Haven E-Interview Joe Lynn Turner
a long-term memory that associates Joe Lynn Turner with a Rainbow connection
and the color Purple, in some ways his solo work has suffered. Not because
it lacked quality, but because there was a certain expectation to pay tribute
to his roots. Though Joe Lynn Turner has never been afraid to show the colors
of his past, the Hughes Turner Project has been the more appropriate vehicle
for this expression. Meanwhile, as a solo artist Joe Lynn Turner has matured
and grown with a delivery that is tinged with the blues with its decidedly
melodic rock approach.
In 1985, somewhere
“over” the Rainbow, Joe Lynn Turner had the opportunity to release
his first solo effort “Rescue You”. Though the songs continue
to be very catchy even today, the production standard is not so kind and it
sounds very dated. Nevertheless, it was an impressive debut that even provided
Turner with some radio exposure courtesy of the minor hit “Endlessly”.
His solo career
was placed on hold when he teamed up with the demanding guitar wizard Yngwie
Malmsteen. The partnership created Malmsteen’s most successful and commercial
album to date entitled “Odyssey”. Much like Turner’s predecessors
and successors, his time with Malmsteen was brief as Turner walked through
Malmsteen’s revolving door of band members. Equally as brief was his
ability to work with Ritchie Blackmore again, only this time with Deep Purple
only to be quickly replaced by the prodigal Ian Gillian. Joe Lynn Turner once
again found himself on the outside looking in.
It was clear
that Turner was disappointed that this had not worked out and the early 90’s
saw him lying low. However, by 1995 he regrouped and released his second album
of solo material in the shape of “Nothing’s Changed”. And
unfortunately the album lived up to its title as it saw even less success
than “Rescue You”. In fact the promotion of this album was deplorable
as I did not even know it existed until much later when I ran into it by accident
in my local used cd store. Yet it is probably my favored Turner album with
its strong R &B influence that has the least to do with his past.
to keep himself busy with the Swedish project Brazen Abbot as well as the
underrated super-group Mother’s Army that featured the likes of Jeff
Watson, Bob Daisley and Carmen Appice. With the grunge and alternative scene
in full swing the rank and file of Mother’s Army was not enough to perk
the ears of the public and all 3 albums saw a limited Japanese release. And
still to date there has been no domestic version. Turner decided to abide
his time and released two cover albums entitled “Undercover” and
“Undercover 2”. Though this was not one of his best moves artistically,
it at least garnered some domestic attention courtesy of the independent Shrapnel
Records and also put his name back into circulation.
In 1999, Turner
switched gears and put his career in overdrive and released “Hurry Up
And Wait” with its underlying blues delivery. Since then Turner has
not looked back and has been very prolific and released “Holy Man”,
“Slam” and his most recent endeavor “JLT” cornering
the market with his blues riddled melodic rock.
For those of
us resistant to this musical exploration, Turner decided to team up with the
Voice of Rock Glenn Hughes to form the “imaginatively” titled
group the Hughes Turner Project. Geared more to their glory days in Purple
and Rainbow, these two legends decided to put their lungs together to form
this monster partnership. Frankly, it had disaster written all over it had
their egos taken control. Instead, the project supports the old age proverbial
statement that iron sharpens iron as these two cats challenge one and another
to higher levels of vocal consciousness. Yes I am quoting myself from the
HTP 2 review :-)
Much of this
has to do with the relaxed and laid back attitude of this New Jersey born
American that I had the honor of meeting backstage at a recent Alan Parsons
concert. Meanwhile Hughes and Turner are busy touring in support of the “HTP
2” album yet Joe Lynn Turner still had time to let me ask some questions
courtesy of a “Q&A” interview via email.
HRH: You got
your first taste of success courtesy of the critically acclaimed West Coast
sound of Fandango back in the late 70’s. With the exception of “The
Best of Fandango” released in Japan, to my knowledge nothing has been
put out on cd. Any discussion of releasing the entire Fandango catalog on
"Not that I know of. Although I never thought "Rescue You"...my
first solo album on Elektra from the mid 80s...would ever be re-released.
But, there is this label, Wounded Bird records, that specializes in re-issues
of hard to find classic from the 60s, 70s and 80s. They even put what was
only available on vinyl on CD and when Fandango first came out; the albums
were only released on vinyl. Apparently this company takes fan suggestions
so if enough people contact then maybe the original Fandango albums can get
re-issued. The website is "http://www.woundedbird.com"
featured guitarist Rick Blakemore. Then came your big break when Ritchie Blackmore
sought you out to replace Graham Bonnet as Rainbow’s vocalist. Almost
like it was meant to be. How did the Rainbow connections occur and are you
still in contact with Ritchie today?
"I am still in contact with Ritchie; in fact, his manager Carol Stevens’s
emailed me about singing with his wife Candace Night on an upcoming Blackmore's
Night album. As of the date of this interview nothing has been solidified
but I am hoping we can work together on that project and maybe on others.
It would be great to work with Ritchie again. As for how it all came about;
I was living in New York City and literally got a call from Blackmore. I went
to meet him at a studio, sung "I Surrender" and a couple other tracks
from "Difficult To Cure" and he handed me a beer and said, "You're
hired." It was very surreal especially considering I was also in a Deep
Purple cover band in my younger years."
HRH: Many would
accuse you of being a glutton for punishment going from Blackmore to the equally
demanding Malmsteen or for that matter the driven Glenn Hughes yet you seemed
to bring the best out in all of them. What is your secret?
I really think you need to be an armchair psychologist. I say know thyself
and once you do that you can understand others and help shape them into the
better parts of their nature."
HRH: Your reunion
with Ritchie Blackmore courtesy of your brief stint with Deep Purple in 1990
must have been a disappointment. Clearly, Blackmore wanted you but how did
the other band members receive you?
was not a total disappointment. We made a great album, "Slaves and Masters"
and wrote some other songs that were not released. It was a great experience.
As far as leaving Deep Purple goes, yes, that was disappointing because we
were still generating some great songs amongst ourselves and with outside
writers also. I felt that the other band members received me well, initially.
What happened after that was a result of in-band politics and to be honest,
I do not want to spend negative energy getting into the details. I completely
respect all of the members of Deep Purple and will always admire them for
their incredible contribution to rock and roll history."
HRH: The early
90’s was a dormant period for you. Then in 1995 you released “Nothing’s
Changed” with very little fanfare. Personally it is one of my favored
Joe Lynn Turner projects with a decidedly organic feel to it. With a strong
R & B influence to it the musical style was very distant from anything
you had done in the past. Was this intentional?
was absolutely intentional. I was tired of the same old thing and the songs
we put out on "Nothing's Changed" showed a different side of me
that I felt had to come out at that time. It was a very personal album also."
HRH: At the same
time you connected up with the super-group Mother’s Army and released
3 albums with them. I still have not found the self-titled debut album. How
did that project evolve? Any chances of additional projects with them? And
will the present catalog ever receive a domestic release?
It evolved initially with Jeff Watson and Bob Daisley. They called and asked
me if I wanted to sing with the project. I loved it. It was very deep and
the musicianship was outstanding but we had no luck really selling it to record
companies or management. Given today's music business climate there was just
not enough money in it to keep it going which is shame.
HRH: While “Holy
Man” continued with the solid underlying blues delivery that “Hurry
Up And Wait” had started, it also introduced us to a new writing partner
and guitarist Akira Kajiyama. This was further solidified on the album “Slam”
that veered back to shades of Purple and Rainbow. How did you guys meet?
"We met through a project in Japan, which was translated as The Legend
of Rainbow. I got together with the musicians and guested on the album and
Akira was the guitar player. I thought he was so phenomenal that I wanted
to work with him and the rest is history!"
HRH: While Akira
is prominent on HTP’s “Live In Tokyo” he is absent on your
most recent release “JLT”. Are you still in contact with Akira
or was there a falling out?
was absolutely no falling out. It was just time to move on for both of us
and that does not mean we will not work together in the future. Plus he had
things he was working on independently also. We did work together on the HTP
2004 Japanese tour and it was awesome!"
HRH: In 2001
you involved yourself with Nikolo Kotzev’s ambitious project “Nostradamus”.
It included the vocal pipes of Glenn Hughes, Jorn Lande, Goran Edman and Doogie
White. Quite a stellar cast of vocalist. However, the most notable vocal performance
was yours. It appeared that you made a conscious effort to expand your vocal
range, which is further evident on “HTP2” and “JLT”.
No offense but you are not a spring chicken yet your voice seems to be getting
better with time. How do you manage this? And how do you prepare for both
live and studio performances?
"I just try and live better than I did in the past and I take better
care of myself---better diet, exercise and I keep working my voice like a
fine wine. Its gets better with age if you just let it ferment ;-)"
also shows some musical exploration courtesy of the underlying hip-hop feel
on “Let’s Go” and the ultra heavy “Hit The Switch”.
Can your fans expect to see more of this or was this just some dabbling experimentation?
"Yeah there will be more of that...we will dabble in that, of course,
but there will not be a LOT of that. We have some new ground to cover and
I think that you will hear what I mean when the next solo album comes out."
HRH: Your performances
in the HTP are nothing short of breathtaking. And considering you are alongside
the great Glenn Hughes this is the ultimate compliment. I see that the HTP
are actively touring overseas but short of the occasional appearances here
there is little activity Stateside. Any chances of a US tour either as solo
artist or in the form of the Hughes Turner Project?
"Thank you for your kind words. At this time there are no plans for any
HTP shows. I do have some shows planned with other projects I am working with.
At the time of this interview, I cannot discuss those details because we are
still shoring them up but if you check "http://www.joelynnturner.com"
you will get all the latest news."
HRH: Some of
your fans may be less familiar with the fact that you are very comfortable
on the guitar. In fact, you were prominent on the Fandango albums and even
more recently when you and Stuart Smith performed the instrumental song “Alma
D’ Alma” for the Windham Hill cd “Sounds Of Wood & Steel”.
Any chances of hearing an “unplugged” sound of Joe Lynn Turner
and friends? I am sure many of your past guitar partners would love to appear
"I would love to do that if there was ever time and backing from a record
label to do something like that."
HRH: That said
what does the future hold for Joe Lynn Turner?
"I always have so many things going on and I hate to reveal the "maybes"
because if they do not happen for some reason then fans get upset ;-). So,
I will defer and say keep checking the website. It truly is the definitive
word on what I have happening that is CONFIRMED at any given time. There are
a lot of rumors out there and that is really cool that people talk. But, the
website is really the place to find it all. If we do not post something on
the site there is a very good reason for it even if it is posted somewhere
HRH: I had the
pleasure of meeting you recently backstage after the Alan Parson Project concert
here in Southern California. I have to say that you came across as an everyday
man. I thank you for taking the time then and the time now. It is always appreciated.
And may you have continued success in what is already an astonishing career.
YOU MICHAEL!!!!!!! AWESOME MEETING YOU ALSO!! Peace, JLT"
by Michael Debbage