Archive for the ‘Classic Rock – Interviews’ Category

RF7 

This is a brand new interview with Swedish guitarist/singer/songwriter Michael “Mojo” Nilsson that will be in print in RETROFUTURE 7 in the Spring/early summer. I think a proper preview from this upcoming issue could be a good thing to have on the blog and I really like this artist. We are from the same town, Östersund (in Jämtland County, Sweden). The actual magazine will feature more Mojo stuff. Enjoy!

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Let us begin by looking back at 2013. How was this year for you?

– It´s been a great year. My son Luke Marlon Lennart was born and I finally released my record. I also made a face-lift that cost me a fortune. Just kiddin´…

The release of your second album “The Abduction of Big Papa Mojo” happened in the Spring and you had the big party at the Storsjöteatern venue in Östersund on April 5, was it nerve wrecking or how do you handle these things?

– Well the preparations before (the gig) took some serious time. Lots of stuff to think about when you throw a party like that. We didn´t know how many people would show up. But it turned out to be a success. Around 450 people showed up, which is something of a record for that kind of party in my town. I love performing, so that part was the most enjoyable.

I have heard people talk about the record with great enthusiasm and I think you proved a point with this album. But there was an earlier release that escaped my attention at the time. What is the lowdown on the first album and how is it different from the second?

– Thank you. Yeah, the first album I made was recorded entirely live, with a 6-piece band, including horns. That album is definitely more traditional than the second. More jazzy, traditional Chicago blues stuff. But it´s still tight and energized with many fire breathing passionate guitar solos. The band put absolutely everything they got into every song. The second album is more produced though, in a good way.

Can fans still buy a copy of the first and if not, could a second print come along some day?

– Locally, I think that Estrad Norr Jämtland still might have a few copies around for sale.

How do you feel about Spotify and this whole business about buying music online?

– It´s a complex matter. But as long as the deals are legal and they pay out royalties as they have been negotiated, I guess it´s fine. I´d rather buy my records though, at least those that I really want to have. But maybe I´m just being old-fashioned.

Did you consider an LP version of “The Abduction of Big Papa Mojo”, one of these limited edition things?

– I would very much love to see that happen. But it may not happen right now. Maybe a very limited edition then.

Is it true that your participation in The Voice delayed the album for months and that the record label that was involved in that show wanted to re-model you? What happened there?

– That is true. They weren´t that keen on releasing a bluesrock album and some suggestions were being formed about me doing some crazy stuff. Some people even expressed interest in having yours truly dancin´ around in tight spandex with a wig, singin´ schlager metal. Everyone who knows me and the way I´m built would have a good laugh at those ideas.

People can have opinions about shows like The Voice, but what is your take on it?

– To be honest, I had barely watched talent shows before and I wasn´t very impressed. But The Voice was different in many ways. The jury was not as self absorbed as in other shows, and their main focus was not to insult the participants. I had great fun and it was an honor that the Swedish people voted for me all the way to the second place in the competition.

Are you preparing stuff for a new album?

– Yes I am. I have a handful of riffs and a few vocal ideas now that I will elaborate into full songs when I get the time. It will be some heavier shit this time, for sure.

How important is social media, like Facebook, for marketing?

– It´s very important these days. That´s why I´m there. You reach a lot of people. Lots of strange things going on though, that irritates the hell out of me… YouTube is great though. I have over 1.500.000 views on my YouTube channel now…

You play with a pool of extremely talented musicians that live in these parts, how would you describe the local music scene these days?

– Yeah, my fellow musicians are all extraordinarily talented and they´re brimming with personality too. The local music scene is good I think. Great bands and great musicians has always emerged from this area. The only thing to wish for might be even more stages for live performances.

Is it harder to get gigs these days? I heard somebody say that it was recently.

– I haven´t noticed a dramatic change, but I´ve never been the kind of guy who hunt for gigs and promote myself constantly. I guess I´ve been lucky enough to get gigs anyway.

OK, let us go back in time. Were you born in Östersund?

– Yes I was, but I grew up on Frösön, the beautiful island of the lake Storsjön (The Great Lake).

Any early memories?

– I spent a lot of time playing with the neighborhood kids, making our own games. My grandfather made all sorts of weapons out of wood for me. All the kids wanted to borrow them. He also wrote “this belongs to Fartface” on my leather football when I was about seven. I recall that one older guy pissed himself when he read the inscription. I wasn´t that amused.

How old were you when music came into your life? Do you recall your first records and do you still have them in your collection?

– When I was about five, I listened a lot to my dad´s Elvis records on the Sun Label. But that was about it. It wasn´t until I was nine and visited a friend of mine and saw his older brother´s Kiss collection that I really got hooked on music. Seeing all the posters and hearing that music made a huge impression on me. A blood spitting bass player and a drummer raised by saber-toothed tigers. Can you ask for more? My first LP´s were Kiss “Destroyer” and Iron Maiden´s “Killers”. I bought the Maiden record the day it was released. Still have both.

How did you discover all this blues stuff, most of that happened before your day so to speak.

– Since I became a huge fan of Heavy Rock music I also discovered ZZ Top when they had their big break with the “Eliminator” album. I´ve always been keen on learning stuff, reading everything I could about the bands I dug. Then I read an interview with Billy Gibbons when he talked about his blues heroes. So I gave that a try. I was floored by the blues then, you might say.

You have told me that you visited me as a kid to check out my Deep Purple collection.

– I think the mother of a friend of mine knew your mother, so he knew that you were a huge Deep Purple fan. Being 10 years old and heavy rockers, we were curious and very nervous. So we made something up about returning some some borrowed sugar or something, and payed the great Deep Purple wizard a visit! There was a small sign on the door ” Deep purple fan club”. You gave me a magazine of yours, which featured an interview with Ritchie Blackmore. You also said “you seem to have a good taste of music, kid. Stick to that!” I remember it clearly.

Take me through your early days and the first bands that you were in. I assume you met friends in school that shared your interests and that it all started in the classic way?

– One of my friends had an older sister who dated one of the guitar players of 220 Volt for some time. So my friend picked up the guitar and wanted to start a band. He forced me into playing drums, “Hey, I can see you can keep good time the way you hammer your legs like a chimp while listening to music all the time”. So I started to play drums in a Metal band. The name was oozing with fire and brutality. The name was…. BRONCO BILL! Ain´t that cheesy? My second band was The Flapjacks. But by then I had switched to guitar and vocals.

Do you recall your first gig?

– That was Lucia evening 1986. Performance in front of most of the pupils of our school in the assembly hall. We nailed it! But the guitar player was so nervous that he turned his back to the audience for the whole show.

How important was 220 Volt to your generation?

– They were huge. A great inspiration and a very good band. As a matter of fact, the first song I ever played was a 220 Volt song: “Prisoner of War”. I think I still have a recording of that version somewhere…

Do you play any instruments besides the guitar?

– As I mentioned above, I played drums for a while. But believe me, I´m no Ian Paice on the drums. As a matter of fact, I´m not even the pimple on his right buttocks. I tried harmonica for a time as well. But there´s more to harmonica playing than inhale-exhale like a drunk Bob Dylan. It´s hard to play bluesharmonica. Lot´s o people think they can. But often it sounds like bird-poop falling from the sky.

Did you get tutored in any way or are you self taught?

– I´m entirely self taught. When I started playing, you could learn through other players, by listening to records and stuff. Today, every goddamn lick or song that ever was invented is up there on YouTube, with some guy who shows you how to play it. It´s a lot easier. That´s why we see so many whiz-kidz out there.

Name a few guitarists that really inspired you as a kid.

– Angus Young, Ace Frehley, Billy Gibbons, Johhny Winter, Ritchie Blackmore, Eric Clapton and Peter Green.

Did you always sing as well as play the guitar?

– No, drums only at first. I knew I could sing, but I was a little bit shy at the beginning. So we brought in some other guy who barely was in tune.

Name a few singers that stood out for you.

– I love Aretha Franklin. Probably the best vocalist of all time. She has it all. Power with a lot of soul. But David Coverdale in his early days with Whitesnake was unbeatable. He was Tarzan on vocals. A male singer should have “good size nuts-kind of a voice” in my book. Bon Scott. Sounds like he gargels sand and spits fire at the same time. What a great singer and master of tongue in cheek-lyrics. Rob Halford – The Metal God. Ronnie James Dio, Glenn Hughes, Paul Stanley, the master showman with an incredible voice. BB King, Little Milton, Edgar Winter. I could go on forever…

I have always maintained that as a singer you have the power of Tom Jones and I have heard other people mention his name as well, as a positive nod. Was he ever an inspiration?

– Thank you! Yes, he is a great inspiration. He can still bark some incredible stuff out for his age. That´s a smooth sounding voice, yet very powerful. Sounds black and soulful.

I could see Tom Jones do an amazing cover of your “Mojo Party” track, I really could.

– Me too! We should send it to him I think. It´s an amazing idea, he he… I can see him singin´ it in skin tight leather pants, with a big smile on his face.

You have met one or two heroes, can you share some of those memories?

– Oh yes. I met BB King backstage in Sweden in the early 90´s. Just me – “Sit down, son”! – mumbled some stupid things in awe about inspiration, but he took his time. He gave me a few guitar picks and a couple of signed pics. Conny Bloom from Electric Boys was waitin´ outdoors to met him as well. But the body guard chose this skinny, goofy looking guy with round glasses instead (me).

Are you a collector? Can we discuss your record collection a little?

– Yes indeed. Right now, I´m hooked on early Kiss records and Classic Rock. For a while I bought a huge amount of blues records, both CD´s and vinyl. My record collection is a mix of Blues, Rock, Classic Rock and some harder stuff as well…. Very guitar oriented I guess. Not too many Britney Spears records… yet.

How many LP´s and CD´s do you own, roughly?

– Oh, that´s a tricky question since most of it is packed in boxes right now since we just moved in. But a rough estimate would be around 1.500 cd´s and over a thousand LP´s.

Do you still buy LP´s?

– Yes I do, unfortunatly. It´s a rather expensive hobby. I watch e-bay and other forums constantly since there are no record stores left around here. I like the smell of an old LP. Delicious…

How important is the cover art for you?

– The cover art is very important to me. Some of my greatest musical memories are from the times when I laid flat-back, watching the record covers, with the music ripping through my ears. I hold Iron Maidens´s cover art in high regard. Many people bought those records on the strength of the cover alone. I´m constantly finding new things. Small details, like for instance, small people fornicating like baboons on the back cover of “Then Number of The Beast” album. I was constantly trying to draw Eddie in school as a child. The greatest cover of all time is Kiss “Destroyer” though. Followed by “Iron Maiden´s “Killers”.

What is the most precious record in your collection and why?

– I have this rare Japanese Edition of Ozzy´s “Bark At The Moon” with a complete sheet of Ozzy´s tatoos. Also some rare Kiss records with the original posters, books and merchandise sheets still intact. The most precious one is my first record ever, a well worn copy of “Destroyer”.

What is your opinion on the CD and do you think that physical product might go away completely some day or are people like us going to rebel against that in sufficient numbers?

– I never liked the CD as much as vinyl. The sound is not as good, and I like the the size better on the LP when it comes to the cover. They get scratched quite easily on the surface also. But it´s easy to carry and I prefer it before streaming and mp3s. But I love that it has liner notes and artwork you still can touch. I don’t think the CD format will ever completely disappear.

Your music is released by Nowamind Records, can you tell us a little bit about them?

– It´s a small record company based in Östersund. The owner, Joakim Nordborg is a great guy with good ideas, and he is also a skilled graphical designer.

Would you agree that an independent label is sometimes better for the integrity of an artist than a major label?

– Much better. A good label acts as a supporting, creative boost for the artist.

Björn Höglund has been involved in many ways, he is obviously a multi talented guy. Will you work together again for the next album?

– I don´t know yet, since he is a very busy guy. But I would be surprised if he was not involved in some way. He is amongst many other things, a very skilled song-writer and producer. We work very well together, and he knows exactly what to expect from me, and how to bring it out.

The “Mojo Party” video is great fun. Do you like making videos?

– Thank you. Again, it´s Björn Höglund producing. We had great fun shooting it. Making videos is great fun during such circumstances.

I know that you would like to move into Classic Rock a little bit more, do you think that your hard core audience can accept an album that presents a whole new side to you?

– Hopefully, they would like it. It´s still me. Blues and Classic Rock are not that far from each other I think. Like Muddy Waters said: ” The blues had a baby and they named it Rock and Roll”.

Are there any Classic Rock songs that you would love to cover? Any thoughts about that?

– Plenty of good songs out there. The great challenge with that is taking someone else´s song and making it your own, without losing the original feel completely. I like our version of “Oh well” on the album. It has the integrity of the original, mixed with a heavier, more bombastic approach. I´m thinking of doing “Lady Luck”, from Deep Purple´s “Come Taste the Band”. Great song, and more obscure than some other more obvious choices.

You have done quite a lot of concerts, do you have a few shows that you really thought stood out?

– Yeah, there are a few blues shows when you find yourself almost in a trance, with a great flow and interacting between the musicians. When the geetahhhh siiiings! We did a show in Kluk, Jämtland many years ago. It was recorded by Sveriges Radio, P4 and broadcasted a few times. Great show with the whole band loaded with energy. Also the shows we did with Deep Purple tribute act Mark III were great. You will find a Mark III show on YouTube.

What kind of show is the worst and why?

– When the audience is shit faced on booze and don´t give a damn about the music. When I was younger I played quite a few hillbilly joints. People would dance even when the songs were ended, kicking the microphone stand and fighting, vomiting and sometimes, even insulting the band.

Have you played on other people´s albums?

– Yes, every now and then I contribute with guitar or vocals. One of the more memorable things was when Björn Höglund and I recorded one AC/DC cover and one Tom Jones song for a live DVD featuring the Swedish artist Carl- Einar Häckner. The original tracks had to be removed with short notice since he didn´t own the rights for those. So we made our versions, close to the originals.

I have seen you a few times and I really want a Mojo live album or two in my collection. When are we going to get that?

– I would love to that. Whenever I get the chance.

Have you recorded shows, what do you have in the vaults? Did you record anything that we didn´t get to hear on the second album session?

– Most of the stuff recorded for the second album ended up on the actual record. There are some good stuff in the vaults though, a few concert recordings of my own, and some recorded by Sveriges Radio, P4.

As the title suggests, you were kind of kidnapped. Exactly what went down and how did this whole thing happen?

– Jens Ganman phoned me and said that he wanted me to record a guitar solo for his upcoming single. Just a quick session. I didn´t even want to bring my own guitar. When I came to the studio, the whole band was there waiting for me. What a shock! Very touching actually. A great gift. We started working immediately.

I raved about the album on my blog Trinkelbonker and included the post on a spread in RETROFUTURE 6 (Purple edition), did you get any feedback from that?

– Yes I did. The feedback was great. Many people who would not have discovered the album otherwise checked it out! Thanks!

Glad to support you. Let us talk a little about other interests. I understand that you are a bit of a history buff?

– I’m very interested in history. I also work as a history teacher when I’m not out playing music.

How much have you studied our local history and could more be done to introduce our kids to our past in your opinion?

– I have made very extensive studies of the local history. For instance, one of my essays from the university is published in the book “Jämtland mellan två statsystem”. It is about Jamtland’s armed forces during the 1600´s, when they fought in Germany and Poland. When I worked at the museum, we tried to reach young people through drama. It worked pretty good.

Do you collect books?

– Sure. Much history, art and music related stuff.

Comic books?

– I have collected comic books since I was little. Luckily we have a large basement now. In that sense, I never grow up.

Anything else? Cars?

– No, but I also collect guitars.

Do you go the the cinemas and if you do what sort of films are you into?

– I do not go as often as before. But I love the escapism of the big adventures like for instance “The Hobbit”. I’m a Marvel Comics fan, so I watch those whenever I get the chance. I´m also a fan of Woody Allen.

Do you have some favorite movies?

– Yes. Woody Allen´s “Sweet and Lowdown” with Sean Penn as a crazy guitar player in the 30´s. Also, “Gladiator”. Candy for anyone who is interested in ancient history, even if it´s fictive to a large extent.

Do you own a man cave, a proper full sized all purpose hobby room?

– Yes, I’ve just completed it in our new house. It will be amazing.

Do you agree that every man should?

– If you have the opportunity, of course!

You were asked to come up with a Mojo Christmas tree for City Hall here in Östersund last year, and it had skulls and flying V guitars on it. Tell us about that and the reaction.

– It was incredibly fun to design. The reactions from some people were silly. “Skulls in a Christmas tree is horribly inappropriate. I will certainly boycott the city this year” . But most people appreciated it very much. In particular younger people and children. It was actually featured in the newspaper DN as well.

It braved one hell of a storm on December 12, but the skulls and the guitars remained. A sign from the Gods?

– Of course! You can never defeat Rock and Roll! Not even with the unbridled wrath of the storm…

Looks like people wants you to do all sorts of things, which is the other side of the coin I guess. You were part of my Deep Purple party at Jane Doe on November 23 and this in spite of you also playing a gig that same night elsewhere. I can´t tell you how much I appreciated your presence.

– Thank you. It was very nice to be a part of that night.

What is your take on my hobby, creating magazines?

– I have always had a great respect for what you do. Good starting point: you create the magazine that you would like to read yourself, but can´t find anywhere else. Amazing articles of different kinds, always worth reading. Just love it! The contacts you made in the music industry over the years is truly amazing. The fact that you have received such acknowledgment from your own idols throughout the years really says it all I think.

I will end this interview with a request. Tell the world a little bit about Jämtland (County) and why this is such a wonderful place on this Earth of ours. Be a spokesperson for us all.

– Jämtland really has it all for me. That´s why I live here. Exceptional fishing waters and majestic mountains. Östersund: one of the few places in the world where you can catch a big trout just five minutes from the city. Astonishing views as well as nice people. Tasty locally produced food with a healthy touch. Lots of great music too. You will not be disappointed.

Michael Eriksson (2014)

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

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DPF31 

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)

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.

* * * * *

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…

* * * * *

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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HughesNorum_1988 

The last weekend of June 1988 was a good one for me because it was then that I met my idol Glenn Hughes for the first time for an interview in Stockholm (at a place called Fryshuset, in which he was rehearsing with John Norum and his band at the time). It was early days for this collaboration and the situation at the time was that John Norum had a tour to do and this was set to start in August. The fact that Glenn Hughes had joined forces with John would probably have meant that a new band name would have been in the cards later on but at the time of my chat with John and Glenn for Metal Hammer (in Germany) they had not resolved this issue. I did not take any pictures that day, I can´t remember now if I wasn´t meant to or if I simply had no camera with me. My guess is that they wanted a professional photoshoot for that for the media. I don´t know how many interviews they did during these few weeks, but soon after this meeting Glenn was asked to leave and the project fell through. John drafted in singer Göran Edman and it was him that could be seen in the German Metal Hammer article (with this interview!) that summer – slightly sad I guess. Eventually, Glenn did sing on John Norum´s “Face The Truth” record in 1992, so they did close this aborted project with some grace a few years later. My impression of Glenn at the time was that he was in bad shape. I was very happy to meet him, but it was a star fallen from grace that I had in front of me that day. Not that it mattered, I was only too happy to support this new band and I wanted them to succeed. The fact that it blew up soon after this meeting made it a little bit special – I got a glimpse of something that few got to see. This translation is picked from a Swedish newspaper called Folket (printed on July 15 1988). I reprinted this in RETROFUTURE 5 last year. Enjoy!

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John, I understand that you have followed Glenn´s career closely through the years, is that correct?

John / – Yes, I guess I was about twelve when I first heard Deep Purple´s “Burn” and then I bought “Stormbringer” and “Come Taste The Band”, the Trapeze albums and his solo record “Play Me Out”. I always thought that Glenn was the best singer in Deep Purple, that he was better than David Coverdale.

It must be a little strange to get to work with an old idol?

John / – Yes, it certainly is, but it is a wonderful thing. Glenn is a bit funky and that suits the band just fine.

Glenn / – It can only be a matter of time before the world realise just how good John is. I know that he is big here in Sweden already, but I am talking about the world. More people will take him seriously now that I am working with him. John is the only guitarplayer today that can mix speed with emotion. He is the best guitarist in the world right now.

Glenn, it is a well known fact that you have seen some bad things during your career, is the prospect of a six month tour a frightening thought?

Glenn / – No, because in this band we are friends. It is also the first drug free band that I have ever worked with. For once I don´t have to be surrounded by people that take drugs. It is nice to not have to be part of that scene. I left Los Angeles for Atlanda for that very reason, I felt I needed the change. I stopped doing drugs five years ago for the simple reason that I want to live. Me and my girlfriend live on a ranch outside the city and we have some animals there. It is a good life.

Is it true that you were going to form a band with Tommy Bolin?

Glenn / – Yes, we had talked about it. He was my best friend and we talked about doing something when he had finished touring for “Private Eyes”. It never happened. I was at his funeral and it was a terrible thing.

So how did you hook up with John Norum?

Glenn / – When John left Europe I heard from fan club people in England that he liked me. I knew who he was because I had heard “The Final Countdown” and his playing on that was impressive. In September last year, I did an interview with Anders Tengner and I asked him if he knew John. He did, so he contacted him that same night and played the interview for him. Next morning around ten he called me up and we started to talk on a daily basis. You should have seen the phone bills! Eventually, he asked me to come over and see him play at Hammersmith Odeon in March.

Which songs from Glenn´s past are you going to perform live?

John / – We have rehearsed Purple´s “Lay Down Stay Down” and I would really love to do “Burn” as well. Gary Moore´s “Reach For The Sky”, naturally. Hughes Thrall´s “I Got Your Number”. I personally think that Pat Thrall is the best guitarist that Glenn has ever worked with in the past. “Coast To Coast” is another favourite. Plus, we will play my “Total Control” album. It is that record that I need to promote right now. We will not record a new record until next summer.

Glenn, some of your lyrics deal with strange things. On your 1977 solo album you have a track about Flying Saucers, have you seen anything yourself or…

Glenn / – No, but I am looking all the time (laughs). I do read about it and of other phenomena, it interests me. Ritchie Blackmore had strange seances going on when Deep Purple recorded in Clearwell Castle, but it was too scary for me. Things would be flying around in the air. I think it is wise to stay clear of things that you don´t know too much about. Even Ritchie could get freaked out, but then he scares easily. I do admire him, he is one of the great personalities in rock.

Have you met anybody from Deep Purple since the split in 1976?

Glenn / – Not really. But I don´t mind them carrying on because I am still part of the Purple organisation so I am still making money from those days. “Burn” is selling really well on CD right now.

Is it a bit strange to move to Sweden for this project now?

Glenn / – No, but everybody assumes that it is. To me it is just another step in my career and you go where the work is. I have already made some friends in Stockholm.

What is the name of this band really?

Glenn / – We will probably go out as John Norum featuring Glenn Hughes on this tour, after that I don´t know. Norum Hughes maybe? It doesn´t really matter as long as people know who we are. Me and John are going to sell the albums. Kind of reminds you of the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards situation, uh (laughs)?

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Michael Eriksson (1988)

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

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Turner_signedshot 

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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Turner_1993 

Back in the DEEP PURPLE FOREVER days things happened fast and I used to do interviews with people in the Deep Purple Family on a regular basis. These two chats with Joe Lynn Turner was made over the phone in February and November 1993 and saw print in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER (issues 7 and 8). I have to say that Joe Lynn Turner was a very decent chap for allowing me to call him at home. Looking back on this stuff, it really is like a postcard from 1993. Enjoy!

Photos, including magazine covers, by Michael Johansson – many thanks!

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February 27 1993 – Joe is out in the cold, the rock business is at an all time low. He is slowly finding his way back, and the will to carry on. Here is the chat we had that day.

Your girlfriend told me, as we set up this interview a few days ago, that you were in chilly Buffalo and played a gig with CPR. How many concerts are we talking about?

– Oh, this is something that I am doing just because it is so much fun. I am doing seven or eight shows with them. Just clubs. Al Petrelli is a friend so when he asked me if I wanted to do it I said yes. It was a great deal of fun.

I talked with Glenn Hughes recently and he said that after his blues album he wants to do his own thing now, which is of course funk and soul type stuff. Would you consider to make such an extreme move yourself musically and if you did what would the music in question be about?

– I am glad for Glenn´s sake if he moves in that direction now because I know that that is what he has always wanted to do more than anything else. So that must be good for him. I have early influences myself, like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye and Wilfred Pickett. It would be great fun to visit those early roots someday but at the moment I think I have three options, blues, hard rock and commercial pop & rock.

So what are you up to and what do you think is going to be your next move?

– Right now I am in a period in which the most important thing is to write strong new songs. That is my aim and it is what I am doing right now. I may put a band together and do some club gigs around April as the Joe Lynn Turner Band. It is nearly impossible to get a record deal in the traditional way in America now but if it happens it happens. Somebody might discover us? I would really enjoy to do a few festivals over in Europe as well if that came up. Just to meet the people and to get the profile up a bit. If we come over I want everybody to know that I am going to perform Deep Purple and Rainbow songs live, maybe even some Malmsteen stuff.

That would be great fun. I think that people would enjoy to hear for instance some of the old Rainbow songs again.

– I believe so. Nobody else is playing them, or have for a number of years. I did “Highway Star” with CPR the other night and the audience just loved it. We also did “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder, Hendrix “Little Wing” and “Superstition”.

If you record a new solo album, how would it be different from the one that you did in the mid eighties?

– Probably very much different. First of all, I don´t work with the same people today as I did then. I doubt that I would do a lot of covers either. Not even by my earliest influences, I think that Michael Bolton has done enough of that (laughs).

Yngwie Malmsteen was quoted in a major Swedish newspaper recently. He said that the reason that you did not re-join his band is that you are “mad”.

– He called me mad? Well, I guess he may have issues. The last time we spoke I tried to say, between the lines, why I didn´t want to work with him again. But if he behaves like this I hardly think that I have to be tactful anymore. The truth is, I didn´t feel that his personality had evolved very much since the last time that I saw him, and I told him as much. He may well think that everybody that doesn´t want to work with him is “mad”. I don´t know, but what does that tell you about him?

Have you been in touch with Deep Purples manager Bruce Payne since the split?

– Yes, I have heard that they are doing some mixes over in Los Angeles. One of the songs that Ritchie and I wrote are supposedly on the record, but I don´t know which one. Apparently, Ritchie liked it so much that he didn´t want to drop it.

Wouldn´t it be great if they released a second album with yourself, consisting of the left over tracks and some live material from Singapore? Or maybe the very first jam, the version of “Hey Joe” that was recorded the minute you stepped into the room on your first audition?

– Yes, that would be great, but I really doubt that they will even consider such a release in a while. Certainly not until after the new record is out. Obviously they wouldn´t want anything to clash with the current situation. But yes, the opportunity exists and I wouldn´t be too surprised if they released a posthumous album some day.

Are you in contact with John Norum at the moment?

– His new album is coming out here in the States now and I think that he would be interested in having me help him out with a few concerts here to promote it. But I am not sure if the timing is right, the plans should have been drawn up last year and not now.

Are you aware that people are saying that your health is not what it could be and that this is why Deep Purple fired you and also why you have not been visible in Europe for a while?

– What are you saying? This is so typical! This is how the media works, if you don´t have a high profile at the moment they start to make things up instead. I don´t want to make any interviews until I have something to say, to sell. I am healthy and I am working on new material. I will be more than happy to do a lot of interviews later on when I think that the time is right.

I would be glad to get a few interviews organised here in Sweden for you at that time Joe.

– I appreciate that. We can talk more about that later on. I´ll talk to everybody that wants to talk to me, no problem.

* * * * *

This second interview took place four days after Ritchie Blackmore´s last show with Deep Purple on November 21 1993. It was originally published in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 8 and with interviews such as this I think this club was quite relevant back in the day. The fact that so many was published really meant something. Joe begun by telling me something quite interesting…

– Rob Fodder, Ritchie´s personal assistant, called me up the other day. I know that Ritchie was in the same room. He said “Ritchie has got nothing but respect for you”. I thought that it was a little strange that Ritchie would contact me right after his split with Deep Purple, I admit that.

So you know about all the talk that is in full swing about the break up of Purple now?

– I have heard some, I have heard that Ritchie thought that he had major problems with Ian Gillan. I think there may be three sides to this story, the bands version, Ritchie´s version and then the truth!

Is it possible that Blackmore did the album with Gillan and the tour although he didn´t want to… maybe he just wanted out?

– That could well be true. Rob told me that when Gillan came in they told him not to scream so much and to add a more bluesy feel to the vocals for what became “The Battle Rages On”. I don´t think that Ritchie wanted to work with Gillan again. I think that the others may well have gotten together on the side and then they pushed me out to have a chance to get Gillan back.

So if this was a bit of a palace coup, then this may go back in time to when you were asked to leave?

– Isn´t that a very interesting theory? I have absolutely no reason to defend Ritchie but I think that he felt that he had to go along. They had already gotten the money and spent some so they must have felt that they had to go on. But I really don´t understand why Ritchie refused to go to Japan. I think that the band showing up without him is going to shock them.

What do you think about a Deep Purple without Ritchie Blackmore?

– That would be strange. As long as he is in the band it will definitely work as far as the songwriting goes. I never saw Jon Lord present an idea. Ian Paice is more interested in the money than he is of the musical end result. Roger could come up with some good ideas. I don´t know, they did manage to carry on once before with Tommy Bolin, but that was back in the heyday. I think that Ritchie felt that he kind of had to carry the whole thing on his own shoulders. That the others kind of made a good living on his work. When he quit, maybe that was his way of saying “Screw you, I don´t need you!”.

Maybe he has wanted to do something different for a long time?

– I think that may well be true. I read an interview with him in a paper recently and in it he said that he considered to put Rainbow back together again. If he calls me I will let you know.

That would be good fun and ofcourse it is up to you if you ever want to work with him again or not. What else is going on? What is happening with Mother´s Army?

– The album is out in Japan and it is doing very well. I am trying to get it out in other parts of the world right now. I will talk to a major company about this next week. Other than that my priority lies with the Joe Lynn Turner Band, or the Joe Lunn Turner All Star Band that we may call it if we take it out on the road. We are in fact doing a gig every now and then. This has grown from something that really wasn´t all that serious to start with and we have done shows in Philadelphia, Detroit, a few in Long Island were Ritchie lives, and New Jersey. Everything that we have done has been within a five hour drive from home. This is happening basically because the people seem to really enjoy it.

Are we talking about the band as before, with Al Petrelli and so on?

– We actually replaced him recently. He got a break with a band called Widowmaker. Our new guy is called Karl Cochran and he is a very good player with a good feel for the roots of rock. He is a little bit like Zakk Wylde in that respect. We did a show yesterday and he was great.

How is the situation with the record companies in the States? Are they signing up anything but grunge?

– I see small signs of change. I think that hard rock will be back in favour again. The people are getting tired of the grunge thing. Sadly, not many that works on the labels in America knows what they are doing now. Most of them are just interested in finding bands that can copy already established bands well.

Glenn Hughes told me recently that he believed that it will only take a band like Journey to get a major hit now and it will all come back again.

I think so to. I spoke with Glenn over the phone the other day. I like him. Things may change in January. The companies will work with new budgets then. I met a woman yesterday that had bought the Mother´s Army album on import for 40 dollars and that to me is an outrage, it shouldn´t have to be like that. I have co-written four songs for an album that will be out on EMI soon, the band is called Bloodline. It is a band that has been put together by sons from people in bands like The Allman Brothers and The Doors. It is pretty good. As for myself I am trying to get a deal for an album that is going to be commercial sounding, a little like Michael Bolton.

So your plate is pretty full Joe?

– Yes, and that feels good. Do you know what I have heard? I heard that Ritchie thought about playing my version of “The Battle Rages On” through the loudspeakers before the Deep Purple shows! So when it came down to it, he preferred my version of that album. He felt the disrespect of the others.

Towards the end he only communicated with the others through handwritten notes.

– That sounds like Ritchie! If he should reform Rainbow, I think that we could do a very good album together. The timing might be pretty good for it to happen. We have to wait and see.

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Michael Eriksson (1993)

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

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SteveLukather_1989

Back in the days when I was a freelance journalist I met Toto and Steve Lukather a few times (I counted seven, when that chapter was over), and he always struck me as a super decent fellow. As a guitar player and writer, he certainly has the chops, but I have always enjoyed him as a singer as well. Back in September 1989, I met him at Hotel Plaza in Stockholm (Sweden) for a chat about his then newly released first solo album “Lukather”. This is a translation from a translation, picked from a newspaper here in Östersund (LT, September 16 1989). I also re-printed this interview in RETROFUTURE 4 in 2011 along with some other related stuff from back in the day (a Toto Special, if you like). In recent years, Steve has been busy with Toto and other exciting projects, and his solo career is going strong with records like “All´s Well That Ends Well” (2010) and “Transition” (2012). But this is a chat from when he started his own thing, and I guess this interview reflects that era pretty well. Enjoy!

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So Steve, when did you begin to think about a solo album?

– Well, I have been thinking about it for years. When we got back home after the last tour with Toto we decided to let the band rest for a bit. After ten or eleven years it felt like we needed it. But I couldn´t stop playing and friends of mine – some are on this record – started to talk me into doing a solo album. That got the ball rolling and soon enough it was a project.

How did you get the big names to guest on it, did you just pick up the phone?

– Oh, that was easy, they are my friends. I offered them to write and to produce the stuff with me as well so they felt that it was as much fun as I did. It would have been easy to have hired a few professional musicians, but I wanted it to be more… I wanted the attitude! Some of the players that you hear on this album would never have done this for anybody else, so it is special.

The track with Eddie Van Halen certainly sounds like Van Halen…

– Yes, but he has his specific style. We are friends and we are also neighbors so we hang out all the time. I was at him to contribute something and suddenly the phone rang at about one thirty at night and it was him saying that he now had a song that he wanted to do with me. He was on the road with Van Halen at the time, the Monsters of Rock tour. So he actually plays bass on this track.

Was it intentional to open up the album with the toughest song?

– Yes, because if the record had opened with one of the more commercial tracks people might have thought that it was just a Toto Jr album, and I didn´t want that. As a matter of fact, the first side of the album is harder than the second. The record company pestered me for more commercial songs – in fact, they really only wanted songs like that – but I would never have done that.

Have you done a video for the first single, “Lonely Beat of My Heart”, yet?

– Yes, and it turned out OK I think. I realised that the song itself was pretty commercial, so I tried to toughen up the look of the video a little. The video should have been out by now but I guess that somebody has screwed it up somewhere.

Who is in the video apart from yourself?

– The guys in my live band, like bass player John Pierce and drummer John Keegan. They also play on the record.

Will you take this to the road?

– I have already begun! I payed a visit to Japan with Jeff Beck recently and I hope to be back here in Sweden by November if I can.

So how long will Toto be on hold?

– We are not sure about that at the moment. But there will be a “Greatest Hits” album on the market by October that will include some new stuff that our original singer Bobby Kimball sings on. They are called “Modern Eyes” and “Going Home” and I think they are pretty good. Who the next singer in Toto will be we just don´t know. This thing with Bobby was more for old times sake.

I heard that you had problems getting this record released?

– Yes, the record company tried to control everything, and that is not their job. Record companies can really get on your nerves. It ended with my manager buying back the tapes and selling them to C.R.I and we made good money in the process. So the album will be released by another company in America, early next year. It was a bad situation that turned into a good situation. When I record the next album it will be exactly how I want it to be. 75% of this one was stuff that I wanted and the rest was added because of outside pressure. I tried to avoid including too much pop, which of course was the only thing they wanted from me.

Does this mean that Toto will switch labels in America as well now?

– Well, to be honest, I have to say that I hate the people at Columbia Records, I think they are a bunch of assholes. They just look at what is on the Top 10 at the moment, and then they tell their artists to copy that. They essentially want you to sound like everybody else and that is one of the major problems in the industry right now. I mean, what the hell happened to originality? Zeppelin did Zeppelin and The Stones did The Stones – it was their own thing. Thank God that The Stones are still around. I love the new album, you can hear right away that it is them. But look at all these Metal bands – they all look and sound the same. Boring!

The last time Toto was here the band also jammed at a club after the concert that night – is this something that you do often?

– I wish we did it more often! A gig like that can often be more fun to play than the actual show that night. The pressure is off and you know that you can relax a little. Every note does not have to be perfect. People are often surprised when they see us jam stuff by The Stones and other artists that they may think that we can´t do justice.

Yes, because in Toto you have this invisible straight jacket on, musically speaking…

– Exactly. A lot of people may get frightened if we suddenly played harder than what they would expect us to. At the same time, as a musician, one needs to feel that there is some room to grow. That is one of the reasons that Toto needs to rest. It is not that we don´t like each other or anything like that. We just felt that it was in the bands interest to rest a while. We noticed some aggression within the band on the last tour, mostly because of Joseph´s troubles with his performances. It was a frustrating period for us and we felt that we might as well stop it. It might have ended with people screaming at each other if we had not. When I told the others that I was going to do a solo album they were all very happy for me. They supported me and that felt good.

Some of your roots comes from jazz rock, right? Guys like Tommy Bolin?

– Yes, Tommy Bolin and Jeff Beck. I first heard Tommy on Billy Cobham´s “Spectrum”, which was amazing. Everybody played so well on that album. Jan Hammer, Cobham… and it was all played live in the studio. You can hear Tommy break a string in one of the songs! Have you heard Beck´s new album? It is so fucking good! He is phenomenal on it. Jeff might tour Europe next year and if he does I hope I can tag along. We had a blast in Japan together. Neal Schon´s new band Bad English was also on the bill and we jammed stuff like “Going Down” together.

So right now, it would be fair to say that all you want to do is tour this album as much as you can?

– Yes, because it feels like a new beginning. I can´t play the big arenas, like Toto, nobody can do that this early on. So it will be clubs and I am really looking forward to it. Playing clubs is a whole different thing, people are drinking cocktails and feeling good, with the band entertaining them as the spice of the evening. You can´t have that in an arena, when you have spent hours in some dressing room just waiting for the show to begin. It is good for my soul to play to people. Back in Los Angeles I jam with people all the time, at bars and in clubs for no pay. I just do it for fun.

You sing on this album. In Toto you will sing on a couple of tracks on an album. So how does this feel? Will it work on stage as well?

– It is pretty hard work but you quickly learn what you can do and what you should avoid if you want to keep your voice in shape. But I move around more on stage now and I have a singer called Warren Ham from Texas with me for some of the songs. He can do the bluesier tracks really well. We will perform stuff by Hendrix, the James Gang and Beck on this tour. We want to give the audience something special and I am sure that people want to hear more than the songs on the album. The set will change from night to night. When the crowd leaves I want them to feel that they have heard something special. Something that they may never hear us do again.

You haven´t thought about leaving Los Angeles? Some people already have, like Glenn Hughes who relocated to Atlanta…

– Los Angeles really is a dump and it worries me because of my two children. It is not a good place for children. When I was in Japan my wife was struck down and robbed. Los Angeles is filthy and filled with junkies. And on top of that you have the smog, which is not very nice. But on the other hand, you have all your friends there and the recording industry almost exclusively dwell there. But it is a fact that I try to avoid my own home town as much as I can. I know Glenn Hughes well, he used to go out with my wifes sister. Have you met him recently? Do you know what he is doing now?

I heard that he sang on the new Whitesnake album, and that he got 40.000 dollars for it.

– Wow, David Coverdale is really spending a lot of money on this record. I heard that Steve Vai got 300.000 dollars to join. I love these guys because they have done so much great music over the years. I was a big fan of Deep Purple in my teens and I still listen to them. I love Ritchie Blackmore´s personal style. So many have copied him, but he is the greatest.

Have you had that? People copying you?

– Yeah, there are a few guys out there actually. One of them sounds so much like me that I have people coming up to me asking me if I didn´t play this and that song! I don´t know how Blackmore feels about it but I am just a little surprised and slightly flattered. It is a bit of a compliment after all, even if it would be better for these guys if they did their own thing.

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Michael Eriksson (1989)

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

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