Former ACCEPT frontman David Reece says that he was high on the list of candidates when JUDAS PRIEST was looking for a new vocalist to fill the massive shoes of Rob Halford in the early 1990s.
“I was in Tennessee, and I hadn’t fully retired yet, ’cause I had obligations before I decided to retire,” Reece recalled in a new interview with “Waste Some Time With Jason Green” (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “I’m on the phone with [PRIEST co-manager] Jayne Andrews every two days. I’m in contention with Ralf Scheepers and Tim Owens. It came down to, like, three or four guys, and I was one of those guys. And in those days, I had done SIRCLE OF SILENCE and some really heavy, intense, SABBATH-y kind of stuff, and Glenn Tipton [PRIEST guitarist] went, ‘That guy’s got it. Let’s get him over to England.’ It never came into fruition, but I was still the guy people were thinking about.”
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 after being discovered when the band’s drummer, Scott Travis, was given a videotape of him performing with the PRIEST cover act BRITISH STEEL. He recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997’s “Jugulator” and 2001’s “Demolition” — before PRIEST reunited with Halford in 2003.
Nearly a decade ago, Scheepers confirmed to Metal Kaoz that he was also being considered as a possible replacement for Halford. “The truth is that I was on the singers list for JUDAS PRIEST, but, as you all know, Tim Owens [got the gig] and it was a great decision for the band since he is a great singer,” Ralf said. “In the end, we were all happy since, after all, PRIMAL FEAR started then in 1997. I was never invited to rehearse with PRIEST — that [would have been] the next step — and the name of Tim came out of the blue, so they chose him. But you know, that’s life and I am also happy since I wouldn’t be for long with JUDAS PRIEST since Halford has returned, right?”
Original JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing discussed the band’s vocalist search in a 2019 interview with Noizz Eater. He said at the time: “Ralf Scheepers from PRIMAL FEAR, he was one consideration, ’cause he’s great. But I think everybody thought that having somebody new was a better option, and, obviously, Tim was a great singer — still is. But it was very difficult to find somebody to replace Rob, as you can imagine.”
Reece was recruited for ACCEPT‘s “Eat The Heat” album in 1989 following the departure of Udo Dirkschneider. Reece‘s higher-pitched delivery was in sharp contrast to Dirkschneider‘s distinctive style, and overall, the LP was a critical and commercial disappointment. Midway through the “Eat The Heat” tour, differences between the band and Reece had come to a head, leading to the altercation between the singer and bassist Peter Baltes in Chicago. By the end of 1989, ACCEPT had hung it up.
Reece has also played with BONFIRE and BANGALORE CHOIR.