JOE LYNN TURNER
Melodic Rock Interview 1998
Another part of my Deep Purple weekend! If it wasn't enough talking for an hour with Glenn Hughes on Saturday - Sunday gave me Joe Lynn Turner on the phone. So my phone bill sucked, but who cares?! Joe is a great and versatile vocalist that has recorded some great rock n roll albums over the years. And he is an incredibly nice guy as well! I got to chat with Joe while he was spending a few days in LA with buddy Stuart Smith. Here's what Joe had to say.
Hey it's great to catch up with you; I've been a fan for awhile.
Hey thank you, I appreciate it. Did you get that new one, 'Hurry up and Wait'?
No, I've got the worst Japanese supplier in the world now. I've kinda feel through and I haven't got that or the new Mothers Army so… (Got them both now, of course!)
What about Amazon…. Can you get that down there? Because they have it listed already as an import, relatively cheap, it's like $22 US. Which isn't bad at all. Stuart brought it up the other night, he was sorta instructing me on the Amazon.com. thing. It's not just books now; it's all CDs and so on.
I heard they were going into discs.
I mean I could always send you one, whatever. I'm on my way to Japan right now to do some promo for it. Hey Stuart (Smith) said he's got your details so we'll send one out. I'll get you one in about 2 weeks.
Great thank you. That'd be fantastic. Cause I don't know whether Stu told you but I've got this web site which is starting to go well.
Yeah yeah….We were looking at it…it's great. Glad you like the Heaven and Earth project too.
Yes I do…. Very much so actually…and your tracks in particular if I dare say so.
Oh thank you… it's nice of you.
And what led you to do the project? How did you know Stu to get involved?
Oh like…(talking to Stu in the background ' I've known you what… 16 years'). Yeah I've Stuart like 16 years. You know this thing has been developing for quite a few years. We finally landed the deal and put it all together. So I don't even really know when the start of it really was.
Yeah. I love the 'Heaven and Earth" track. I said to Stu that should be the first single.
Yeah I think that's pretty obvious. It's right across the board, to give it that push. I mean the whole situation with rock n roll lately. I mean at least in America at the moment it's fucking dire. It's all rap and grunge and shit.
Do you feel happy at least that there's an underground following still there?
Yeah… well there is. I mean in Japan, Europe. Places like South America and Australia are still active. It's not as big as it used to be but at least there's still rock n roll.
Yeah like I say to people - it doesn't matter where in the world the albums are coming out at least they are still coming out.
Exactly. My fear is if it doesn't pick up a bit these companies that have gone out on a limb are gonna start getting shorter on the list. Because it comes down to the bottom line. They need to at least break even. So hopefully there might be a resurfacing, it seems like it might slowly come back, but never probably to where it was.
Have you seen the website?
Yes, brilliant! You're probably one of the hottest promoters of this then. Have you thought record companies could go through you?
Slowly getting there!
Have you looked at my web site at all?
Yeah I have.
It's got the screaming audio and all that on mine. So you can check out the material before you actually buy it.
You know you're a busy guy at the moment?
Yeah a little bit
Tell us about ' Hurry up and wait'?
Well it's more of a rock record. I guess you're familiar with Undercover?
I have it right here in front of me.
Ok, well that was a fun project.
Can I ask you something...and I ask with the utmost respect - but there were some unusual tracks on that album!
Ya, there's a Marvin Gaye track, a song called 'Vehicle'.
Yeah, now don't take this the wrong way, but the first time I heard 'Vehicle' I laughed… then I went straight back and played it on again. It's probably now my favourite track on the album because it was so different.
Well yeah…that's what I was looking for. I'm so sick of the usual. We had to do something really left field. My influences aren't strictly heavy metal rock, but I needed to rub the edges of rock and soul and I tell you it worked well. When we went over to Japan all the radio DJs were playing 'Vehicle'. They loved that song. And that was like a dark horse for me because I'm friends with Jimmy Puree and Spider and stuff and I let him know I was going to re-do it and said yeah, but I don' t know how the Japanese are going to take it, because their history of rock n roll is like, you know, 20 years or something. I wanted to entertain them but I also wanted to educate them you know. That's why I put on some of the rootsier stuff and I re-did 'Fire & Water' and stuff like that. And those were the tracks they were actually more drawn to. Just like youselves you know cause it was so different. That's nice to see though because then I've actually hit the mark and that's what I was trying to do.
And probably my favourite track off the album besides 'Vehicle' is the new version of 'Street of Dreams'.
Oh cool. We really had to do something to that. I figured a great song is a great song no matter how you do it, but I wanted to get so far away from the original so not to be compared at all. We kinda put this little bouncy hip-hop beat or whatever and the thing came out so hipnotic.
What year is the original from?
1983… something like that. I mean it's a much more rock version. But this one works. Like I sent it to Richie and said just goes to show you a good song is a good song.
Are you still in touch with Richie?
Mostly by phone machine. If you know what I mean. It's like he leaves a message or I'll leave a message but I haven't heard form him in 6 months or so.
I was thinking of you and the Richie connection when I was listening to the minstral track on the 'Heaven and Earth' album.
The 'Sunburn Tree'.
Yeah I love that better than anything unfortunatly on his album. I didn't get into that a lot but I love that track.
Yeah I have to agree 'Sunburn Tree' is so classic. Yeah it beats the hell out of the Blackmore's Night.
If the songs good, the songs good!
Yeah well there it is, there's quality and then theres quantity.
Are you going to do Undercover 2?
Yeah… but I had to do an original album in between because you know otherwise people start getting the impression that you know I'm just doing the cover artist thing. So I told Tony Kennedy, look I have to do an original album. They said OK, but can you make it more rock. Well I said funny you should ask cause I'm kinda going in that direction anyway. I wasn't really going balls out heavy metal or anything. There were some tracks there that were slated for Deep Purple when I was writing back in '91. The 2nd DP album never happened, so like so this one track called '?' that was originally slated to them and then theres a couple of others but there's also and overall flavour of what you could say like commercial type rock. Well you know what I mean… you be the judge. It's excessible stuff that's all I'm saying. Hey Stu's having a bit of a meal to absorb all that alcohol. 'No drinks tonight'. Famous last words. Starts with a pint of Newcastle Brown and its all downhill after that! I'm trying to think of what else there is… I guess you are familiar with all the Mothers Army stuff.
Actually I'm just wondering what my favourite Joe Lyn Turner album is and I think I'd have to say the 1st Mothers Army record.
Good. Hey that's pretty good.
Yeah but it's a good album.
Of course! I'm a big fan of Jeff Watson and the other two guys Bob Daisley and Carmine Appice.
Yeah he's down your way in Australia now.
I heard he was moving back here.
Yeah he's back there now. He's living back outside of Sydney. And we've got this new one out called 'Fire On The Moon' which is a lot more rock n roll.
Is it? 'Cause on the 2nd one you went more of the concept route.
Yeah concept record, sort a like Pink Floyd meets the Beatles meets Led Zeppelin, you know. It's all enviromental and inter planetary and you know, supernatural and paranormal stuff. We didn't want to be just some usual type of rock band. Kiss me Fuck me lyrics you know. We really wanted to put our souls in to it and try to say something and maybe reach somebody.
Well Bob's in to that isn't he?
Yeah. He's in to that big time. Bob I would say is probably the driving force of that. And Jeff's in to that too.
Can I just go back to the first album how did you guys get together for that?
For the first one they originally had a different singer and just before they started recording, well they actually recorded the tracks and then I saw Carmine down at this name convention down here in LA and he just said what are you doing? And I said what do you want me to do?
He said look we've got this project why don't you check it out I'll send you the tapes. So they sent me the tapes with the original singer and stuff, the guy was pretty good and I liked it and said what's wrong with all this and he said well we just figured that we could probably have a stronger unit if we had you know more of a world class figure and all this and if you liked it and blah blah blah. Well yeah I said let me jump on board. And now Carmine's out and Ansley Dunbah's playing drums.
OK, where's Carmine?
Last I heard he was doing some David Lee Roth gig or something.
Of course he was. Now on the first album your voice is noticably different than you've sung before did you sing different for the record? Or did you have a problem at the time.
Well no, was there a problem?
No it sounds great to me.
Oh good, there wasn't a problem, it was absolutely done that way.
No it's one of my favourite records, because it's a real rock album. But somebody said to me 'Oh his voice is shot', and I said get real!
Oh brilliant! No it was purposely done that way, I thought they probably could have brought up the mix a bit more.
It was just really raspy singing and I liked it I how it was.
Great. Oh good thank you, well you're really gonna love this 'Hurry Up And Wait'.
That's a return to that style then?
Yeah pretty much. it's got all that rasp in it and everything.
Yeah excellent, well I'm going to get in to that big time. Now my other favourite record is the 'Slaves and Masters' record.
Oh great. We were listening to that the other day. Just going down memory lane. Didn't Richie say that was one of his favourite albums? (asks Stu). Yeah. With Stu we were listening to this cut and that cut and we were going 'Oh man this really is good'.
'Wicked Ways' is great. 'Cut Runs Deep' is probably my favourite one.
Yep another one of my favourites too. Absolutley. Yeah we had it going on but there was a lot of jealousy and a lot of back stabbing so.
A lot of politics?
Politicking galore. So it was pretty bad for me cause I was up against the other three. They wanted me out because you know, they were calling me 'Deep Rainbow'. They were thinking that it was Richie and I taking over the band and all this shit.
You had such a history, was it hard to be called one or the other?
Yeah it was just a squeeze play so to speak. But you know c'est la vie. Life goes on.
You began to make a 2nd album though?
Yeah we did and it was a whole lot better than that piece of shit they put out.
I didn't even buy that one you know.
Well I don't know who did. it really wasn't that good. I mean it seemed like they just threw it together.
My favourite Purple album now is 'Perpendicular'.
Well there you go, we saw them in January out here in LA twice at the 'House of Blues' and they were really cooking.
Really. I interviewed Ian Gillan a few weeks ago.
I mean Steve Morse to me still isn't really Blackmore and they don't have that old Purple riff edge you know, it's not the same but...
It is different for sure.
It's a different shade. I guess a different shade of Purple or something but you know they were playing well and sang well. And they are very happy.
Yeah he sounded it actually.
Well there's no more fighting in the band since Richie has gone.
That must be so hard, how difficult is that?
It's difficult to cure. Very difficult I mean because when you have difficult personalities, it's not an easy thing. It's kinda like walking on quicksand.
It's inevitable, eh?
Yeah really. You know you are just constantly every day waiting for an earthquake or something. It's like - when's it going to happen?
The other record I've got here of yours is 'Nothings Changed'.
Oh yeah that was like a very personal record.
It was a little softer for you wasn't it?
Yeah I just wanted to sort of prove that it wasn't all belting and everything and there were some very private songs and things like that, more personal. When I say personal record I mean as opposed to…you know I just wanted to do something completely different. And not follow suit. And I know it through everyone a curve and I expected it to be a curve you know. It sort of established me for these future events where I can get away with a bit more stretching out and because it's really boring if all day you're a carpenter and all day you're hammering nails.
Because you know you want to build the rest of the house as well and if you just notice banging nails and you can do more than that it's frustrating. So that's what I figured I liken it to I'm not just banging a bunch of nails in I'm building a different house so people see me stretch out ballads and different stuff.
Well there's a few tracks there I really love. 'Believe', 'Let Me Love You Again' and 'Bad Blood' they were just great.
Yeah yeah 'Bad Blood' is fucking burnin'. I mean there's some real good shit on there. It usually takes - and this is said with all respect - it usually takes the audience a while to catch up. Because they are so used to one thing that when you throw them like that… some of them get angry and turn their back on you and then other ones, you pick up other fans. So it's kind of a trade off. But I think I expanded and proved my point and showed that I had expanded my range and personality as an artist, by doing things like this and taking chances like this, so I'm not so pidgeon holed in to this one sort of image or something you know and it helped me get over my frustrations as well. It was like therapeutic. So now I feel like rocking up a bit and I'm back to that again.
So the next project, 'Undercover' 2?
Well after this I'll be coming back from Japan and I think we're slated to start recording 'Undercover'2 in either mid August or something, so we can have it done for the fall. It only takes me one month. I don't fuck around with these things. I don't believe in staying in the studio too long because I think you lose perspective. What we do is like 10 days rehearsels and work everything out properly then go and cut the basics, start foing the over dubs, sing the vocals and hand it in. And it's done.
You know this way it's done, because if you drag things off for 6 months I mean, you change. 6 months of your life, from the 1st month to the 6th month you're a different person. You know so you lose perspective on whats happening, a lot of the times anyway.
I'd rather you release an album every year rather than every three anyway.
Yeah exactly. I don't know if you're familiar with the Brazen Abbott stuff either?
Oh yeah, of course. Got them all!
Fuckin' great right. Yeah that's a good project.
OK, so you'll continue to record a couple of tracks each album with him?
Well I'll tell you what's in the works right now. The day before I left LA... basically we are working on an opera, I don't know if you'd call it an opera, but it's about Nostradamas. And it's going to have about 5 male singers, 3 female singers you know all this stuff. That's what's happening now and we've just heard all the tracks and things you know and the text hasn't been written yet because the story is quite intense of course.
It starts with an overture and goes in to the dessicration of the grave and all this other stuff. It gets pretty heavy. Well he talked to Ian Gillan, but Gillan is going to be on the road with Purple for a while and he's talked to Hughes again and I think he's talked to Graham Bonnet and a bunch of different people, I think Ronny Dio. So we may be having a whole 'nother line-up here because this could be a real piece of work.
Besides the singers, who else is on that? Or might be on that?
Well I mean as far as players he's probably going to use the Europe rythym section, which is like Mic Michalle and Ian Haugland on drums and it's just fucking great.
And this is Nicholi doing this?
Yeah. He's written all the music already and it's just over the top classical hard rock. Really gothic hard rock stuff. That's going to be happening sometime in the winter. And Stuart's doing this other record so hopefully we'll all be busy.
Sounds like it. I talked to Glenn yesterday actually.
It was a big thrill for me.
Great, he's wonderful.
Yeah he's such a nice guy.
Oh yeah he is. Yeah he's a prince, he's terrific. He had a great time here in January.
You know talking to all you guys has been great.
Fantastic. I love the whole site, the thing that you are doing. I mean I couldn't tell you for everybody in my peer group but anyway this is something that we really desperately need.
So you like it?
Yeah. I take my hat off to you I really do. Keep up the good work. I don't know what else to say cause I can't express it in words. It's just great.
Awesome! Thanks Joe. Well, thanks for your time.
Well Andrew, a pleasure talking to you, continued success, send me an e-mail, I'll send it back and we'll be in touch all right. I appreciate it, thanks man.
Andrew J McNeice, Melodic Rock, July 1998