Joe Lynn Turner Speaks

Joe Lynn Turner Speaks
Barbara Fara
MusicIncider Magazine

Joe Lynn Turner is an American Rock Icon. He was part of a group called Filet of Soul-which later became Kool and the Gang. Joe was a part of Deep Purple, Fandango, and Rainbow. Where would music be without Deep Purple, Fandango, and Rainbow? Joe even taught college level English literature. JLT is funny, opinionated, and literate. JLT calls it like he sees it and we absolutely love him for it. We like his music too! -It was an honor and a privilege to speak to Joe Lynn Turner. Read on, and hear what the man had to say:

MI-What is your birth date?
JLT-August 2nd

MI-Tell me about your latest music project.
JLT-Well, I just came back from five weeks in Los Angeles doing HTP 2, which is the Hughes Turner Project. It is our 2nd cd, we had a lot of success and critical acclaim with the first one-and I think this ones going even deeper. It had me astounded, actually, by the end of the sessions. Glenn Hughes, and JJ Marsh, our guitar player from Sweden-he is a STAR yet undiscovered, wrote some incredible tracks. We finished up the writing when I got there. –We did three days rehearsal, and then we went into the studio. They started mixing about three days before I left, and I just got a copy and it is sounding incredible. –Just before this, I finished up another solo cd, which is aptly titled JLT. Working on it was fabulous. It was all about the spirit in that one. I redirected myself and started writing more of what I call straight ahead rock and roll. A lot of my influences are in there from Bad Company, Free, Grand Funk, and that type of stuff-what I mean by that is you can hear the rock and soul. It is not a duplicate, but there may be a tip of the hat to some Rainbow/Purple tracks in there. For example, Driving With My Eyes closed is kind of Purplish, and Cold Blood is kind of Rainbowish. That is as far as it got. In previous solo albums, -especially the last one, Slam that I had written with Akira Kajiyama who is an incredible Japanese guitar player-the sound is very Rainbowesque. JLT is a departure. I think it is more personal, and that is why it is titled JLT. All my friends came out and played on it. IT was just fabulous to see everybody show up again.

MI-How do you like your solo career so far?
JLT-I can’t complain. It is amazing that after this date-you know we had a good run with Rainbow and Purple-you know, where classic rock isn’t the tour de force anymore-that I am still going. I am blessed and I thank God for that. Actually, I thank the fans for that.

MI-If you were king of the world for one week, what would you do?
JLT-I think I would try to start with corrupt governments, and get rid of that, because most governments are corrupt. I would try to give free energy to people, so they wouldn’t be cold or hot. I would try to even out the playing field. The rich are too rich and the poor are too poor. –That type of thing. I would love to even the playing field so that everybody had a shot and everybody had a chance.

MI-What is your favorite song to play live and why?
JLT-There are too many to mention really. I have had such a long career that when we do live shows we do cornerstone songs. Between Glen and myself, we have so many we are never able to stretch out into our new stuff as much as we like.

MI-What song do you like to play best out of your new stuff?
JLT-Since I haven’t toured this new stuff…the last new stuff I would have to sat one of my all time favorites from the Rainbows-Death Valley Driver. It is a crankin’ song.

MI-If you could be a super hero, which would it be and why?
JLT-It would have to be Superman. I have always liked
Superman. I was always into Superman comics. He was always trying to avenge and save the world, and I think Superman had a pretty cool history coming from another planet, being raised by foster parents and all of that. I identify with Superman because he is a mortal immortal and I think that’s basically our situation here on this planet. We are all a lot human, and we have a little bit of the divine in us, and we are trying to find that divine part all of the time.

MI-If you had a choice about somebody else’s cd to play for yourself-what would it be?
JLT-Believe it or not, it is a friend of mine named Steven Kolavowski. He has got this demo that he sent me on a cd and it is just killer. It is kind of this jazzy R&B thing. It is amazing. He is going to be a star someday. This kid is great. He is from New York.

MI-Have you ever inhaled Joe?
JLT-Yeah (laughing). I inhale all the time. I exhale occasionally, and that’s what helps. They all talk about inhaling, but you gotta let that shit out. Exhaling is just as important

MI-Do you believe in psychics? Why or why not?
JLT-Absolutely. I believe that everyone has an intuitive perception within themselves. That’s one of my favorite subjects by the way-all the metaphysical and the paranormal. I study a lot of that stuff. –of course, absolutely. I have had past life regressions and all of that stuff.

MI-Tell me about your past life regressions.
JLT-I went to Shala Mattingly, and Linda Drier-people Shirley MacLaine went to in the beginning and found out that I was over anxious about life and tenacious because I had died in several previous lives in my early twenties, and that I was just hanging on. I had to get everything in all at once all of the time-and the good thing about past life regression is that you can meet your unknown fears, and you can then address them and overcome them-than release them, and I think that has helped a lot.

MI-Who are your musical influences and why?
JLT-My musical influences started with American radio when I was five years old-back then they had nothing but AM radio, and it was like Motown. I was a big Motown freak. Before the Beatles came, it was all about Otis Redding, The Temptations, The Four Tops-all that kind of stuff-Sam Cooke. I went to the Apollo Theatre with all my friends and sang in acapella bands. I was in a band called Filet of Soul which later became Kool and the Gang. I am good friends with those guys. –To make a long story short…those were my early influences. When I finally started to get my rock out of England I would have to say Free-Paul Rogers. He was like the White soul guy to me. I thought he was black when I first heard him. He was unbelievable. He put the soul in Rock and Roll and I think he is a MAJOR influence, and then of course Jimi Hendrix-and Bob Dylan lyrically and guitar wise. I was a guitar player before I was a singer. I am still a guitar player, but when you play with Yngwie Malmsteen you can make a coffee table out of the guitar. I am pretty fair player-but these guys are some of the best in the world.

MI-What age did you start playing guitar?
JLT-I started accordian at seven. It was a very unsexy instrument. When the Beatles came out-when She Loves You came out, my dad picked up an acoustic guitar and brought it home. He was playing, and the next thing I knew I was playing. I was playing better than him.

MI-What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?
JLT-You gotta want it. Be dedicated. Have the desire and the passion. If you don’t want to go the whole route and you don’t think you can last the fifteen rounds, don’t start because you are going to get banged up pretty good.

MI-How do you feel about MTV?
JLT-NOW? (Laughing) EMpTyV? I think it has become a toothpaste commercial. -The old MTV was groundbreaking and pioneering. The old song title video killed the radio star is so true, but back then when we first started out we knew nothing about it and the videos were honest and relatively inexpensive. Now you’ve got videos that are like full length movies-and they cost just about as much too. I think people now listen with their eyes instead of their ears. It is kind of like the in mates are running the asylum now. It is a little too crazy.

MI-What about the world pisses you off the most and why?
JLT-Just the greed, anger, hatred, and the jealously-that’s what pisses me off about human beings to tell you the truth. Human nature is deficient, I understand that. I have had to struggle with my own demons. I wish people would get their shit together. I wish everybody would read a self help book or something. Knock all the bullshit off, like Israeli-Palestine and the Iraqi war-all the terrorism. Get over it. We gotta live together here. It pisses me off that people like to remain in the human condition. They don’t want to elevate themselves out of it.

MI-What is the most memorable show you have every played?
JLT-I would have to saw after years of struggle-when I was in Rainbow and we played a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden with The Scorpions opening-that was a moment. I am from New Jersey, right outside of New York-only ten miles due west-I grew up in New York and Manhattan. When I finally played Madison Square Garden sold out-that was a HUGE moment. All of my friends and family –it was kind of like Jersey boy makes good. I had arrived. That was a defining moment.

MI-Tell me about the average day in the life of Joe Lynn Turner.
JLT-You mean without doing any business? MI-Whatever you want. JLT-It’s always taking care of the desk work, all the return phone calls, all the emails, press, things like that-then after I finish all the business chores then its basically taking out the garbage to recycle, walking the dog-taking my kid to the movies-that kind of stuff. Normal everyday stuff like barbecue.

MI-What three people would you like to have with you if you were stranded on a life raft in the middle of the ocean?
JLT-This is a good question. Jesus Christ-because maybe he’s got some pull. Some type of navigational expert to get us off the fucking ocean and two Hustler models.

MI-If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could bring one person, one book and one cd-what would that one person, book and cd be?
JLT-One person-the Poland Spring guy because he’s got water (laughing). I am very practical about this shit. People say Cindy Crawford, bullshit, you can’t drink Cindy Crawford (laughing). I know other people are answering-well, I would like to bring Pam Anderson.
One Book-Morning of the Magicians, which has changed my life-and not many people know about it. That was a turning point years ago when I read that. One CD-Jimi Hendrix.

MI-Who do you think the greatest musician of all time is and why?
JLT-I would have to say like Beethoven or Mozart or someone. These guys set the pace for us. A lot of the stuff we do today-especially in the more hard rock/melody rock area is all classically oriented. They set the pace, the tempo, and the sonata form…so it would have to be Beethoven.

MI-What is your greatest achievement?
JLT-Staying alive this long (laughing). I should have been dead years ago with all of my partying-and a lot of my friends are. –Honestly, I think my greatest achievement is the self-improvement that I have made. I am very proud of that. I have come out of the depths of sex, drugs, and rock and roll and actually become a normal human being again.

MI-What is the worst job you have ever had?
JLT-Carrying cement bags-manual labor. I had cement in my lungs. It took years to expel all of that crap. I worked in masonry when I was a kid to get some extra money. I remember inhaling all that dust, and getting my lungs just as hard as a rock from the cement dust that would go in there.

MI-What do you want people to know about Joe Lynn Turner?
JLT-That I am still here (laughing)! What I really want them to know it that I still have a massive career-plenty of solo cd’s…The number one thing I find when I meet people is like they are –man where have you been-and I go It’s like duh-did you ever put a search out? The old fans are out there, but a lot of them are now kind of sedate because they’ve got homes or whatever. There would be a lot more people out there that would be interested in the music if they would just know that I was still active.

MI-What person would you bring back from the dead and why?
JLT-If I could, it would be somebody like Mother Theresa or something-because she was so giving. People who would make a difference in the world.

MI-If you could have been anyone in history who would you have been?
JLT-Alexander the Great.

MI-Where were you when 9-11 happened and how did it affect you?
JLT-I was in my home ten miles away. I was in the backyard. I could see the Trade Center from the hill. I saw the second plane hit with my own eyes. I saw the building crumble with my own eyes. It was an absolutely perfect, clear day. I had a ticket to go from Newark to LAX that day. I had a morning flight which they were using for the terrorism. –To make a long story short, I changed it to an afternoon flight and I didn’t get out until a week later. We had to pull some strings, but I was saved from that in the same way that I was saved from the Pan Am 103 flight. These things are very important to me.

MI-If you were to design a memorial for 9-11, what would it be like?
JLT-It would be more of a restful place, a park.

MI-Tell me what you think about what America is doing in the Middle East.
JLT-I think war is always wrong, and it is an immature expression of a hidden agenda. I believe that this whole new world order is getting out of hand. I do a lot of research on this kind of stuff. It is one of my biggest ‘hobbies’. I really believe that there is a whole other agenda that is happening and it certainly wasn’t because of these chemical weapons or anything that Saddam Hussein had. It didn’t affect us the twelve years before this. They didn’t find them up until this very date. Unless they plant them, they are not going to find them. It’s another way that the Bushes agenda is being advanced. He is only doing his fathers work as well. He is just a puppet-George W. They are going in there for the three hundred trillion dollars in oil-and they are working on that Afgani and Pakistani pipeline. Plus, we are going to get hit with the biggest crop of black tar heroin ever-so that should be fun for the kids. The Taliban religion is against all of that-so the farmers in Afganistan couldn’t plant poppies. As soon as the American military got in-I happen to know this from plenty of other sources including those on the web, that they are going to have the largest harvest of poppies coming ever-so we can have fun by summer. MI-Have you ever heard of the New World Order? JLT-Not necessarily by that name, but I am a David Icke freak. I am completely familiar with the agenda and the Illuminati.

MI-What do you think about the situation with North Korea?
JLT-I was in South Korea six months ago playing for the troops. –They don’t like us either believe it or not. I think we have more of a problem over there because of the United States infiltration. That’s a sign, and I think we had better be careful with China, totally-they are big, they have got the weapons, and they are not going to screw around with us.

MI-What is your opinion about rap lines in the middle of metal and rock music these days –for example limpbizkit, Linkin Park and P.O.D.?
JLT-I think its something for people who want it all-if you can’t get just rap and you can get just rock, you have to mix it up. I guess it is all expression and I am not to judge what artistic expression is. However, I have listened to Eminem and I think he’s got a lot to say. I am not necessarily agreeing with everything, but there is a validity. I guess you have to allow all kinds of artistic expression to culminate. To me, it is not something I am going to listen to-maybe a little Linkin Park every now and again, but that’s about it.

MI-Tell me what you think about the music industry of today
JLT-I hate it. It was bad enough when I was coming up. It has not changed, it has only gotten worse. The greed has gotten worse. The myopic type of mentality-they see only one thing-they don’t nurture of develop any artists. For example, you can come out and sell five million records with your first album, your next album sells one million records and they drop you. It is ridiculous. I think they have created a bunch of pulp for the kids. Having a thirteen year old, I listen to it all. –I don’t monitor the curse words, she has got to learn how to get along with the world. I think that they have created a situation, these record companies that really sort of stabs art right in the back. I think that’s a dirty thing. I think the only people that will lose are the fans and the audience. We are not raising the bar higher-we are getting lower and lower. You look at the videos, and it might as well be Hustler magazine-for all of these girls and things in their panties. That’s ridiculous. What does that have to do with anything? -You want sex, go out and get laid-you know what I mean? Music should always elevate people. Art is supposed to elevate people. People go to the Louvre to become inspired. You raise yourself from out of that human condition to a divine level. I don’t think the record companies are doing anything to help that along. Everything they are doing is all out of greed. –It is all cloned bands right now. I can’t tell one singer apart in a certain genre anymore. I ask my daughter-who’s this? Isn’t that the same guy? They have all got that floaty thing, and it is like they are just cookie cutters. So, there’s no identity. The music business has shot itself in the foot really because the internet is going to cream them with this stuff. There are a lot of great new bands out there that I have downloaded off of the net off of different sites-and the record companies would never sign these bands. –I see people on Conan and David Letterman because they are popular bands and they SUCK. –It is really becoming a cesspool. –And I’ll tell you. They aren’t my heroes. I grew up with heroes. –These guys. They don’t look like heroes, they don’t sound like heroes, they don’t talk like heroes…they don’t write or sing like heroes. –They are really shortchanging the public.

MI-So who would you consider to be your heroes when you were growing up?
JLT-Take anybody. Take Led Zepplin. Take Free. Take Bad Company. –Guys who were fucking brilliant. Jimi Hendrix. Eric Clapton. Creem-these guys were brilliant. Black Sabbath, they started it all. This was honest stuff. -Look at Ozzy. Look at what happened to him. The fucking Prince of Darkness? He is the Prince of Booboos. He is a bumbling idiot. They reduced him-for money-into a bumbling idiot. What is that? He used to be mysterious, God-like. Now he’s just nobody. –I happen to know some inside stories there, where Sharon never paid Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake and these guys from the Blizzard of Ozz, and they have got hundreds of millions of dollars that they owe these guys. They should have paid them. Ozzy never wrote these songs. It is really fucked up. –This is not an example, to watch the Osbournes on how to run a family. These reality shows-that’s another thing that pisses me off. You want reality? Go down the streets of Manhattan and take a look at all of the homeless and all of the junkies. The shit they put on TV is not reality-it is all bullshit scripted fake crap. Bachelors and Joe Millionaire and all of this crap-that isn’t reality. –You are gonna put me in Bali Bali with a couple of big titted women-that’s reality? Why don’t you go to fucking Nam asshole and fight? That’s reality. It is all crap.

-What do you feel about the European Union?
JLT-Oh please, you are going to N.W.O here. The European Union is one of the first tenets of The New World Order. In my opinion, this is just going towards that. I was over there using the Euro dollar. Pretty soon, we are going to have the global dollar. It is all just going to be one big happy family. –To see how the countries have changed over the last twenty years-and we were HUGE in Europe. I was over there during the Gulf War touring. I stood in scud missile holes with gas masks on. I went to Egypt with Jordan’s gun boats patrolling and all this other shit-it was unbelievable.

MI-How do you feel the industry has treated you during your career?
JLT-The industry will turn their back on you and kick you to the curb as soon as you are used up. If you can’t make them any money-you are outta there. They don’t want to know about art. The music business isn’t the music art business it is the music business-emphasis on business. It is a greedy, backstabbing, immoral, set up. The people that run it don’t necessarily have anything to do with music. Fucking accountants and lawyers-we all know about them. So how has it treated me? About like anybody else. Like shit. I am lucky to get my royalties-any of them. It is ridiculous. –They say we are all these diva artists and everything-no we aren’t divas. Look. Just be fair about it. That’s all. Just be fair.

MI-Is there anybody in the business that deserves to open for you?
JLT-You mean there is an opening band? Ah, there’s plenty of people. Any good, decent, hardworking band deserves to open for anybody that is worthwhile-because they are honest about it. –You see some of these stupid clone bands come up and they have got a political connection, so they get in on the tours and what have you. Then they become they next big thing, and they SUCK. Anybody who doesn’t suck can open for me.

MI-Name five groups-*1960 or later* that you feel have been important to the evolution of music and tell me why you think they have been important.
JLT- Of course, The Beatles. Hello. Do I have to even explain it? Christ, those guys were amazing. Whether you like them or not, they were pure song. Cornerstone bands-you have to go back to the bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and Led Zepplin. These guys were the bedrock of all the sounds that are coming out still today. You take any of the hard metal stuff and its coming out from Black Sabbath. You look at Audioslave right now, and that is kind of like Zepplin. The influences are incredible here. –I don’t know if I mentioned five, but Deep Purple, same thing. Very classically oriented in some of the figures that were played-bringing in a lot of the classical composers and things like that. That’s where you have to look. Eric Clapton with the blues, and bringing an American art form back to the United Sates through England again. –and I think about a dozen black blues artists that have never really been recognized. These people were where a lot of this music came from.

MI-What’s your favorite movie of all time?
JLT-Bad Boy Bubby-It is an Australian film. Darlin’ I gotta tell ya. You gotta see it to believe it. It is a very deep, funny, heavy, sobering, sarcastic cynical movie. Bob Daisley turned me on to it from Ozzy’s band, Rainbow, and Mother’s Army. –I have an Austrailian copy here, but I can’t play it because it’s PAL. –This is a really sort of intense thinking man’s movie. It is extremely entertaining. –It is about a guy who lived with his mother in this cellar basement apartment for like thirty five years and never went outside. So he is a bit autistic in his ways. He repeats things always, and the mother is always telling him that the big bad world –I mean she puts a gas mask on before she leaves the house. So she frightens the hell out of him. She frightens the hell out of him with the crucifix over the kitchen table-he has to sit there all day, because Jesus is going to beat him around the face and neck if he doesn’t. –It is really wild. Bubby finally gets out on his own-and it is sort of like Being There. All of this innocence really affects people’s perception of what they think of him. What he basically does is repeat people’s actions. He just mirrors them. One minute he is a genius, and one minute he is an idiot-so the quality that it brings to mind, and this is why I call it a thinking man’s movie-is the question about what is reality. People’s perception is reality, and reality be damned. It is really deep and funny. It has a very happy ending. Bubby finds love, and has a child and all of this stuff. –But getting there is the fun. It is incredible learning throughout the movie. I have to say it was a very shocking and entertaining movie.

MI-What is your ideal vacation spot and why?
JLT-It would have to be the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I have been to Kauai more that a dozen times already and I just love it. Of the Northernmost islands in the chain it is the greenest and lushest island. There are rainbows everywhere. It is just incredible. It is the most beautiful place in the world, and I have been just about all over the world.

MI-What do you think the best thing that every happened to rock and roll was and why?
JLT-I don’t know. I don’t think it has gotten a fair shake really. –Woodstock. Everybody focused on it. Everybody went oh Christ look at this. Something is happening here-and I know I was up in Woodstock. There was this huge comglomeration of people at this festival that was all about rock and roll and free love, and peace, and harmony. I think that was a really incredible time. We have since buried that. There are no more Woodstocks. We have the Lollapaloozas and all of this other crap. Ozzfest and stuff-that is just mayhem over there. That’s not Woodstock. They are not festivals in the scope of Woodstock.

MI-What do you think about Kurt Cobain’s diaries being released?
JLT-I think it is a dirty trick. I really do. I don’t think much of Cortney Love. I have some people that were very close to her and knowing the absolute truth. I still think she had something to do with it. –I think it is a dirty trick on the guy. I don’t think it is necessary to release his diaries in any shape or form-edited or otherwise. It was a private thing and he should RIP. Leave they guy alone. He didn’t like this fucking business while he was doing it-which is another reason why he took himself out. So why do you gotta dig it up again? For money?

MI-Do you have a message you would like to send to your fans? If so, what is it?
JLT-Yeah, I just want to thank everybody for their support and love. All these years-they are the reason why I do it. Honestly, when I become despondant or weak at any moment-it is the fans that bring me through.

MI-Do you think Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising was a money making deal off of 9-11 or not?
JLT-Of course it is a money making deal. It has to be at a certain point. I think maybe there might be something coming out of it. That might be true as well. Underneath every great fortune is a lie, so there has to be some kind of money making deal in there-not that he needs it. I think he truly tries to give back in certain situations-Bruce. He is a Jersey guy. I have known him a long time. He hasn’t changed like Bon Jovi has changed.

MI-What is your favorite quote of all time?
JLT-‘The Angles can fly, because they take themselves lightly.’ –Lloyd Buckley.

MI-Where do you see the new band five years from now?
JLT-I never look that far in advance, never. I am a day to day guy. I am a now person. If we are still happening, it is great. You can dream dreams, but badda bing-something just pops up all of the sudden.

MI-If you could be anybody out of the Sopranos-who would it be?
JLT-Tony, of course. He’s the fuckin’ boss. Fuggeaboudit.

MI-Do you believe with reincarnation that you can go backward in time or forward in time?
JLT-Reincarnation doesn’t bring you back or forward. Reincarnation is past lives. The Edgar Cayce situation is just all about past lives. Even all the Buddist stuff is about your soul in the Great Gouf-so it is not a time machine. That time machine stuff is left up to the military.

MI-What has brougt you into this metaphysical phase of life?
JLT-I have been doing this since I was a kid. I have always wanted to know about everything. I am the kind of person who has always been very annoying at the dinner table going, but why? People will go –can’t you just let it be? And I will be like no-I want to know why.

MI-If you could sign with any label who would it be?
JLT-Label? (laughing). Black Label. Scotch. The Johnny Walker Black Label. –I don’t need no damn labels.
-Everybody should get a label like Johnny Walker Black. It is fucking smooth and mixes pretty well with just about fucking everything. I have to say thank you to Joe Lynn Turner. This interview was out of this fucking world. His new cd is fucking fantastic too!

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This article was written by Barbara Fara and is identified as Article #82.
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