know yet
what was going to happen with the job of the new singer with Judas Priest, I
absolutely didn’t want to cancel that gig. So I phoned Tom Naumann, the
guitarist from Sinner and asked him if he was off and if he would like to help
out and play the gig with us. As soon as he had said that he was going to help
out, also our bass player said that he wouldn’t want to play the gig because he
was the best friend of our guitarist, and so didn’t want to miss the marriage.
His replacement was none other than Mat Sinner himself. Mat was very
enthusiastic after our show that he asked me if I would like to sing the choirs
on his new album Judgment Days he was working on at that time. During that
collaboration the idea and also the wish came up to carry on and work together
in the future as well. And so Primal Fear was born..."
- Ralf Scheepers,
Out Of The
Black Hole, 1997
"What actually happened, and I honestly say Ralf Scheepers is a great
singer - he’s very, very good, but we had over a thousand applicants. When
we put the word out, knowns, unknowns, famous guys, un-famous guys, people from
every corner of the earth responded. We cut that down to a short list of thirty
guys. Phenomenal, every one of them. Twenty-five to thirty guys, all fantastic
singers. We were to be ready to go in March, and in February, Scott Travis came
over, the drummer, and he threw a video on the table and said, 'Check this guy
out.' So we put the video in, and I’ve never been so shocked in my life. We knew
this guy was special, this guy we were looking at, which was Tim Owens. So we
finally called him up, and he said, 'Is this for real?' He said, 'Fly me over to
England and I’ll sing any Priest song you want.' So we did. We flew him over two
days later. He came in on Saturday morning, and he was tired, jet legged, so I
told him to get some sleep. Everyone knows this story, I think, and he said, 'Do
you really think I can sleep waiting to do a Priest audition?' So we said,
'Alright. We get your point. There’s the mic. Show us what you can do.' He just
went at it. He sang the first verse of 'Victim Of Changes', and we stopped the
tape. I looked at K.K. and K.K. looked at me, and we knew that without any
shadow of a doubt, we had our man. It was the most unbelievable experience for
us, and you know what we’ve been through in our time. We knew we had our man.
And he said, 'Can I finish the song?' We said, 'Yeah.' He sung the rest, and
then he sung 'The Ripper'. And that was just so phenomenal, we started calling
him 'Ripper' Owens, you know. That’s where he got the nickname from. It was
incredible. But the most incredible thing was, we went down to the pub after,
and we all sat around, and it was like he had been with us all our lives. That
was the thing that really sealed it for us. We didn’t ever want to be without a
singer again, so we wanted to find someone not only with incredible vocal
ability, but also someone who felt like he had always been with us. We felt like
we got the man in one fell swoop, and it was a strange sensation because Priest
has never really had any luck. We’ve always had to make our own, and this was
our piece of luck, finding this guy. No one else on the planet could be more
appropriate. When you hear the new album, I think you'll agree."
- Glenn Tipton, Heavy Metal at the Mining Company, October 3, 1997
Rumors made the rounds that Ralf was not chosen because he was
German, but that accusation was unfounded:
never entered in our minds. I mean, when we were looking for a vocalist,
there’s all kinds of people that cropped up: People from Rumania, people from
Greece, Czechoslovakia, Germany. We never thought, Oh, no, he’s no good; he’s
from Rumania, or whatever. We just listened and thought, Can he cut the
mustard with us?"
- Ian Hill,
Prime-Choice, January 21, 1998
D.C. Cooper (Royal Hunt,
"I had achieved some recognition in Europe because I
was one of the final vocalists for the Judas Priest lead singer job."
Ram.org, January 13, 1998
"I was one of the final four. As a matter of fact,
none of the four singers got the job either.
"Actually how it all took place... At the time, my
management company was CMI, out of New York City. I was up there
shopping around my local band from Pittsburgh; that's when I was still just
green around the gills. But I had been working in the business for a couple of
years with local stuff. And we had a pretty good album we were out there
shopping around. And Hernando Courtright was the one who pulled me aside and
said, 'Have you ever thought about shopping yourself around?' And I said, 'No,
not really. Why? What did you have in mind?' He was the manager of Tom Allom,
Judas Priest's producer for quite a few years. And he said, 'Well, Judas Priest
is looking for a new singer, what do you think about that?' 'Yeah. Ok.', and I
sent some stuff off. And that's how stuff got started. And through the process,
because it had taken like two years from the time I sent in the first tapes and
photos until I received the phone call for the audition, well after about a year
I started getting phone calls. My name started popping up, where people had been
hearing that I was becoming a ranking person for the replacement of Halford. And
that started an industry buzz, 'Hey, a singer from Pittsburgh's available'. And
then I was contacted by several different bands from around the world. There was
one from Finland, one from Germany... and then I got this tape from Royal Hunt
from Copenhagen. And that's who I decided to go with - to check out.
"...I had studied and worked on my
voice for so long to be able to sing like Geoff Tate and Rob Halford. I really,
really worked hard, and there was no room for it in the U.S. anymore. And that's
why I started checking things out Internationally.
"...I mean, I was already in Royal Hunt, and I probably would've
stayed in Royal Hunt even if offered the position with Judas Priest. But it was
the highlight of my career to get to go audition and walk into a room with K.K.
Downing and Glenn Tipton. It was just absolutely amazing. Scott Travis was
drumming at the time."
- D.C. Cooper,
Souls Of Chaos
Tim Lachman (Gargoyle, State Of
The Art, and Eleventh Hour)
Tim meets his hero
backstage in 2001
Tim is the brother of Halford's former guitarist Patrick Lachman.
"I got a call in the
mid '90s from my good friend Swiss Cris of Rock Hard, informing me that Priest was looking for a new front man. I
was jamming around Los Angeles at the time in different projects, keeping busy,
etc. I sent a package to their manager, Jayne Andrews. A few weeks later she
called and said, 'I work with Judas Priest, can I ask you a question - Do you
have a lot of Tattoos?'
I was thrown, but told her, 'Only one, slightly visible.' She told me that was
good, as she had received numerous press kits w/ guys who had gone out and
copied Rob's tats exactly, and even tried to look exactly like him. We had a
good laugh about that one!
"Anyway, she informed me they had narrowed their search, and I was definitely in
the running, so stand-by in the next few weeks.
A couple of weeks later I get a call:
'Is Tim There?' 'This is Tim'. 'Tim, this is Glenn Tipton with Judas Priest, and I'm
here in LA, are you busy today?'
Long Pause............I'm thinking is this a joke? 'Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, no I'm
not busy!' He says. 'Good, I'm here in ______ studio, with a
friend of yours, Ken Van Drutten (Kid Rock, Kiss, et al). I guess you know where
'Yeah, I'll be down in an hour?' He says, 'Cool!'
"I'm in shock, especially after realizing I sound like
Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, Beavis on the damn phone...
I'm flying down to this studio around 150 mph, head spinning and thinking this
is fate. My friend Ken is working with Glenn on his solo project. (Ken,
consequently engineered my band State of the Art's demo, that I had sent to
Jayne Andrews). Ken is chatting with Glenn about me and pumping me up to him.
"I arrive at the studio, and Glenn is sitting at the recording console. He walks
up, smiles and says, 'Nice to meet you!' Very cordial, very down to earth.
He played me some stuff, and we talked about the Rob situation and the future of
Priest, my career, and his goals. I had to ask, 'What happened with Rob?' Glenn says very simply:
'His manager.' That is the only reason Rob Halford is no longer in Judas
Priest. 'Nuff said.
We hung out most of the day, and then we wrapped it up. He said, 'You have one
of the best voices I have heard, and it's basically between you and two other
dudes. We will fly you out to the UK soon, we'll hang out and Jam.'
In parting, I say (very cocky), 'Listen: Glenn, I don't want to be a Rob clone. I
have my own style, and when you guys hear me sing with you- I Will Be Your
"I still haven't learned to keep my big mouth shut! Oh well.
He nods and says, 'Good, we don't want another Rob. We want someone with their
own vibe, that we can be on a tour bus with, and is confident, but no crazy
"I'm driving home and Ken calls me on the cell and says Glenn was excited, and
was talking with the other producer that was there also, about our meeting.
I'm nutted up thinking privately, 'I fucking got it! I'm in!' I start getting
calls from people saying, 'Dude, congrats! We hear you're the new singer of
Judas Priest!' I'm like, 'What did you hear?' 'Some guy named Tim'...
"A couple of industry people told me K.K. and Ian wanted me, and Glenn was
undecided, but who knows? A few weeks later I got the same form letter the other
dudes got saying Judas Priest has found their man, they're calling off the
auditions, blah, blah, blah,..
That was a bizarre feeling but that's the Biz! Hurry up and wait, then see
ya...close call. It was a cool opportunity none the less!
"Years later, Swiss Cris hooks up my brother Patrick with Halford! One night,
about a year and a half ago, I'm having dinner with Pat, Rob, and the Halford
band. Definitely one of the Highlights of my life!
Anyway, Pat says to Rob, 'Tim almost sang for Judas Priest'
Rob looks at me and says, 'Isn't that fucking weird?'
Indeed! It is always nerve-racking to hang out with one of your idols. You
sometimes are disappointed, but in this case I was on a high. Whenever I see
Rob, or speak to him on the phone (when he calls for my brother, he always chats
for a few, and asks how my projects are) - he is a class act, a true gentleman.
The Metal God!
Well, shortly after that, a mutual friend of mine and George Clooney, informs me
George is producing a movie called Rock Star. It is loosely based on the story
of the kid who got the Priest Gig!
You gotta love that!!"
- Tim Lachman, 2003
David Reece (Dare Force, Beowulf, Lillian X,
Accept, Bangalore Choir, Sircle Of Silence)
sounded good, but you have to understand that it’s really hard being a
replacement, coming in after someone else,”
- David Reese,
Classic Rock Revisited
"I remember reading on the internet
that David Reese said on stage that he was the
new singer in Priest and showed some people a contract that said something like
he wasn't allowed to sign with a record company and/or join a signed band for
- Fan Report
Anthony (Tony) O' Hara (Praying
Tony is best known as the singer for Praying Mantis, which also includes
former Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton.
was very late in applying for the Priest gig as I'd heard rumors that Ralph
Scheepers had it sewn up. However, in January 1994 I noticed in
Kerrang! that a few more names were being bandied about - one of them being a
friend of mine, Tony Mills. I knew it was very late in the day but I sent a
package to Trinifold and two days later received a phone call from Jayne
Andrews. Jayne said that the band were really excited having heard my tapes and
even more so that I was relatively unknown. Would I be available to come to
Birmingham for a week with the band as I was now top of the shortlist? I
obviously said, 'Yes' and Jayne was to phone me the following day. I was
actually shaking in disbelief when I hung up the phone.
Next day - no phone call.
Day after - no phone call. I telephone Jayne at home and she tells me that
something had come up and Glenn would be working on his solo album but I was
definitely going to have an audition. I told her, 'Anytime, anyplace, at the
band's convenience - I'll be ready'. Okay, I'm a bit disappointed but at least
I will get my chance to prove myself. Then a letter arrived:
February 4th, 1994
re: JUDAS PRIEST
Due to various other commitments the band have, including Glenn Tipton working
on his solo album, we have had to put the auditions off until later on in the
year. As soon as we arrange a definite time, I will let you know and hope you'll
be able to make it.
for JUDAS PRIEST
"I had to phone Jayne every few weeks to try and get an
update on the situation. She assured me that the auditions would be soon and I
one of the favorites. At the time I was spending 2-3 hours a day hammering out
Priest vocals and had my voice at its very best. By November I was almost ready
to burst with anger and frustration when I received a letter telling me to be
ready for my audition in South Wales in early January - I will be the first.
Whoo-Hoo!!!! Finally!!!! I didn't phone Jayne over the Christmas period but
thought I would ring in early New Year... No need. In early January I received this:
re: JUDAS PRIEST
I am very sorry to have to inform you that we will not be holding any auditions
for the position of vocalist for Judas Priest as the band have
found their man. We had always intended to audition as I told you, but this
singer came totally out of the blue and is everything the band were looking for,
so they do not feel the need to try anyone else out. The band send their
apologies and thank you for being so patient. They know its no
consolation, but they would like you to know that out of thousands of applicants
we received, your vocal abilities stood out and you were amongst
the final ten who they felt had something special. Once again, we are very sorry
about this, but wish you luck for the future.
for JUDAS PRIEST
P.S. You should be very proud of your achievement. Please keep this letter for
your future references.
"GUTTED!!!!! I later joined Praying Mantis and the first album I recorded with them was
produced by Chris Tsangarides (Painkiller). He's a brilliant guy and I
'learned' a lot from him!
"I went to see Judas Priest with Ripper in Wolverhampton. I cheekily paged Jayne
Andrews from the box office to see if I could have a couple of passes for my
wife and I. (After all, I felt that wouldn't be unreasonable after the Judas
Priest roller coaster ride I had been on.) Jayne appeared and after reminding
her who I was, she managed to produce two tickets for the show. No passes, as a lot
of the band's families were there that night.
Ripper was outstanding. Vocally he's one of the best metal singers I've seen
live. I spoke to Jayne after the show and said that they definitely
had the right guy. She was very kind and spent 5-10 minutes talking with my wife
"My final opinion: I still wish that I would have been given my chance. The
management could have handled things much better. However, in all honesty I
don't think I could have bettered Tim Owens and I can understand why, when the
band heard him, they hired him immediately. I am still a huge Priest fan-old and
- Tony O' Hara, 2003
"The song 'Over The Edge' from the Horakane album
Eternal Infinity is
very Priesty. Funnily enough, that was on the first demo that I gave Tino and it
didn't sound too dissimilar; it sounded pretty much the same. But for example, we
were talking about arrangements and how Ivan helped - you know where the vocal
comes in and the track stops - well it used to just pound all the way through.
He said, 'Look, because it is such a heavy vocal why don't we just stop
everything there and have it like question and answer with the guitar?' And you
hear it right away which I quite like but it does sound very Rob Halford. But
that song was written really, really, quick because when I first meet Ivan a
couple of years back, he said, 'Can you send me some stuff?' And when he got it
he said, 'Oh, I didn't realize how light-weight it was. Some of it reminds me of
Winger. Can you send me something heavier?' I went upstairs, and it was at the
time I was still in the running for the auditions for Judas Priest, and I sort
of knocked that track out and I thought I want something to be very Priesty. I
was trying to think of something like 'Freewheel Burning' or some thing like
that. So that was deliberate - it was supposed to sound Priestish."
- Tony O' Hara, April 2, 1999
Tony Mills (Shy,
Tony O'Hara (above) says he remembers Tony Mills' name appearing
in Kerrang! as a candidate for Priest and Tony's name was also mentioned in a 1993 Swedish
magazine (Bravo or OKEJ) News section and then never again, so it's doubtful he
made the short-list.
The talented singer/guitarist that heads Strapping Young Lad and his own self-named band had sang on a Judas Priest
tribute album that Glenn Tipton helped sanction. Liking the voice he heard,
Glenn added Devin to his short-list to audition, but sources say Devin turned
the offer down due to the fact that he was much younger then the rest of the
band (by a 30 year gap) and because he was a well-rounded guitarist, which would
not fit into a band already made legendary with their "twin-guitar attack".
"Gosh, this is my whole viewpoint on the whole
thing, and as much as this is makes me sound like a dick, I don't really care too
much about it. I mean, they gave me a call and said, 'Hey, we know about you, blah
blah blah, we want to fly you out so you can audition', right? My biggest thing
is, when I was a kid, we're talking about ten or thirteen years old or whatever,
I mean, Judas Priest was my favourite band at the time, and you know,
Unleashed In The East I thought
was amazing and blah blah blah and K.K. Downing had cool hair and the whole
"When I got a chance to start
doing it, it's like, I think, any artist likes to hear themselves playing
songs they really liked when they were a kid, and so I kept on doing all these
Priest covers... No-one would want to see Devin Townsend singing for Judas
Priest, I mean its ridiculous. Whoever gets that gig is going to look like a
fool, you know what I mean? Ripper Owens or whatever the guy's name is, I
mean, I wish him luck and I'm sure he's a good singer but... God, I don't know
if Judas Priest are like, prepared to take over the youth of today with a new
metal onslaught; their demographic is going to be based around people from 25
to 40 years old you know, and they're not gonna give a shit about some kid
coming in and singing, and I wouldn't
go into Judas Priest trying to be Rob Halford. I'd
go in there doing what I do and it would look ridiculous, you know. I also
figure, it's like the whole... I'd have way more respect for those guys as
musicians if they...
much as I thought Fight sucked,
at least Rob Halford was doing
something that was not sort of trodding on the same horse, you know. It sort of
struck me as at least he was trying to be something different. And
the whole idea of Motley Crüe coming back together and Kiss, although I went and
saw the concert and it was pretty good...it sort of strikes me as sort of being
more of a cash grab than a legitimate 'they've got something to say'..."
- Devin Townson, 3RRR FM Hard Report, April 1997
"The synth guitar tone approach on
the album INFINITY all happened because I listened to Judas Priest a
bit too much when I was a kid, when they were making little synthy guitar tracks..."
Beat Magazine February 10, 1999
"Devin was a strong contender although he wouldn't have dealt with some of
the older stuff too well. He has a great voice and lots of enthusiasm."
- Glenn Tipton,
Matthew T. McCourt (Wild Dogs, Dr. Mastermind, Evil Genius, Mayhem, The
In 1993, Matt used the Wild Dogs demo containing "The Vulture" and "Rank And
File" to audition for Judas Priest on a referral from drummer Deen Castronovo
(Ozzy, Bad English, Journey). Priest sent the tapes back along with a frameable
"I really did make a good stab at joining Judas Priest, although the vocal
range is way out of my league. They even sent all my stuff back - tapes,
photos, etc. - very nice. They said they weren't going to continue with the
band. Then they found Ripper - he's great! He performed after the Judas Priest
concert here in Portland with a Priest tribute band, called British Steel. Jay
Reynolds of Malice plays for them. I think he is fucking awesome! I also like
Rob and Fight. Actually, I go way back with Priest and saw them for the first
time when they were third on a bill with Mahogany Rush as headliners."
- Matthew T. McCourt, Snakepit #7, 2000
Sebastian Bach (Skid Row)
"Judas Priest wanted me to try out, but I didn't find out about it until after
Doc McGhee, my manager at the time, told them no. He told them that there was
no way I could try out for them, and then he told me that. They
asked Doc and he killed it before I even knew about it. I didn't even know
about any of it. He said, 'I told them no'. I was like, 'Thanks...'
That was that. That was like '96 I think... I was finally kicked out of Skid
Row in December '96. It was like right around that time.
would've tried out, yeah. I definitely would've. It's one of my favorite bands
and Skid Row was doing nothing so... Yeah.
All I know is that I would've definitely tried out. I would've gotten on the
plane and gone over there. Actually, Priest's manager, Bill Curbishley,
called my house after I found out about this, about Doc telling them no. I
said to Doc, 'Give me the guy's number'. So I called him up and he said, 'Well
yeah, at one point the band really wanted to talk to you and have you try out
for the band, but Doc said no'. So they got the Ripper guy in there and so
that was that. That's all I can say about that."
- Sebastian Bach,
Racer X, Badlands,
Jeff Martin never auditioned for the
spot in Priest, but he did find out through friends that he was considered by
the band as a possibility. Jeff has been close to the band in the past and
he has a very good Halford-like voice. Jeff is also an accomplished drummer,
having recorded and toured with Badlands and MSG among others.
Jeff's first band, the early-mid '80s Phoenix, Arizona metal
outfit Surgical Steel, cut a demo tape that featured Rob Halford singing duet
with Jeff on the song "Smooth And Fast". Jeff also contributed vocals to the chorus of
"Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days" and wrote a verse to "Private Property" on the
album. Rob also gave Jeff's band Racer X (which includes Judas Priest drummer
Scott Travis) his blessing to record the unreleased Priest song
"Heart Of A Lion".
Badlands, Lynch Mob)
It is unclear whether or not John ever applied for the job in
Judas Priest, but he did apply to Iron Maiden and was searching for a good metal
band to record and tour with. Eventually, he did get recognized by Glenn Tipton,
who considered John's voice for the work Glenn was doing with drummer Cozy
Powell. There was even a Japanese deal in the works to put together a band
featuring Tipton, Powell, West and bassist Neil Murray (see the story
here), but it never
materialized once Priest returned to power.
"I along with the band listened to everyone of the
tapes that were sent in and I also wrote to everyone of the applicants!! No-one
was invited to any audition - we never set up any - we always planned to but the
band still were not convinced they had found the right guy - some great
vocalists but not for Judas Priest - until we heard Ripper - then we knew he was
the one, so no auditions were needed!"
- Jayne Andrews, Management Co-ordinator, August 18, 2003
"There sure as hell was
a point where we felt we might not find a suitable vocalist. What if he had the ideal voice but he
We can’t just get someone who looks great either, so we were sweating."
- K.K. Downing, Illiterature.com, 1997
(Deadly Blessing, Faith factor)
Ski has been said to possess a mixture of King Diamond,
Michael Sweet (Stryper), and Dan Beehler (Exciter) in his vocal abilities. He
applied for the vocalist spot in Priest twice, sending pictures, recordings and
videos when they first began looking for candidates to audition and once again
after Glenn Tipton had released his solo album BAPTIZM OF FIRE. Both times Ski
only received the standard "Thanks, but no thanks" letter...
The following names have also been mentioned in various
publications as being candidates:
Warrel Dane of Nevermore
Andy Pyke of Marshall Law
Matthew Barlow of Iced Earth
Ray Alder of Fates Warning
Chuck Billy of Testament
Panos Deddes of Casus Belli
David DeFreis of Virgin Steele
King Diamond of Merciful Fate
Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian
Rolf Kasparak of Running Wild
Please feel free to
with more names, quotes and info
and I'll make the updates!