Back in 2001 I was the first journalist to hear about an exciting new project with two ex-Deep Purple stars (from different generations of that band), Joe Lynn Turner and Glenn Hughes. I made two interviews that year with Joe Lynn Turner and here they are. Pretty good stuff if I may say so. I have picked this from my now defunct Atlantis Online site. The second of these two interviews saw print in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 31 (as seen above). These were my last chats with Joe Lynn Turner.
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This interview was made on January 15 2001 and it has has only been published in MORE BLACK THAN PURPLE (issue 16) and the Swedish rock publication BRIGHT EYES MAGAZINE (issue 12). So let´s go…
(Joe gets right to the point)
– Glenn Hughes, myself and my manager Mark Wexler had a conference call two days ago and we reached an agreement. The tour of Japan got us talking but we never reached any set plans. Glenn figured that he would record his next album now and that we could do something together a little later, but we said that we really wanted to do this now and he got fired up as we talked about it. So I will now fly to Los Angeles in February for our first writing session. Glenn has his rehab programme to think about. Later on, Glenn will come over to New York and we will have another go at it. By April we should be on our way and this summer we should have something out.
What will the project be called?
– We do not know yet! We have not talked about that. The music will be our first priority now. I guess it could be called Hughes/Turner or Turner/Hughes, I really do not know. If you have any ideas feel free to share them with us. Our aim is to recreate the mid-70´s Deep Purple sound. Nobody else is doing it.
Will you be sharing the vocals like Glenn and David Coverdale did back then?
– Yes, probably on most of the songs. This is something that we have talked about. As you know, we sang a few old Deep Purple songs together in Japan and it was great. Glenn actually said, “You know, I had forgotten how much fun it is to be part of a band”. He even said it to the audience.
How was that tour received?
– Like the Second Coming! Two sold out gigs in Tokyo. People regarded it highly, almost like they would a Rainbow reunion. It was excitement in the air. It was the best thing to happen in a long time.
It was your solo tour. How did Glenn come into it?
– It was just something that I suggested to the Japanese promoter when we discussed who should play on the tour and they laughed and said “You will never get Glenn to do it!”. But I said, “Hang on, I know Glenn, let me put it to him”, so I did. So we talked and I made it attractive to him. He would be able to do some of his stuff, we could share the vocals on some old tracks and I also offered him more money than the others got, simply because of his standing in music. So he jumped at it and we had a great time.
For the Purple fans it must have been fantastic. Did you record any shows?
– Pony Canyon, my label, have soundboard tapes but I have not heard copies of them. They are afraid that the bootleggers will get a hold of copies. If it sounds OK I guess some of it could be used as bonus tracks on the album.
It was good fun that you sang stuff that David used to sing and that Glenn played bass on stuff from your time in Purple.
– It was great fun. Glenn has got an amazing voice, he is like a white Stevie Wonder. But he knows he can not do that funk stuff right now. He has decided to give the audience what they want. He said, “My fans made me who I am today so I´m going to give them what they want”.
So now you will?
– Yes. We have not written the songs yet but it will not be a cover album. It will be a fresh sounding album on which a certain era will come to life again.
I am really looking forward to it! I think it will be a highly regarded project.
– I think so to. It will be good for us both. And the timing seems right as well since the market seems to be friendlier to the old school of rock again. The radio is opening up to it again here in the States. I am very happy about that. Five years ago I thought it was all over, that Nirvana had killed the rock scene. Now people are tired of it and they want good melodies again.
David Coverdale´s “Into The Light” is doing well on US radio now. His assistant Mike McIntyre told me that after his promotional tour they now had radio play on seventy stations across the country.
– That is good to hear. I have heard that people like his new record so it looks like he is helping to open up things again for us all here. That is good for us all. It is yet another positive sign. But old acts are playing to full houses and there is no way that the radio and the record companies can miss out on that.
Your last album, “Holy Man”, seems to be your biggest success yet.
– Yes, I do not know why. Maybe it is one of the better albums? I think they liked it more in Japan because it was closer to Rainbow than the others. But yes, I have received a great deal of attention with this album. People now say, “Joe sings well again”, but I think they say that simply because they can identify with the music.
So does this mean that the next album will be more of the same?
– I do not know. I am so focused on the project with Glenn now. But I will definitely record another solo album later this year. Akira Kajiyama played on “Holy Man” and on the tour. He is like a young Ritchie Blackmore. So he will be a part of this project now. He is into the Deep Purple thing. Glenn suggested that he could ask the drummer from Mr Big if he wants to record with us. We will see. But later on, we really hope to take this out on the road in Europe and Scandinavia.
People seem to enjoy your “Under Cover” records a great deal. Will there be a third covers album?
– Probably, yes. I enjoyed doing them and they are selling well.
What is going on with Mother´s Army?
– Funny that you should ask because I have just been on the phone with Jeff Watson and Bob Daisley. They have just signed a deal for the earlier albums for America now through South West. So things are moving again and this means that we will most likely record the fourth album later this year now. But we are a bit tired of the name. Have you heard about Bob Daisley´s court case against Ozzy Osbourne for his publishing?
Yes, it has been mentioned here in the news.
– Bob should have millions of dollars from them and it is not like they do not have the money.
What is going on with the Voices Of Classic Rock project?
– Well, we just made five huge concerts in Mexico and one in Columbia and the interest has been huge, so the promoter now wants us back for a bigger tour that will cover all of South America. But before we do that we want to record an album with a few tracks with each singer involved and get that out. I do not know when this is going to happen but it is a fun project and the audiences get a lot of great music out of it.
David Coverdale is putting his own label together in the US, is this a route that you have considered as well?
– Not really, no. I am really not all that interested. I guess my main focus is on the projects that I am involved in, in the musical side. It would be a time consuming enterprise to start up a label. Maybe he can afford to do it?
Your first album from 1985, “Rescue You”, is impossible to get now. Have you considered to purchase the rights from the record company and put it out yourself?
– No, but it is a good idea. I have never really thought about it. I have no idea what Elektra would want for it. But everybody is asking me how they can get it. I get mails about that all the time. It was available in Japan until a couple of years ago, so a few copies may still be around. My wife discovered it on Amazon.com so I bought five copies and stashed them away for safekeeping. It may never be released again. Occationally I find stuff that I did not know about. Recently I bought a Best Of Fandango album that I did not know about. My best source of information the last few years have been guys like yourself. Where would I be able to read about it?
Have you been in touch with Ritchie Blackmore?
– I tried to reach him last year. Myself, Chuck Burgi, Greg Smith and David Rosenthal tried to arrange a link with him so that we could have a conference and discuss Rainbow with him. His manager, Carole Stevens, said she would get back to us but she never did. I doubt that Ritchie ever heard about it. Or if he did, maybe she just said that we said “Hi”? She is Candy´s mother and she is looking out for her career first. And they have no interest in seeing Ritchie getting involved in Rainbow again. I think they are manipulating him. He might not be aware that people are interested in getting Rainbow together again, that people are keen to do it. It is rather sad.
We could see Ronnie James Dio front Deep Purple recently, which was both fun and strange. Strange because of the history.
– I am sure Ritchie freaked out when he heard about that. I know him well enough to guess what his reaction might have been. He must have thought “Ronnie has gone over to the enemy”. So I think you can forget about Ronnie ever getting the chance to do Rainbow again. Ritchie is not very forgiving and he is not on good terms with certain people in Deep Purple.
How about a live album with your project with Glenn? Certainly that would be appreciated by many?
– You could have a point. It is an exciting project. It is good that we are finally doing something together. I knew him quite well a long time ago, we used to hang out. But he had his life and I had mine and we never got around to actually working together. Also, at the time, we were far to involved in drugs and we had big egos then. Looking back, we have all been unkind to one another in our generation at one point or another, but it is great to see now how people are tying bonds again and how things are getting better. It is a very positive thing and I´m glad that it is now happening. I feel excited to be here now and doing this. I am sure the fans will find it very interesting.
(End of first interview – lets jump to the second…)
This interview with Joe Lynn Turner was made a couple of weeks after the terrorist attacks on the United States in september 2001. Joe had been in the thick of it back in New York but now he was in Los Angeles overlooking the final mixing process of the first HTP record. The conversation could hardly have begun with any other topic than 9.11, especially since I wanted to know if Joe was OK. This is how the conversation started…
– We have three telephones in the house and they all went off at the same time, even the private line that is only available to a select few, like my manager. They told us about the plane that had crashed into World Trade Center. My manager said “Turn on the tv, you are not going to believe this”, so I turned it on and all the channels showed how one of the towers was burning. I live outside of New York and there is a hill behind our house that has a view to the city so me and my wife rushed over there to see the fire from there. At that point the second plane came into view and as it crashed into the second tower I said to my wife “We are under attack!”. Everybody was afraid and people were running around. I mean, we lived there and what would happen next? It was horrendous. The phone kept ringing because people knew that I was supposed to be on a flight from Newark at that time.
I turned on the tv here (in Sweden) after the second plane had hit and then the pictures from a third chrash at the Pentagon (that was now burning) arrived live. It was shocking and one wondered what would happen next.
– Yes, it affects you and the worst thing is I had already escaped the Pan Am 103 bomb over Scotland in 1988. I think we had been in Russia with Yngwie Malmsteen and I do recall arriving to London from Sweden and that it was a SAS plane that we came in on. I spent a couple of days in London with an ex-girlfriend of Phil Collen from Def Leppard and the reason that I stayed on was this charitything that I was going to attend. But I was going to be on that plane that blew up but that morning I did not feel too good so I decided to take another flight the next day. I had food poisoning. So I am in my bed and the phone is ringing and when I answer my mother cries out “Thank God you are still there!”. I did not know what she was talking about so she told me that the plane I was supposed to have been on had exploded over Scotland and that everybody had died. I turned on the tv and there it was, it was a sickening feeling. My first thought went to the rest of the guys but nobody had been on that plane. The bass player had travelled the day before and the Johansson brothers and Yngwie were still in Sweden. I still have that ticket. I took the next Pan Am flight after that and when we landed in New York we were met by the media. They thought that I looked like a famous person so they came running to me and asked all these questions but we just pushed them aside and walked straight past them. When I came home and sat down on my bed the tears came, I had an emotional breakdown. I knew how close it had been. And at Heathrow there had been a bombscare so we had been evacuated from there as well before the flight home. They offered us free alcohol on the flight because we are all so shattered.
So you have survived two attacks?
– Yes. In London it felt like I was saved because of the charity thing, you know, karma. But I know a lot of people that has lost their life or friends or relatives. My record company MTM lost 30 people. Chuck Burgi whom I worked with in Rainbow lost family. I have survived twice so it feels almost like I am supposed to still be here, that God want me to live a little longer. Maybe it has to do with the subjects that I bring to light in some of my lyrics? Bob Daisley was in New York for the Ozzy trial and he read my lyrics and he said “Damn it Joe, you really know what you are talking about”. And I think I do. I am not writing just about love anymore, I am writing more and more about serious subjects such as politics and I fear that this theory that we are now ushered in towards a World Order can become a reality. I read the book “Fortunate Sun” by J.H Hatfield before it was banned recently. He claimed that George Bush Sr has done business with Bin Laden´s father and that there could be more than meets the eye here. He was murdered in July 2000. You can also read “The Biggest Secret” by David Icke that reveals conspiracies from mankinds history right up to the murder of Princess Diana, and yes I think that she was murdered. Bob Daisley said “You know, maybe you should not write and talk about this” but I said “I think I can because I do not think they listen to my records”. On “Holy Man” there is a song called “Babylon” that deals with this. On my new record “Slam” you have songs like “Eye For An Eye” and “Cover Up”.
I know that you have a history of recording records in New York, in Unique Studios. In the booklet for “Hurry Up And Wait” we can see you posing with the World Trade Center in the background and now this happens.
– Manhattan is so small that no matter where you are you would have had WTC nearby.
How is things going with “Slam”?
– My record company in Japan, Pony Canyon, just called and they told me that it went into the charts at number 30 and they expect it to climb 10-15 notches. I have never had success like that before. Same thing in Germany. I have done quite a lot of promotion for it and the public seems to like what I am doing. It is a little strange to hear about it now because I am so involved in the thing with Glenn right now. But things are going well and I have worked hard for this to happen for years.
I would like to see you release a live album now.
– Then I would have to go out and tour first. I have been so busy just writing new songs. I have written something like 60 lyrics in two months, so that should tell you a little bit about how I spend my days.
Tell me about this project with Glenn Hughes.
– We call it HTP, or Hughes Turner Project, and we are getting a good logotype for the record done right now. The record will not have a title from one of the songs or anything like that. I am staying here in Los Angeles to supervise the mixing process and it should reach the stores in February or March 2002. That also gives both Glenn and myself a chance to promote our own albums before all hell breaks lose with this. I think he may be interested in doing some work with Pat Thrall as well. But I can tell you one thing, no promoter is going to lose any money when we take this out on the road.
Tell me about the record.
– It is a damn good album. It is just jammed full with great music. The variation is there, it got everything from hard rock in the tradition of Rainbow and Deep Purple to big ballads and even some funk. Joakim Marsh from Glenns band plays guitar. Akira Kajiyama from my band is playing on one track. Paul Gilbert is on it. You have songs that will remind you of “Highway Star” and “Street Of Dreams”. I came in a few days later than the others because of the attacks so some of the basic tracks were recorded and it was so damn good. I just know that people are going to like this. You know, the plane I flew in with was almost empty and they security was unbelievable. They picked you clean of anything that could be used as a weapon, things that nobody cared about at all before was now taken.
Do you think that there will be more records with Glenn Hughes?
– In the light of how good this is I would say yes, I do not doubt it for a second. But it would also depend on the sales of this one. But as I said, people are going to love this.
And it is original material only?
– Yes, no covers at all. It is huge. The harmonies reminds me of Queen.
Are you sharing all the vocals?
– Yes, but we have a ballad to ourselves but even those tracks have shared backing vocals. Mike Scott has produced the record. He has worked with Glenn the last few years. My ballad is called “Mystery Of The Heart” and it reminds me of “Street Of Dreams”. Then there is a Paul Rodgers type of song called “Sister Midnight” that is very good. Hard but easy on the ears. And the opening track “Devils Road” reminds me of “Highway Star” in attitude. The album is commercial but in a positive sense.
If we look back on your career we find a three year hiatus from the point that you left Deep Purple to your first solo album in ages, “Nothing´s Changed” (1995). What really happened there?
– There was so much negative stuff happening to me all at once. First the fact that Deep Purple behaved like pigs. I know now that Ritchie did not want to bring Ian Gillan back but that the others did. But it was done in such a nasty way, kind of behind my back and that was very disapointing to me. I am normally a very positive person but what happened there kind of drained my spirit. My blood turned purple. I allowed myself to become bitter and I walked away from everything. I thought “OK, I am going to spend time with my daughter and that is it”, and that period was very good for me. I quit drugs and alcohol and started to feel good about who I really am and I also got a pretty good idea of what I wanted out of life from that point on. But as I reflected on all of this Nirvana arrived and I still recall the moment when I realised that the business I knew had collapsed and that rock was essentially announced dead. And I thought “My God, it is all over”. The business just turned its back on all of us.
Your first record after Deep Purple was a very personal affair, a far cry from the heavier side of bands like Rainbow and Purple.
– It was a very personal record and I got a lot of stick from people that had wanted it to be something more traditional. But you know, the very point of recording in your own name is that you can do something a little bit more personal. The “Under Cover” records were completely stress free and I had a lot of fun doing them. There was no pressure and then they sold well and people enjoyed them. On “Hurry Up And Wait” I did a more commercial record and with “Holy Man” I explored a more serious side. With “Slam” we are talking about a straight ahead rock sound again. Ritchie said something that I never forgot, “Never listen to critics because if you believe in the positive you also have to believe the negative”. That is a good thing to carry with you. You have to do what you want at any given time and that is why my records have identities of their own. I mean, I do not want to make an endless stream of records that sound exectly the same. I could not do that. I know that some people do but I could not. A rainbow has many colours.
How is the radio in America shaping up?
– It is opening up gradually for my type of music and some of the stations are back to what they used to be before the collapse in the early nineties. I am going to do an interview with KNAC here in Los Angeles tomorrow and they are now playing music that spans the last 30 years or so. People are so tired of all the crap, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and Slipknot. It is just crap. People want songs with strong melodies and real people that performs them. This business needs to turn the clock back but everything goes in circles anyway. Things are getting better. I am so happy to be working with Glenn Hughes now. I recall that moment when I asked him if he wanted to go to Japan with me and when he said “I would never do it for anybody else, but I will do it for you”, and that is how it started. And Pony Canyon saw how good it was and came up to us and said “Do you guys want to record an album together?”. It all fell into place and we sealed the deal with a handshake. I mean, this is so natural and we are having a lot of fun doing it. I think that Glenn appreciates it from the heart as well and I gave him more space in the old Deep Purple tunes than maybe David did. But I did say early on that if we were going to do this it could not be a funk thing, and he realised that. This is for the fans that have supported us through our rock years.
I am looking forward to this record and I think that a lot of people do.
– I think so to and I am happy about this because I know that there is no way that people are going to feel that we have let them down. We want to tour and I really do hope that we can come to Europe with this record and to Sweden. And I want to come over with my band as well. We have to wait and see, who knows what is going to happen now. Anything could happen and we have to deal with it come hell or high water.
Michael Eriksson (2001)
(No parts of these interviews may be quoted without permission)