Joe Lynn Turner Interviews (1996-1998)

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

DPF13 

Here comes another three interviews with Joe Lynn Turner from the good old days, starting with a chat we had on August 18 1996 that was later published in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 15. This interview was made a few days after a Rainbow show in Copenhagen that resulted in a variety of “Rainbow Split” rumours. In the end the band lasted into 1997, Dougie White handed in his resignation on June 13 that year. The magazine you can see here is DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 13 (cover shot by Ola Bergman). Enjoy.

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Joe, six months ago I called you up and asked you if there were any truth to you re-joining Rainbow, which turned out to be just a rumour on the internet. Now I ask you again since Dougie White seems to be out of Rainbow.

– What? I didn´t know about that. Are you sure about this?

Well, people are still trying to figure out what´s going on, but the last show was in Copenhagen last weekend and Dougie signed an autograph with the words “Fired, Dougie White”. So you didn´t know about this at all?

– No, I didn´t know about this, I will give Greg Smith a call and see what´s going on. I met Yngwie Malmsteen yesterday, he was making a video close by. He has Tommy Aldridge on drums now.

Really? I heard that you are to commence work on a new album?

– I start to record it in two weeks, around September 1. It will be a cover album with songs like “Fire And Water” by Free and “Can´t Get Next To You” by The Temptations.

Are you still working with Al Pitrelli?

– He is featured on one track. John O´Reilly and Greg Smith from Rainbow are going to be on it and Tony Bruno from Joan Jett´s band. He will handle the guitars. Malmsteen said that he was interested so we will see.

So this will be a cover album but with your name on it?

– Yes. I know exactly what songs that I want to use but I will have to compromise a little since the record company wants some later material as well. We will have to agree on it. I have just been to a studio and taken pictures for the american cover of “Nothing´s Changed” by the way.

What? I thought that that album was out in the States by now?

– It will be out in October here. I was terribly unhappy with the cover that you guys got. They tried something that did not work at all. So the album will get a different cover here. Maybe the people that collect would be interested to hear about that?

I heard that you may be doing some shows with Nikolo Kotzev this summer in Europe?

– They asked me to do a festival outside of Munich at the end of September but I had to turn it down since I will be working on my new album at that time. But I would have enjoyed it, especially since he is working with a couple of guys from (the band) Europe. I really do like the Brazen Abbot album that we made together. Is that out in Sweden now?

It is coming out soon, the first album they did, the one with Glenn Hughes, just came out here. I have to assume that the second will follow in time. They probably just don´t want to release them both at the same time. Will you make a video if Nikolo asks?

– Maybe, it would be good fun to make one. We have to wait and see what happens. Nikolo sent me a bootleg of “Nothing´s Changed” from Bulgaria! I should be pressing them myself, it seems like everybody else is doing it.

And you are making no money on it. Do you collect bootlegs yourself?

– Sure, it is fun to have them.

Have you seen the Deep Purple bootleg from Tel Aviv? It is supposed to be pretty good.

– I didn´t know about that one, can you get me a copy?

I can try. Is it true what they say that Journey is back again?

I think so, there is a lot of bands coming back now, Kiss, Van Halen…

I think a lot of people would appreciate if Rainbow returned with Joe Lynn Turner as well.

– Probably. But I have no idea if Ritchie has even entertained the thought. We will have to wait and see what happens. If we get back together I will let you know Mike. But he calls it “Ritchie Blackmores Rainbow” now…

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Nearly a year later, we had another talk about his career and all things Purple. This one took place on September 25 1997 and it was published in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 18. These chats were very honest and frank which is something that I enjoy from an artist.

You have just been in Japan performing live with a japanse artist, Kankawa, how was that?

– I did seven shows with him in clubs with 200 to 600 capacity. I sang five songs a night. He is a keyboardplayer and he likes Jon Lord, but he is not Jon Lord you know. I sang on his record and when he got the money to do the shows I thought that I might as well help him out with them as well. But it really was his thing and I tried to keep a low profile. He is not very established as yet.

So you did not take advantage of the trip to do press for yourself on this trip?

– No, I was in Japan meeting the press talking about the “Under Cover” album back in March. So this time I kept a low profile. I only did a couple of interviews, like one for Burrn magazine.

Have you considered to do a live album?

– That would be great but I would have to have a touring band first. Back in March I did a few acoustic sets in stores in Japan but that was not recorded. It may exist on bootleg. That would not surprise me at all.

Are you aware that almost every concert that Rainbow ever did is out on bootleg today?

– Yes, it is obvious that there is still money to be made with Rainbow.

The japanese mob is supposedly involved in this.

– They may well be.

Have you seen any signs that the classic hard rock scene may be coming back in America?

– Yes, it looks better than before. Old bands are signed up again and bands like Whitesnake are back. I think that people may get more interested in rock music that is played by good musicians again. The whole anti-scene has had its five years of glory now and it does not have anymore to say. I believe that the record companies are totally to blame for hard rock being out of favour in America the last few years. They just stopped to promote it. Luckily things have stayed the same in Japan and in Germany.

I wrote a letter to Bruce Payne and urged him to consider a release with your version of Deep Purple that consists of the b-sides, the jam sessions and live material. But of course he never replied. I have also mentioned the possibility on the official website with no response from the band at all.

– OK, I think I know what that comes down to and it is not the fact that I was in the band. It is because they hate Ritchie without pardon. I know that Bruce Payne is really pissed off about the fact that Ritchie left Deep Purple. And nobody has tried to smoothen things out, to forgive and forget. They still take a hateful attitude towards Ritchie and I think that is pretty low as long as they are touring the world playing his songs every night.

I heard that you saw Deep Purple in New York.

– Yes, if you can still call it Deep Purple. I think that my period in Deep Purple sounded a lot more like Purple than what you have now. After all, Ritchie was the engine behind that band. It worked out well for us until some people started to wine about the need to get Gillan back again. Ritchie said yes although he did not want to. They got a couple of million dollars to make two albums and I guess Ritchie did not want to let the team down. But he also made sure that he got himself a solo deal so that he could leave as soon as it was possible. And that is exactly what happened.

There are lots of rumours about Rainbow at the moment, of course there always is.

– Yes, I have not talked about this with Ritchie but his agent has been in touch with my agent and checked out whether I can still consider to work with Ritchie again in the future. My reply has been that I am open for a dialogue. I have nothing against doing Rainbow with him again. We did very well when we worked together. In fact, I recently understood that Bruce Payne wanted to get Deep Purple back together again so badly that he actually manipulated the situation. To me he said “Ritchie wants to do Deep Purple again”, and to Ritchie he said “Joe wants to do a solo album so why don´t you reform Deep Purple again now that you will lose your singer anyway?”.

Cozy Powell mentioned your period in Rainbow recently. He says that he consideres “Stone Cold” to be a very good song.

– That was wonderful to hear. As you know I have worked with Bob Daisley in Mother´s Army and he thinks that Rainbow should reform with himself, me, Cozy Powell and Ritchie. Plus a keyboard player naturally. I think it is a brilliant idea. It would cover the entire history of the band. We could pick out early as well as late Rainbow songs and play them. I think that it sounds fantastic.

Some people would want Ronnie James Dio, but do you think that his ego would permit him to come back to Ritchie again?

– I doubt it. I do not think that he would want to sing songs that he did not sang originally and that would take away a large chunk of the actual history.

And Ritchie enjoys to play songs like “Burn” and “Smoke On The Water” and honestly I do not think that I have a need to hear him sing those songs. You, on the other hand, already have.

– Yes, but first of all I think that Ritchie would like to sell records. And it was me and Graham Bonnet that sang with the band when they had the big hits.

What do you think about Ritchie´s solo thing with Candice?

– It is well played and it is nice for him that he can finally do it, but I would not say that it is my cup of tea.

Of course you know that Candie´s mother is his manager now?

– Yes, the women in his life has always managed to manipulate him to a certain extent. I will not negotiate with her. I have already said that if he wants to talk to me we need to have a private dialogue and that she should not have anything to do with that.

A lot of people seem to be worried about the fact that Ritchie does not have a professional manager anymore. I hear that a lot.

– It is much worse, some people are laughing behind his back and I resent that a lot. During one of those shows I did in Japan recently a fan shouted out “Ritchie is crazy about that woman” and I think what they fear is that he will not come back and play hard rock again. They feel that they might be losing their guitar hero. I talked to a guy from Burrn magazine and he said that Ritchie had said that the fans should decide who the singer in Rainbow should be. That doesn´t even sound like the Ritchie I knew.

Let us see what happens.

– Yes, it would be great fun to work with him again. If he is smart he will give me a call. I do not need the money but it would be great fun to go back to it and kickstart it again. If it happened it would not even change my plans much. Next month I will record another album in my own name. This time it will be commercial hard rock. I have already proved myself on the earlier albums so I do not need to do that again.

I found a photograph of a club called The Stone Pony that is located in your neck of the woods, is this a club that has meant anything to you?

– I have played there many times, especially back in the early days in my youth. It is one of these places were everybody plays and not long ago both Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi played a charity concert there. I will surely play there if I can get a touring band together some day. It is a good place for rock bands. It is located about an hours drive from home.

OK, Good luck with everything Joe and thank you for the interview.

– Yes, we will talk again and if Rainbow happens I will see you in Stockholm.

* * * * *

This chat took place on November 7 1998 and was published in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 22. It deals with a variety of things, not least connected to the Purple Family.

How is the rock scene in America? Is it getting better?

– People claim it is, I still have to see it. The radio still ignores our kind of music. A couple of major stations have made moves to include us again and they wanted to talk to me. But all in all the positions seem locked. John Calodner believes in hard rock, he signed up Ratt recently.

Did you catch any of the Deep Purple shows in the States? I know that you know the guys in Dream Theater.

– No, the last time I saw Purple was in January. I saw two shows in Los Angeles on the House Of Blues tour. They treated me nice. I was there to do NAMM.

Have you seen any shows lately that you liked?

– No, but I rarely have the time to catch shows. Like right now when I spend all day long in the studio for a month. But I will do a gig with Leslie West at the Life Café in Greenwhich, it is a place that is thought to be cool. We have discussed the possibility of putting a blues project together.

Do you think you will make an album?

– Hopefully. We hope that a certain interest may exist because of who we are.

I heard that Dougie White sang on your latest album “Hurry Up And Wait”.

– Yes, Dougie came in and sang on two tracks, let me have a look at the cover so that I get this right… Yes, one of the songs that he did, “Freedoms Wings”, did not end up on the album.

How is the japanese market? I have heard that it is not very good any more.

– The japanese market has taken a dive. Their economy is screwed so people are holding on to their money. You can see it in album and ticket sales.

You have recorded a few albums after Deep Purple now. Where do you think that the response has been the best?

– In Japan I get radio play by the biggest DJ´s. Germany has been good. I do not know what happened in Scandinavia? I do not think that the record companies are trying too hard. It is not allowed to grow. Everybody is in it for the money. It would be easier to accept the situation if what one did sucked but that is not the case. It is human nature.

You are currently recording a second album with covers, why?

– “Under Cover” sold so well in Japan that they asked me to do another. Mike Warney on Schrapnel loved it as well, so he released it in America. It has done well over here as well. It was fun to record the old classics. Right now I am doing songs like “Lady Double Dealer”, “Lost In Hollywood” as a tribute to Cozy, “Moving On”, “Wishing Well”, “Rock Bottom” and “The Boys Are Back In Town”.

Who are you working with at the moment?

– The usual suspects. Paul Morris and Greg Smith from Rainbow, Tony Bruno from Joan Jett´s band, Rick Derringer, Pat Thrall. Leslie West is going to come in and play on “Mississippi Queen”. These are people that will be there for me if I ask them.

Do you own your own home studio?

– No, I prefere to work in a real studio. I want the sound to be as big as possible. Most people that are recording at home does it to save money, to be able to live on them. I am thinking about the quality. It has to stand the test of time. So I tend to spend all the money that I get. I compared the sound of my latest album with Glenns “Addiction” and mine sounded better.

Are you aware that you are featured on two Deep Purple compilation albums in Europe now? One on BMG and one on EMI?

– No, I did not know about that.

Well, “King Of Dreams” is on the EMI release “30-Very Best Of”, a double CD that reached Top 20 in Norway and Finland and that was advertised on television in several countries. BMG has their own set out titled “Purplexed” in most of Europe and this features “King Of Dreams” and “Love Conquers All”. Two classics of course.

– They are, nice to hear that Deep Purple MK 5 was included.

Fans want a live album with your version of Purple. Why not make your own, with some Rainbow thrown in as well, and cash in?

– I try to get out there but it is hard. The costs involved means that you need financial backup. It is a terrible Catch 22 situation. It is very hard for people like me. It is horrible. I really hope that it will change soon. I would love to do a live record with all the classics.

Glenn Hughes did and that is probably his best selling album. When I say “cash in” I do not mean that in a negative way.

– I know what you mean. It would be fun.

Did you see the reformed Black Sabbath on Letterman the other day?

– No, but it is a big comeback.

They looked a bit tired I thought. How important is it to be seen like that if you want to sell records in America?

– Well, they shipped over a million albums, I don´t know if they will sell them all, some might be returned, but it is a big thing.

Some of the older bands are doing good business right now. Do you think that the big record companies takes notice or do you think that they simply discard it as nostalgia? That they still believe that hard rock is essentially dead?

– They certainly do not back it up. It is not allowed to grow. To them it is all about money. There has to be countless hard rock bands out there that want to be seen. But “The Big 4”, Sony, MCA, Polygram and Warners could not care less. Seagram Whiskey bought up Polygram recently. This guy is a billionaire and his son, who is a musician, says “Dad, I want a record company”, and the guy gets fucking Polygram! Let us hope that he likes hard rock. But no, there is little justice in this business today.

The independent labels seems more honest I think?

– I sell my records to different independent labels around the world. Had it not been for them I would not have been in a position to get my music out anymore. I am grateful that they exist. For the big companies everybody like me is seen as “yesterdays news”.

If Stuart Smith gets the chance to come over to Europe, will you follow him over?

– That depends. Stuart is talking to Warners right now and if they get involved it would seem a little bit more likely. Then there will be enough money. We will know soon enough.

Your singing on his song “Shadow Of The Tyburn Tree” is damn good. Also, it reminds me a lot of Blackmore´s Night. When I heard this song I thought “Wait until Ritchie hears this”.

– Yes, he should call me. We should finish what we started. The people that know him says that he is pretty isolated. I am not sure if he is aware of it. But who knows.

Do you feel that Stuarts project is as important to you as Mother´s Army?

– No, it is different. I´m a member of Mother´s Army. I did Stuarts album because it was fun. “Fire On The Moon”, the latest Mother´s Army album, is a little tougher. If Warners wants it we may be able to form a band. I am a little bit like Glenn Hughes, I am just trying to keep my head above the water. It is about surviving.

Steve Morse told me that he likes Mother´s Army.

– Jeff Watson knows him and has sent him the albums. “Planet Earth” went above a lot of peoples heads. It was like a meeting between Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Also, it was a concept album and people are not used to that. Now I hear people say “Your new album is better”, but that is only because they understand the music on it.

I think that “Planet Earth” is a beautiful record.

– Exactly, and of course we wanted to say something with that album. It is about mother earth and how we abuse her. It is almost a cry for understanding if you read the lyrics. I am very proud of it. It has a lot of good music on it.

How is Nikolo Kotzev´s “Nostradamus” project coming along?

– I have only heard the demos so far but I think that Dio may do it as well, so it will be me, Dio, Glenn and Göran Edman singing. Nikolo is very underrated. He should be getting more attention. This will be a an album that portrays the life of Nostradamus, his life and death. Nikolo will be using a full orchestra. It may end up sounding as the earlier recordings only more majestic. The idiots are not going to understand it but hopefully there will be enough people out there that will appreciate it.

Is the guitar hero era over?

– Probably. It seems like rock is over, so… You never hear a good guitar anymore. And that goes for pop music as well.

Is this not quite strange Joe? We grew up in an era that was just full of great musicians and singers. And overnight this changed and it really was replaced by inferior talent that could get by without much merit.

– Yes, it is very odd. We have a new guy here in America that can play the guitar very well, his name is Bobby Ferrara. Naturally he is getting attention in Japan and Europe but not at home.

Can you mention a few guitar players that you would like to work with?

– Bobby Ferrara and John Norum are two that I would like to work with. Pat Thrall and Leslie West I am lucky to work with right now. It is an honour to get to work with Leslie West because beside Deep Purple I always thought highly of Mountain as well. They were my favourite bands when I was a kid. They had the melodies and the power.

If you could put your dream band together, who would be in it?

– I have already been in them! I guess you could mix them but consider all the egos that are involved! Imagine Ritchie with… Purple was a dream band, now they are a cream band!

I spoke with Steve Morse about his private passion, which is flying. What passions do you have besides music?

– Then we are talking about the intellectual side. I just love to read books. I love to soak up information, to understand things better. The paranormal field is very interesting. I am also studying the UFO field and all that. Religion is interesting. Anything that has to do with ones soul. Reincarnation for instance. But the more you read the more isolated you can get, most people just do not care, they do not even know that they have a soul.

I think that a lot of people have started to lose some of the fundamental basics, what do you think?

– Absolutely. I am glad that I still live in New Jersey. People here still care, they still have values and they are honest. If you go to Los Angeles you can tell the difference right away. People there lie with such ease. They often do not mean what they say. I can mention an example of how something has changed. 20 years ago a survey among students asked why they felt that it was important to get an education. The reply was often “Because knowledge is important”. The same question was asked recently and the most common answer was “I want to get financially independent”. A lot of people just want to outshine the neighbor. The money is all important and nobody takes the time to care about other things. Least of all our future.

Have you read Michael Drosnins “The Bible Code”?

– Yes, nothing in it really surprises me. I have studied different religions for a long time and I came to the realisation a long time ago that there is a higher power. If you want to call it God that is fine.

We seem to share this interest.

– It is always fun to talk to people that have taken the time to look into these things. Why have an opinion if you know nothing? Lets study the subject at hand first. That should be a rule. Apart from this I enjoy to relax with sports and my heart is filled with joy watching my daughter grow up.

I have noticed that I tend to avoid tv shows with violence more and more, that I would rather see The Drew Carey Show or Seinfeld. I prefere to have a few laughs.

– Oh yes, the sitcoms becomes more important in time! I guess one just mellows out as the years go by. You know, I have been out there, I have fucked all the best looking girls and all that, but it really does not feel very important anymore. My daughter feels important now. The future of this planet feels important.

Ritchie seems concerned about the next two years. Do you think that he may have picked up something that does not sound too good from his interest in the spiritual world, maybe from Dr Mabu?

– I do not know since I have not talked with him in a while. If you read some comments from him like that then maybe.

In a recent interview he said “A wise man prepares for war in peacetime”. Are you ready to face up to a crisis? Do you have a cabin in the woods?

– I am prepared as much as I can be, but if a major disaster like a nuclear war or a gigantic natural disaster hits I will let Armageddon take me. Gods arm is longer than mine. Mankinds lack of understanding about the environment scares me because if nature hits back there will be absolutely nothing that we can do. Then we can just watch. I am not so sure if time is on our side anymore.

I feel that the media in the States has lost their ability to cover things with any real sense of how to do it right. I am not sure if they will be able to handle a real crisis with the low standards that we see now.

– Yes, Bill Clinton gets a blowjob and everybody is on his back because he lied about it. Of course you are going to lie about a thing like that, especially if you are a man in his position. But this goes much deeper. People here in America has a real problem dealing with sex. The society is so full of hypocrits that you simply can not discuss this subject without some form of hysteria appearing. And the media just loves that. That is the level that they are on at the moment so no, I doubt that they will do a good job if a real crisis comes along. They are going to blow it.

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Michael Eriksson (1996-1998)

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

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Comments
  1. […] (1992), JOE LYNN TURNER (1993), JOE LYNN TURNER (1994-1995), RAINBOW (1995), GLENN HUGHES (1996), JOE LYNN TURNER (1996-1998), DEEP PURPLE (1998), DAVID COVERDALE (2000), RONNIE JAMES DIO (2001), HUGHES TURNER PROJECT (2001), […]

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