Archive for August, 2012

The following interview was made over the phone on October 31 1992 back when I had a Deep Purple club going in Sweden. It was published in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 6 and later in SLICE (GLOBAL EDITION 2008 – the only magazine that I ever created in English). Fresh out of Deep Purple, Joe Lynn Turner was not a happy man at the time of this chat, but it is good fun to go back to it now 20 years later if you like history. MIKE

 This split came as a huge surprise Joe. The last thing that I heard was that you were in Orlando, Florida, jamming on new material and trying out producers for the upcoming Deep Purple album. I didn´t expect this at all.

– You are not alone. At this point I don´t understand this myself. I don´t know why they fired me. We were recording in a studio in Woodstock when this happened.

So you were actually recording the followup to “Slaves And Masters”?

– Yes, we had been at it for a while and some of the songs were completed. I really wanted us to do the best album in a long time and I thought that we were getting there since some of the songs were so good. But to reach that goal you need to give everything that you´ve got and I´m sad to say that some of the guys in the band was very lazy. Jon Lord has not come up with an original idea in 10 years and that is just pathetic. It was a drag to get them to work, to get them to focus on the project. If I thought that an idea wasn´t up to scratch I would say so. I thought that I had the right to do that since I was after all a member of the band. Hell, I had done an album and a world tour with them. But it started to feel like an audition and that was just ridiculous. I think that the main problem in the studio was that they didn´t exactly know what they wanted to do. Ask the producer, Thom Panunzio, it was hell for him to keep it together. The last obstacle was that Ritchie said that he wanted to re-record everything. He said “The vocals sounds great but we need to get the band to sound better”. I opposed this and said “Look, it would be stupid to begin from scratch again, I think it sounds great and if we need to re-record something we can do that later”. I just wanted them to get on with it.

So Ritchie said that he was pleased with the vocals but not with the rest?

– That is what he said to me and this is one of the reasons why I have a hard time to understand this. The last time I saw Ritchie we spent an evening together just chatting about the band and the future. We sat there for 4 hours and he repeatedly said to me how glad he was that I was in the band. The next day I went home to meet my daughter and that is when the phone rang. It was our manager Bruce Payne and he told me that I was out. I couldn´t understand it but he didn´t give me any reasons. So I went back to Woodstock to pick up my things and by accident I runned into Roger Glover. I said “I hope that you know what you are doing because the only thing that can save you now is getting Ian Gillan back into the band again”.

Do you know when all this took place?

– This was around August 17 or 18. But that is what happened so I´m sure that you can understand that this is hard for me to get to terms with. And since Ritchie is the leader of the band, all the talk that Deep Purple is a democracy is pure bullshit, I have to assume that he was in on the decision. I think that he acted like a coward, letting the manager do it for him. If they felt that they had a problem with me in the studio, why not just say it, point out the problem. Maybe that could have helped. Now I can only assume what they were thinking. Maybe I was just too eager in the studio? I know that they didn´t like that very much. I presented a couple of songs to them that was written by a guy from Survivor. These songs sounded 100% Deep Purple. The others barely wanted to listen to it. I also believe that Roger Glover got annoyed at me, whether he wants to admit this or not now, for suggesting that the band should work with an outside producer. The band had not done this since the seventies. Bringing in Thom was partially my idea. I think that Roger may have felt that he was now reduced to just playing bass. But you know, to reach the kind of success that Aerosmith have now you need to be able to focus pretty hard on what you are doing. You need to see reality for what it is. Deep Purple didn´t want to do that. They seem to believe that they can record anything at all and the world will still fall to its knees and worship them. Those days are over. The world has changed and nobody wants to see that. Roger used to say “When we quit we are going to do it with a bang” but I don´t believe that they can anymore, I really don´t. We had an opportunity to build on the reputation with a strong second record but that didn´t happen.

What about the situation within the band? What did they talk about? Did they see the 25th anniversary as a possible last album and tour?

– No, that was not the thinking at all. It was just another record. I never heard them discussing to quit the band.

And you never heard Ritchie talk about a reunion of Rainbow?

– No, never. To start with, I really don´t think that Ritchie knows what he wants to do. If he wants to do Rainbow again he can forget about me, I can tell you that much. I´ve had enough of him. FY FAN (Joe swears in swedish!). He is not a very nice person. I have heard through a mutual friend that he actually likes me. So this person, who is upset about how badly this was handled, said “Why don´t you get Joe on the phone and tell him that you like him then?”, but I guess he just can´t bring himself to do that. I think it is disgusting and I don´t want to work with these people any more.

So if Ian Gillan says no and they call you back…

– Deep Purple can go to hell. They don´t know what the hell they are doing and I actually feel sorry for them more than anything. I´ve had enough.

What have you heard about what they are up to since then?

– Originally, I heard that they wanted to get Ian Gillan back again. I find that hard to believe, I don´t think that he would be very interested in getting back with them. If he did he would be a —– and that would surprise me. The last thing that I heard is that they have been rehearsing with an unknown from Connecticut, somebody a lot younger. That sounds so idiotic to me. I don´t know what they intend to do but I do know that the business people are very upset about the situation. I think the band is under a lot of pressure right now. But for their sake I hope that they get a good album out there and that the audience will like it, but I really can´t see much light at the end of the tunnel.

Tell me about the rehearsals for the “Slaves And Masters” tour. Were they open for suggestions to pick out classic stuff from the back catalouge that had not been played for a while, or was it like I suspect, that they just didn´t want to know?

– Sadly you are right on the money. I know that this must be painful for a guy like yourself, that have backed up the band so much, but the band is disconnected to the songs that they recorded in the seventies. They don´t remember it anymore and it´s too much like hard work to listen to it again, let alone to rehearse it. They don´t remember a lot of it anymore and they don´t want to rehearse any of it again. I wanted them to do “Pictures Of Home” but they couldn´t bother themselves to play it. I said “Come on, I was a big fan myself back then and I think I know what people would like to hear again”, but they just ignored my suggestions.

So they basically don´t like to work anymore?

– No, they lack the motivation. Nobody plays on their spare time for instance. Take Ian Paice, he is probably the guy in the band that is the easiest to get along with, and I like him, but he doesn´t enjoy to rehearse, to work. And with that attitude you really can´t compete with todays music scene. There are many great musicians out there. They think that they can rest on the legend, that everything will take care of itself. I don´t think that that is a healthy attitude to have. It´s removed from reality.

Did you record any of the shows for a possible live record?

– I think that we recorded a show in Singapore. But I really don´t know if this is ever going to be released.

What about any existing material that we may be unaware of? We know about “Fire Ice And Dynamite” and “Slow Down Sister”, and Jon Lord has mentioned a song called “A Very Fast One” that supposedly exists?

– “A Very Fast One”? I don´t know what that could be. It might be a fast one that we recorded that is called “Heart Like A Hurricane”.

Can you mention any titles from the final sessions?

– Yes, but I don´t know what is going to be used now. I actually don´t even care if they use any of my ideas or not. We had a blues song called “Bad Business”. I wrote the lyrics to that one with Roger. We had a song called “Put Your Money Were Your Mouth Is” that reminds me of “Burn”. It is possible that Deep Purple may use some of this stuff in the future, but I feel that I have the right to use it as well. We have to wait and see what will happen with this stuff.

I heard from photographer Michael Johansson that you spent some time with Yngwie Malmsteen earlier this week. Is it true that you are joining up with him again?

– I´ve tested the waters, helped him out with a few ideas. But I´ve not joined his band again and I don´t think that I will. He can be a little difficult. He is nicer than Ritchie, but…

Personally, I would rather see you finally make it on your own, with your own band. Something that you can control and take to were you want it to be. That´s what I would like to see.

– Thanks, that´s exactly what I would like to do next. I´ve done some work with a few famous musicians now and that´s were my heart is. I may be able to tell you more about this project next time you call me.

I want to tell you something now Joe. The Deep Purple club I have took a poll recently about your version of Deep Purple. This was done when you were working with them on the second album. I just want you to know that 89% of the members said that this version of the band should carry on for as long as you wanted it to.

– Wow! 89%! It would be nice if the band heard about that! That was really nice to hear. I mean, I know full well that we worked against the odds. I knew that we had to win a lot of people over into consider themselves fans again.

Exactly, and a bands reputation isn´t easy to cement. I have to admit to you Joe that I belonged to the sceptics when I originally heard that you had joined the band, but I had to accept the fact that “Slaves And Masters” is a very nice Deep Purple record. One of these records that invites itself to be played over and over. So I started to believe in the band again so I was really looking forward to the second album. I thought that you had established a new foundation for the band to grow from and my hope was that the second album could move the bands reputation another notch upwards on that scale. Therefore I am disappointed in their behaviour. But nobody can take what you did with Deep Purple away from you, you are part of the history now, and at least I hope that this will help you out in the future in a small way when you go out on your own.

– Thank you for those kind words, it is nice to hear a guy like yourself say so. I´m so disappointed in all this myself, that Ritchie could say “The vocals sounds good but we need to change the rest” one day only to fire the singer the next day. It is hard to see the logic in that. I was kind of hoping that I could shock them into wanting to work hard again but I couldn´t. You know, Mötley Crue and Tom Petty visited us in the studio. They are fans and they came up to me and said “You sound great Joe, but the band…”. That was my feeling as well so I really tried to inject some fire into it. Instead, the producer could hardly get anybody to join him in the studio when something was supposed to be done. My goal when we started was to make a better album than “Slaves And Masters”, I don´t really know what they wanted. I don´t think they knew.

Michael Eriksson (Copyrights)

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

Photographer Michael Johansson took the cover shot of SLICE (GLOBAL EDITION 2008) – Ritchie Blackmore in Purple back in 1987.


War comics interviews

Posted: August 27, 2012 in Comics, Commando - Interviews

I used to run a site called Where Eagles Dare about classic war comics (especially British, like Commando, War Picture Library etc) and it hosted thousands of covers and loads of information. I could never muster up enough enthusiasm for the material to see the light of day again here but Steve Holland over at the excellent Bear Alley blog are posting some classic interviews over at his place as of today (with more to come). I have sent stuff over and he can present it in any way he sees fit. I am just glad that somebody wants to save the material and prolong its life online. Today Bear Alley posted two interviews, one with former Commando editor in chief George Low and one with his finnish partner in crime, Korkeajännity´s editor Aska Alanen. These were the first I made back in 2004. Where Eagles Dare ended this summer. Some of these interviews were printed in my publications over the years here in Sweden.

(Above: copy of Finlands Korkeajännitys)

If you saw the Destination Truth episode “Alien Invaders/Swedish Lake Monster” (season 5, episode 4) on the SyFy channel recently, you saw what was probably the first real attempt to cast some light on Swedens own lake monster, Storsjöodjuret (The Great Lake Monster).

It just so happens that I live by this very lake myself (lake Storsjön – The Great Lake), and it also just happens to be a fact that I´m a witness myself. Yep, I saw a large animal in the water back in 1977, twice within 40 minutes in the same location (a harbor at Frösön, an island in the lake). This happened on August 10 1977 when I was 16. The first sighting was a quick one, from two blocks above the harbor. I witnessed the back of an animal rise in the water, about the size and shape of a Volkswagen. When I got down there (on my bike) it was gone, but I saw three other witnesses who were clearly in shock of what they had just seen down there. 40 minutes later, as I went down to the harbor a second time I saw it again, this time swimming past the harbor. I could follow it at close range (10 meters or so) for some 300 meters. It was three meters long above the surface, in two parts. First a small part, then some water and then a bigger part (clearly the back of this animal). It had dark skin like that of a whale. It swam straight forward, no sign of any moving to the sides or up and down. Like so many other witnesses before and after this event, I had the classic “like a boat turned upsidedown” sighting that day.

I was not alone. Two girls my age was there, a boat came towards us (the animal dived then) and they started to circle around so clearly they had seen the animal as well. In fact, there could be any number of witnesses, I was far to busy looking at this thing at the time to pay much notice on the area around me. But we are talking about a place with lots of buildings, with balconies facing the waterfront.

When I had my sighting(s), I already knew the legend was based on truth and that there really was something big in this lake. Elderly cousins (religious and really decent folks) had told me years before that they had seen it. OK then, I knew that they would never lie. Then there was the never ending line of witness reports in the local media, and the long history (first written account was penciled by vicar Mogens Pedersen in 1635, but we have a runestone from the Viking era showing a dragons head here as well, the only one of its kind in Sweden). Hard to miss even for a kid.

I have talked to a large number of witnesses over the years and I started to print witness reports and history in my RETROFUTURE magazine in 2010. This lead to witnesses contacting me and my interest to dig deeper mounted. This summer, I published a 60 page magazine titled “Storsjöodjuret” with loads of information. And a brand new theory based on reports from witnesses.

So what is it? I´m not sure but my theory is that we are talking about some type of decendant from the plesiosaurs. What I saw myself could be explained by this type of animal, but more importantly, we have witnesses who have seen more than I did that swears that they have seen plesiosaur looking animals in the water. These are not crackpots but highly respectable people like a former headmaster of a university and a former journalist. Both retired, they know what they saw and they have gone public. The latter through my recent publication (not sure if that went down well to local newspaper ÖP, which he was part of at the time of his sighting!).

Lake Storsjön was part of the sea 9.000 years ago, a fact that resembles other lakes elsewhere which hosts similar mysteries.

Science now believes that plesiosaurs were warm blooded and that they could regulate their body temperatures. New science is coming in all the time that completely turns everything scientists thought they knew as we speak and this is very interesting.

Whatever this animal turns out to be, it must have a long history. It probably stayed here when the ice melted and the landmass rose. The Great Lake is huge, it has a lot of fish and for an animal this size there are no natural enemies. Clearly, we have something here that has managed to survive. A species that can sustain a population large enough not to get extinct.

Today I mention this part of my life for the first time here on the blog, and I also create a brand new category for the subject so that future reports can be easily located if you have an interest in the subject.

I saw this animal, whatever it may be, back in 1977. Nothing will ever change that. It could have been easier to have shut up about it but that is not really my style. One day the mystery will be solved and all the witnesses will be vindicated. And those who doubted will know that they sometimes behaved rather badly, like bullies in a schoolyard.

Meanwhile, the mystery lives on.

Got a nice package in the mail today from my japanese friend Mariko Yamaguchi and found a copy of the Tommy Bolin tribute issue from Young Guitar Magazine, The Guitar Man inside. Feeling good, feeling happy – this takes me right back to my youth and the bliss that it was back then to be a huge fan of Deep Purple. Best days of my life (sort of). You see, music can really make the soul happy and Deep Purple made me a happy guy back then. They were also the coolest guys that ever walked the earth.

The japs know a thing or two about creating magazines. This issue is incredible. I don´t understand the language but I can still see that the amount of information is unbelievable. This is 156 pages of bliss.

I have counted the images (not including of albums, guitars and such) and it stops at around 90, most of them taken (I guess) in Japan on the Purple trek there back in 1975. In any case, it´s mindboggingly great. There´s even a live shot of Tommy with a twin guitar neck, which I´ve never seen him use before.

It says something about the staying power of  The Purps that magazines like this can still find an audience all these years later. I mean, Tommy Bolin was only well known to the rock world since joining Deep Purple and he only did one album with them and one world tour. Still, he inspires today.

He was a great talent that will always have a special place in my heart.

I also love Japan, seems like a lovely place.


The following interview with artist Ian Kennedy was made in september-october 2004. I sent a series of questions over to George Low (editor in chief of Commando in the UK) and he printed them out and gave them to Ian on one of their weekly meetings. Ian then took time out to write his answers down on paper, which was handed over to George, who then e-mailed me the complete interview having taken out the time required himself to get this done. This wonderful attitude towards the fans of their collective body of work is something that I wish to give a big thumbs up – I think you will all agree that this positive behaviour can only be in place because these people are genuinly goodhearted folks and that the passion that has been present for this artform for decades is something that is still very much alive. The interview was published in my publication SLICE 2005 which sported (with kind permission!) a classic Kennedy Commando artwork on the cover. Enjoy. MIKE

You were a young boy during the second world war and I understand that you had several airfields nearby. What type of aircraft could you see and did you ever see any airbattles from the ground.

– For an aeroplane mad youngster like myself, there was always one type of aircraft or other to be seen in the skies over the East of Scotland during World War 2-Spitfires, Hurricanes, Lysanders, Hudsons, Mosquitoes, Harvards, Fireflies, Walrus etc. As for air battles, nothing took place in the area. The Luftwaffe obviously didn’t think us important enough!

Could you comprehend how serious the whole thing was or did you have a more innocent outlook on it at the time?

– At the age of ten, I had no conception of how serious the situation really was.

You were drawing by then, can I assume that your schoolbooks was full of aeroplanes and the like?

– I loved drawing from a very early age and, of course, aircraft featured greatly… but not in my school books. Try that in those days and the teacher would come down on you like a ton of bricks.

Can you remember one or two comics that you were reading as a lad?

– I read them all, starting with the Dandy and the Beano, going on to the likes of The Wizard, Rover, Adventure etc. The Champion became a firm favourite.

Do you still have drawings from your early childhood tucked away in the basement?

– I am afraid not. They did not seem all that important at the time.

After school your career took off fairly quickly it would seem. But all artists struggle to make ends meet, so I wonder how long your time in the wilderness (so to speak) was in your opinion?

– As you say, my career took off quickly. On leaving school, I immediatly entered the art department of DC Thomson & Co Ltd, Dundee, learning my tade surrounded by some of the most competent artists it has been my pleasure and privilige to know. No wilderness there!

I know that you were drawing western adventures etc, but then the war comics scene came along. Can you recall just how this happened in Britain at the time?

– Not really. I think the war comics were just an evolutionary step along the way from the previous adventure publications.

Did your workload increase at this time or was it just the genre that changed?

– Any increase in my workload was probably down to growth in demand and my ability to cope due to more experience.

Your covers and your comics must have been on display in the local newsstands all the time, that must have been a boost in itself?

– Yes, it was a lot of fun but job satisfaction was always more important.

I understand that you love aeroplanes and I wonder if you enjoy the last models of today as much as the classic types of yesterday? 

– Aeroplanes will always be of interest to me, but certain types, both vintage and modern, take centre stage.

Speaking of aeroplanes, how involved were you in the Battler Britton series, and how do you look back on those works today?

– I really cannot recall the extent of my involvement in Battler Britton, so find it difficult to come to any conclusions so many years later. I can only hope that the readers were happy with the results.

Do you keep track on how many covers that you have had in print over the years and have you got a personal collection of them around the house?

– It is very difficult to keep track of all the covers, but I do have a fair collection.

Tiger McTaggart is another classic, I have seen the fantastic album published by Korkeajännitys in Finland in 2003, what can you tell us about that series?

– Sorry, I am unaware of its existence.

It seems to have been drawn for a bigger format than the classic Commando sized magazines?

– Sorry, I am unaware of its existence.

Has there been similar prints like the finnish album of your work in the UK?

– Not to my knowledge.

If somebody came up to you and offered you a book in which you and your career in art could be presented in detail, would you be keen to do it?

– Such a project would be extremely difficult; to carry out simply due to my notoriously bad recall of the sort of detail which would be essential.

Have you ever thought about publishing something yourself on your career and on the business that you know so well?

– It has never occurred to me that my career would be so interesting to others.

How many covers do you still produce for Commando annually?

– My output last year amounted to about 20 covers. I think this is about average.

We are fortunate to have been granted to use the original artwork for Commando issue 3747, “Owl Patrol”, as the cover art for this annual issue of SLICE. To me that art is like a photograph, only more beautiful because of the amazing use of colours. How long would a work like this take?

– Thank you for the favourable comment. This particular cover probably took about two to three days to complete.

Can you describe in your own words how this artwork came about, from the size of it to what type of pens, brushes and colours that you have used.

– The idea and layout would be finalised by editor and artist, then painted using sable brushes and acrylic colours. The finished original measures 280mm x 270mm.

I know that you are a perfectionist but of course time is a factor. How is your own verdict on this particular work when you look back on it now?

– This is one of the very few pieces of work I can look back on, feeling pretty well satisfied with the result.

Commando editor George Low has described you as a local talent. Do you actually drop by the office with your new art? What has it meant to you to have had this publishing house so close to your home?

– I visit Commando fairly regularly to discuss or deliver work. While not necessarily the highlight of my week, it is always an enjoyable occasion.

You must have known George since the early sixties. How do you look back on your long collaboration with Commando now and how long do you think it will go on?

– As you say, Commando and I go back quite a long way and I can honestly say that my association with previous editors Charlie Checkley, Ian Forbes … and now George … has been of continuing interest and enjoyment. Long may it last!

Have you considered to sell autographed prints through a personal homepage?

– I am afraid that it has never crossed my mind. I have been too busy elsewhere.

Have you ever been to Sweden and would you like to say something to your admirers here?

– I am sorry to say that I have never visited Sweden, although I did work for Fantomen some years back. It is good to know that I have some fans out there and you can be certain that I intend as far as possible to continue drawing for your enjoyment … and mine!

Michael Eriksson (Copyrights)

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

This is one of the best interviews from my most active years and it was made in Stockholm back in 1986. I recall having 20 minutes with Glenn Tipton after the show at the actual venue. Since this interview was printed in several editions of Metal Hammer in Europe (may 1987 in the UK – same look as the Dutch version seen here above) I have opted for the easy way out in just giving you that article straight as it was printed. At this point in time, I was starting to sell articles to magazines abroad. Enjoy. MIKE

Ten albums and 13 years of hard work is a lot in any bands career, and not many reach it with a line up of people who the audince has known for years and years. Judas Priest, a band that has been around for a while now, have seen it all. They practically starved during the Seventies – K.K Downing insists they never made any money until around 1980 – they kept the hard rock flag flying high and never craved too much about the more lucrative single-charts. With each album, they actually built up such a strong following that they now can sit back and take a long hard look at their situation; Is it time to settle down, spend some money building up a life outside the band. (I think the text is edited some here). The 1986 “Turbo” album took the band into a new direction, and many claim they actually set a new standard of their kind of music. They knew it could all backfire in their faces and die a death, but the confidence was strong and when I met guitarist Glenn Tipton towards the end of their recent giant world tour (“The Fuel For Life Tour”), he was still full of enthusiasm. But then, he could afford to smile as he has seen Judas Priest finally and once and for all, really cracking the US market wide open. This interview took place after the show in Stockholms Isstadion (in Sweden ofcourse) in a small room in the backstage area, and Glenn openly discussed things like the upcoming live album and life after Judas Priest, if they were ever to break up. So here we go folks!

On your last couple of albums you have used a producer (Tom Allom), is he a permanent fixture now?

– Yeah, he is. We´ve used Tom since the last live album (“Unleashed In The East”, 1979) and we´ve already recorded, I think, nearly eight tracks for the next studio album.

The “Turbo” album has got a fantastic sound. Everybody seems to really like it. You´ve made a major breakthrough here.

– I think you´re right. Actually, we talked quite extensively about it, and then we recorded 18 tracks for a double album, which we wanted “Turbo” to be at the time. Then we picked nine tracks that we thought were a bit different, sat down and rearranged them and really tried to capture a slightly different feel. We wanted a change, but not too much of a change either, we just wanted to do something different. But, of course, when you do that you have to expect a bit of apprehension from people, which we got. But I guess “Turbo” is eventually turning out to be our most successful album to date, so we can ignore them anyway. Also, in retrospect, everybody has come back to us and said that they had been a bit sceptical at first, but now they realise it´s really the way to go. We are proud of the fact that some people look at Judas Priest as frontrunners, really!

The upcoming live album then, do you have any information on this right now?

– Yes, it will be a double album, and it will hopefully be released in may. We are recording gigs everywhere right now, with a few more to be added in Europe and Japan. It´ll be basically a live album, but it will also include songs, Judas Priest songs, the audience have never heard before, because we felt we wanted to give the kids something else, something they haven´t already bought. There will be at least two, three or maybe even four tracks they´ve never heard before.

Are those tracks from the “Turbo” sessions?

– Yeah, but on the US Tour we threw a new song into the set almost every night. Ofcourse, you can´t do too many new songs every night as they´ve never heard it.

Your latest American tour was your most successful ever? Am I right?

– Yes, we are fortunate because as a band we´ve always been on the up, always getting more successful. Sadly, I´ve seen a lot of bands hit that sort of peak and then eventually start supporting again, you know, which we will never do. We always put a lot of thought into the way that we are going to go, and we always change. Each album has got a new sound or direction, and as individuals we change as well, and I think that is what gives us the longetivity as a band. We do think about it a lot, becase if you don´t, people will get fed up with you. Like if every Judas Priest album sounded the same. Then the people would say “Well we bought the last one…”.

Maybe that´s what happened with “Defenders Of The Faith”? Some people considered that one to be too much of a “Screaming For Vengeance Part II”.

– To a certain point I think you are right, yeah.

In studying Judas Priest, one eventually ends up thinking that you are the motor behind this group, am I right?

– (Laughs) Well, I couldn´t really put it like that to the press! I have a lot to do with the writing, and also the production, but it would be wrong of me to say that I´m the most important member of the band, because everybody is important the way I see it. Somebody asked me the other day what I thought about Bad Company reforming, and I said “Is that right, well is Paul Rodgers in the band?” and they said no. I´ll tell you what I think of it, it would be like Judas Priest reforming one day without Rob Halford. So I do believe that everybody has got a key-role in this band, although writing-wise I do have a lot to say.

How do you survive the boring routines of mega-tours and recording after all these years? It must be kind of hard if you have a family…

– Well, we are all in our mid-thirties now, but we actually enjoy performing onstage more than ever, and you can see that. You can´t conceil from the fans falseness. If you´re not enjoying yourself, you can´t really look as if you are. The hardest part is to travel, and to be away from your family. I´m a married man and I´ve got two children, and you have to do sacrifices. But this is what I want to do, and it is what I will continue doing until Judas Priest finishes, which, at the moment, I can´t see that yet. It could be three years or five years, who knows? We still have a lot more to say, a lot mor to give. As long as the kids like what we do, it´s okay by me. There´s a lot of young kids in the audince now, so I can see us being around for quite some time to come. But I do love my family so it´s a big sacrifice.

Do you still live in England?

– I live in England and in Spain. I´m building a house in Spain. I jump between the two. The tax situation does that to you. It used to be less of a problem, because we were out on the road somewhere anyway. Now we can play less, and to more people doing bigger venues in America, so that gives us more time, so I have to live in two places.

So why did you pick up the guitar to play Judas Priest Music to begin with? Did you see bands like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath or what?

– I was actually in a band called The Flying Hat Band, and we toured Europe opening shows for Deep Purple around 1974. Glenn Hughes was in the band then anyway. It was a rock´n´roll band with me, Carl Parlmers brother Steve Palmer, and an old friend of mine called Mars Cowley, who used to play with Pat Travers. A three-piece band, and I was the single guitarist, which I can never quite believe (laughs), and we toured with Deep Purple. It was a scary experience at the time. Shortly after that, we got management problems over in England, and Judas Priest asked me to join. And that was before the first Judas Priest album. We were a bit lost in the studio when we did our first album, but when we recorded “Sad Wings Of Destiny” I think we really started to get off as a triumvirate.

So you are a real heavy rock fan?

– Oh yes, definitely. I used to go out and see bands play. I started out myself rather late you see, I was 18. Most kids start when they are about 10 or 11 and they live that life ever since. I never took a lesson until I was 20, and I´m glad I had those years living the life of a normal person. I don´t consider that time wasted.

So what do you think of the reformed Deep Purple then?

– Well, I haven´t seen them play, but the album “Perfect Strangers” sounds quite representative for Deep Purple. They were always one of my favourite bands anyway. I always considered this version of Purple as the only true Deep Purple. This was the first lineup that first captured all that energy, and of course they did things like “Smoke On The Water”. I´m not a big believer in bands reforming, but as I said, I haven´t seen them play yet, so I can´t give you a genuine opinion.

Have you ever considered doing a solo album?

– When we finish, I probably will. I´m sure if you ask Ken and Rob the same thing, they might say that too, then again, maybe not. I write a lot of stuff, and some of it I don´t even present to Judas Priest. But having said that, my first love is to play Judas Priest music.

What could we expect on a Glenn Tipton album?

– It would be more melodic, I guess. But then, you never know. It really depends on what I want to do at the moment, and I don´t believe in pre meditating what I´m gonna do. At the moment, I´ve no intention of doing a solo album. Until the moment I know Judas Priest is over, I wouldn´t even bother. But then, and not out of boredom, but because as a person who is very energetic and likes to do things, I´ll probably move on doing something. Maybe a solo album, maybe another band project.

Would you actually consider leaving the band if you saw that it was in any way losing ground?

– If it was going downhill, yes, but I can assure you that myself, Rob, Ken, Ian and Dave, if we ever found out that we weren´t giving a good performance, before we reach that point, we´ll know. You will never see Judas Priest go out on a low. When we go out we want to go out in glory. We´re proud of the fact that a lot of younger bands have looked upon us, and when the time comes we want to be able to say “Okay, that´s it, thank you for everything”. We want to leave with the best album and the best tour, but we are talking about the future.

Yeah, right, and I guess you have to be deaf and blind not to see that this outfit is going to be around for years to come, burning rock´n´roll fuel of the most excellent kind.

Michael Eriksson

(This interview may not be quoted without permission)

Seen here are the two covers for the double issue of RETROFUTURE (6) that I am currently working on for next year. It marks a very special occation for me since this will eventually be the 100th publication that I have created since 1978. I am creating a category for this issue here on Trinkelbonker so that you will be able to follow the progress of the work process. It means a lot to me to reach this landmark number and I will make it a memorable one if I can.

First, it will be a double issue – two magazines in one. 100 pages. The printers can only deliver 60 page magazines so this is the option I have if I want to present a thicker publication, and this being the 100th that is what I want to do. The solution is a standard 60 page issue with wild west heroine (and brand new novel character Tornado Blaze) on the cover, adding a 40 page special with Deep Purple MK4 cover to go. The latter will feature a complete index of all the publications from the DEEP PURPLE MAGAZINE days (1978-1983) until today.

It has been a long journey and since I know that the end is coming (I think 101 issues will be it, we shall see) I really want to present it in a nice way for collectors to see. The index will have loads of information on the magazines.

Seen here is the first spread of the index part and that image of Ian Gillan was taken back in 1993 by my friend photographer Michael Johansson.

Here are four selected covers from these years…



What you see is DEEP PURPLE MAGAZINE issue 15, DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 8, LUCY IN THE SKY issue 2 and LE (LEKTYRENTUSIASTEN, published 2008). It has been a fantastic hobby to make these and I have met so many interesting people on the way, many whom became good friends. The cover images for DPF 8 and LE were taken by Michael Johansson (Deep Purple live in Germany 1993 and Tarja Turunen in 2007). DPM 15 sports an image of David Coverdale shot by Göran Holmquist 1977 in Copenhagen, LITS 2 has Xena art by Patricia Parker. The issue Tarja is showing is SLICE 2006. I have given her three covers over the years.

My current RETROFUTURE period will be known one day as the final years and at least I think the title is a very good one to go out with, the last few issues has been pretty strong. But times are changing and underground media is hard to sustain. At least I can say that I am ending it with some grace.

I might even throw a party when this is published next year, an idea has sort of presented itself. But more on that if it happens.

A comic book with wild west heroine Montana Blue is going out first, so it is early days. However, this is what I am currently busy working on and now you know.