Joe Lynn Turner Interviews (1994-1995)

Posted: September 9, 2013 in Classic Rock - Interviews, Deep Purple Family


These two chats with Joe Lynn Turner are the fourth and fifth to be presented on this blog from my DEEP PURPLE FOREVER days. I think it is good to have these interviews available to the public – more of them will come, spanning almost a decade of in depth interviews and general chats. Enjoy!

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April 1 1994. Joe talks about the Ray Gillen Tribute concert in New York, Mother´s Army, Rainbow Moon, Deep Purple (with Joe Satriani), Black Sabbath (with Bobby Rondinelli) and adds his thoughts to some of the rumours that were doing the rounds at the time. This interview was originally printed in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 9.

The last thing that I have seen in the press is a live review with your band in Kerrang recently in which you got a positive nod. It was a piece about the Ray Gillen Tribute concert that took place in New York on February 9. Did you know Ray at all?

– Yes, I knew him, but it really was an awful night. Cold and smelly. The city had terrible weather and that caused a lot of problems. Some of the artists that should have been there couldn´t make it and so on. About 200 people braved the weather and came along for the show. I heard a rumour that Roger Glover and Colin Hart (Purples tour manager) was going to show up, but they never did.

Trapeze played a set, what did you think about them?

– I thought that they could have been better. The money should have gone to an aids foundation but I doubt that it amounted to much. Money was spent on getting guys over from England and so on. I think it could have been handled better. But there were some good bands there, like Enough Is Enough and Trixter, but we stole the show. No doubt about it.

There has been talk about Mother´s Army going to China, any news regarding that?

– I will probably go to Japan this summer with Mother´s Army and I want to bring my own band over and tour Asia with them. We know that the money will cover the expenses. We are talking about doing a few shows at the Hard Rock Café in Bankok and places like that.

Have you been in touch with Ritchie?

No, it has been a while now. The last thing that I heard was that he is auditioning people in Long Island and that he wants to call his new band Rainbow Moon. I heard this from people who were at the scene three days ago. His new band will be called Rainbow Moon.

There has been rumours of a linkup between David Coverdale and Ritchie lately.

– Really? I never thought that they could ever do something together again. Not many wants to work with Ritchie more than once!

What do you think about Deep Purple with Joe Satriani?

– But is he a member now?

Tickets are out in Europe for another tour.

– I can not believe that they are doing that. Ritchie Blackmore was Deep Purple. They can change a singer or a drummer without losing too much of the identity, but what on earth will it sound like if Ritchie is not there?

Do you think that Deep Purple has a future in the States?

– Honestly, no. Or maybe, if they reinvent themselves and comes up with something that is fresh. I mean, I hope that they will do well. But apart from Aerosmith, grunge is the only thing here now. You can not get arrested.

Bobby Rondinelli is a member of Black Sabbath now. Have you been in touch with him since your days in Rainbow?

– Casual contact only. We have said “Hello” through mutual friends and so on. Is the Black Sabbath album good? Does he sound good with them?

Yes it is good and the album is great. Tony Iommi has often recruited people that has worked with the Purple family. Has he ever been in touch with you?

– No, and if he called me I would say “No” because I am not right for Black Sabbath. But I can understand that he gets in touch with people that have been in Rainbow or Purple since we do belong to the same “crowd”, if you want to put it that way. I really like Tony Martin, I think that he is a very good singer and I really wish them all the best.

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February 26 1995. Joe talks about him being car jacked, UFO´s, practical jokes and the fame and fortune side of rock´n´roll. Pretty good chat. It was printed in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 11 back in the day. Joe begins with saying thanks for a gift (a jacket), then the conversation kicks off.

– I was car jacked not long ago, do you know what that means?

Somebody stole your car.

– Yes, I had done a show with Pat Thrall in Brooklyn and on my way home I stopped for gas and that was when it happened, a few guys jumped me, knocked me to the ground and stole my jeep. I lost a black jacket and a week later I got a new one from you in the mail.

Did you get your car back?

– Yes, the police found it. But before I could pick it up it was actually stolen from the police. The level of crime is reaching scary heights in this country. There is an internal investigation going on now, crocked police officers may be involved in this somehow.

Scary. So what is going on with your career right now?

– I am getting ready to record my first solo album and I am negotiating with a few companies right now. I will record most of it in my home using a new technique called A-DAT. It is amazing what you can do now. I know that Queensryche recorded 90% of their latest album in this way, at home. The stuff that I can not do with an A-DAT I will do at Mel Brooks Studios.

We are looking forward to your new album Joe. Lets talk about things outside of music a little bit. When you were in Rainbow yourself and Ritchie dabbled with magic… Can you tell me a little about this?

– It is just pagan religion. When we were on the road with Rainbow we often used to stay over at places that were known to be haunted. One of these places was located in Leeds in England, a place that supposedly had a ghost walking around that people have given the name The Great Lady´s Ghost. She was murdered by her lover who bashed her to death with a champagne bottle.

And you got to see her with your own eyes?

– Yes. But I have to point out that we were very disciplined when we were doing this stuff. You have to be. People are not so aware and as for myself I don´t really care anymore. I have achieved knowledge based on facts and that is good enough for me.

Have you written about this in any of your lyrics?

– I have, yes. You can check out songs like “Firedance”, “Street Of Dreams” and “Drinking With The Devil”.

What is your take on the UFO question?

– They have been here a long time. It is unbelievably arrogant to assume that we are alone in the universe. That life only exists right here, on this little shit planet.

Have you had a personal experience?

– Again, yes, but I don´t think that I want to talk about that. Again, too many people just don´t know anything. It may not be a very good idea to talk about it.

Do you share my point of view that it is a pain in the ass that most people still have to get better educated about all this?

– That sounds a little harch, but sure, you have a point. I have written about this as well. “Street Of Dreams” deals with the spiritual aspect. In Rising Force I wrote a song called “Deja Vu”.

Ritchie is into practical jokes, can you give me an example.

– In Rainbow it was a tradition to put new members through some kind of an initiation. It really became a ritual. I remember what happened to David Rosenthal when he joined for the “Straight Between The Eyes” album. We were recording the album and the scenery around the place was fantastic. Dave kept nagging Ritchie that he wanted writing credits for the introduction to “MISS Mistreated” and Ritchie felt it was time to get him. Outside the room in which we would meet to relax there was this balcony, or a porch, pretty big one, and it was dark outside and snow was falling. So Dave comes along and Ritchie gives Charlie, a guy that worked for him, the order to turn on the lights outside. Suddenly we could all see Daves entire room out there, absolutely everything neatly arranged, with a growing layer of snow on top. Dave just could not believe it.

Did he get you when you joined?

– Sure, it happened in Denmark when we recorded “Difficult To Cure”. We lived at the SAS Hotel and I came home late one night with a little beauty that I planned to have a nice time with that night. We barely had time to close the door behind us before a guy called Ian Broad, who was Ritchie´s assistant back in those days, knocked on the door. He talks with this big Cokney accent and he insisted that I opened the door for him. I suspected that something was up but he kept saying that he needed a passport so I opened the door eventually as he actually started to get pretty violent with the door and suddenly I was in the middle of an old Marx Brothers movie. Ritchie was standing there holding a couple of wine bottles in his hands with two beautiful women in tow. Bobby Rondinelli was there, naked except for a towel around his waist. They storm in and before I know it the window is open and everything is moving through it. I am trying my best to stop them but this is doomed and they are destroying this room completely and everything is tossed out the window except for my personal belongings. My little girlfriend is sitting in a corner scared to death. I rushed down the corridor to get aid from Colin Hart, the tour manager. But when I bang on his door he shouts “Fuck off, I don´t start to work until nine in the morning!”. So I rush back. Luckily the stuff is not crashing down on the street but on another lower roof of the hotel since my room is located in a tower. I travel with a small camera so I started to take pictures, just to prove that I was not responsible for the carnage. When they try to hurl out the television set it gets stuck in the window. The mattress is pushed into an elevator and gone with the push of a button. That is the last time I see it. When it was over I slept badly for two hours and then I felt that I had to deal with this so I went down to talk to the hotel manager. I said “There are no words to describe this so I think that you should follow me upstairs and see it for yourself”. So he follows me upstairs, enters the room, takes a hard long look and then he turns around and says “This isn´t so bad. When Bob Marley stayed here we had to scrape shit from the walls and it took two months to renovate the room, this we can fix in a few days”. Then he casually added “Besides, this has already been payed for by a Mr Blackmore”. Later that morning I met Don Airey and he asked me if I had seen a lot of stuff pass by my window during the night as it had passed his?

How did you score with the ladies when you got your break to join Rainbow?

– You know, the 80´s were just amazing and everything that I got to do sexually was fantastic. The stereotype groupie of the 70´s was gone, replaced by a new generation of girls that had it down to science! I got to know some girls that I stayed in touch with as well. There were cities were I had more than one wonderful girl to call. But the 80´s, especially the first half of the 80´s, was different. Aids was not a problem. For me it was a special time, I call it “my decade”.

Did Ritchie chase any women during the Rainbow days?

– He may have at times but in those days he travelled with his wife Amy and she was a bit of a —– and not the kind that it would be wise to stir up.

What was the difference between being a member of Rainbow and later Deep Purple? Did you make more money?

– I made more money because in Deep Purple I was a full member. In Rainbow I was hired with a salary and it would not change no matter how much money that came in.

Have you ever been a millionaire in dollars?

– I have been pretty close a couple of times. Money comes and goes. I lost everything recently when my wife left me and it took me a while to get back on my feet again.

Is it a correct observation that the real money for a band like Deep Purple lies in the touring rather than in album sales?

– Yes, Deep Purple probably sells a little bit over 1.000.000 copies of their albums now, at least that is what “Slaves And Masters” did. The big money from album sales comes when you can sell 10 or 15.000.000 albums. Other than that, the real money comes from the touring, that is true. The Rolling Stones made 120.000.000 dollars on their last tour. If you can fill up the big halls you will make a lot of money.

Is it an easy enough life to be on the road with a band like Deep Purple?

– Yes, it is very much well organised. Deep Purple actually took over the entire Rainbow organisation when they reformed.

Do you feel that the fans have started to accept your period in Deep Purple more now than when you were actually with the band?

– Absolutely, yes. We were working against the odds. I remember that I used to say “Instead of react, respond!” to people in interviews. The problem with Deep Purple was that the others lost their respect for Ritchie. He called me up and said “You were right!”. Can it really be Deep Purple without Ritchie? But who knows, maybe they will get themselves to work now that they don´t have any other choice.

You do a few session jobs on the side, how much do you ask for a job like that?

– That varies from case to case. People like Cher, Michael Bolton have to fork up what I ask of them, people that are not so well known can get me for maybe 1000 dollars. I mean, I don´t want to ruin anybody. I remember a session that I did with Billy Joel, I had so much fun that I couldn´t accept the money. He got me for nothing that day.

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Michael Eriksson (1994-1995)

(No part of these interviews may be quoted without permission)

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  1. […] STEVE LUKATHER (1989), YNGWIE MALMSTEEN (1990), JOE LYNN TURNER (1992), JOE LYNN TURNER (1993), JOE LYNN TURNER (1994-1995), RAINBOW (1995), GLENN HUGHES (1996), JOE LYNN TURNER (1996-1998), DEEP PURPLE (1998), DAVID […]

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