Myspace Site: www.myspace.com/joelynnturner
Joe Lynn Turner is truly a legend. His career is well known and with his involvement in such classic bands as RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE no introduction should be needed. Besides that though, Joe has sung with the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen and has recorded on a plethora of projects and amassed a catalog of ten solo albums over the years! Currently Joe is riding high with his new release titled “Second Hand Life”, and so he spoke with Rockeyez a little bit about that release and all else that is happening and has happened with his career so far.
Mark Balogh: First off, let me congratulate you on a fine new release in “Second Hand Life.” It seems you’ve had a resurgence of somewhat the last few years. Do you think that has anything to do with you returning more to your melodic roots with your last two solo albums and also your involvement in the SUNSTORM project?
Joe Lynn Turner: Thanks for your kind words and I agree with you. I think the resurgence has to do with getting a lot of publicity in several countries for all the various projects I have been involved with… from my solo stuff to BRAZEN ABBOT and a few years back with the HUGHES TURNER PROJECT. If you put enough out there something sticks… LOL! Every time I get involved in an event, a tour, some shows and other things there is more publicity that goes with that. So, I think that has a lot to do with it. As for “SUNSTORM,” we are probably going to do a second album. Right now, Frontiers is still listening to and collecting possible song choices.
Mark Balogh: Can you tell us a little about the new album? What made you choose the title “Second Hand Life” for the album?
Joe Lynn Turner: It’s the title of one of the songs and I feel it has a strong message. Often people grow up living second hand lives… either the life their parent wants them to live or someone else they are close to. Instead of living their lives for themselves, they live it for others. This sometimes results is a person feeling less satisfied with their life. If we all tried to avoid the second hand life syndrome, we might end up being happier and more fulfilled.
Mark Balogh: Can you share some thoughts about some of your favorite songs on the new record?
Joe Lynn Turner: I really do not have a favorite. The songs all have special significance and meaning… they are all like children to me… LOL! It’s hard to pick a favorite child. Plus, fans have told me this is a pretty diverse collection of melodic rock and blues so it’s hard to compare the songs since they do not sound alike.
Mark Balogh: Let’s go way back to Joe Lynn Turner’s early days… before the bands and the music. What type of childhood did you have growing up in the Hackensack, NJ area?
Joe Lynn Turner: : It was great! I grew up in a very loving and musical family. We did a lot of singing and I learned how to play the accordion at a very young age. I quickly learned that a guitar would probably attract more women… LOL! No, seriously, I had my first paying gig before I was 12 years old.
Mark Balogh: When did you realize you wanted to be a musician and singer?
Joe Lynn Turner: The turning point was when I saw GRAND FUNK RAILROAD at Madison Square Garden. I was so inspired by Mark Farner that it was that very night I decided to really pursue a music career. What’s really cool is that I now sometimes work with Farner in “Classic Rock Cares” (www.johnentwistle.org) so it’s amazing how life comes full circle.
Mark Balogh: Now let’s go back to your early professional career. Were there any bands you were involved in that made any waves prior to FANDANGO?
Joe Lynn Turner: EZRA got us to a point where we were so popular in the tri-state region that it was a natural transition to form FANDANGO and then keep many of the same following as EZRA had. EZRAM was heavier and did heavy originals. After FANDANGO formed, things were shifting in the music scene. Bands like the EAGLES were popular, the California and Southern rock sound was becoming big and FANDANGO was influenced by that sound as well. I still meet people who will come up to me and tell me they went to see me when I was with EZRA.
Mark Balogh: You recorded 4 albums with FANDANGO. What were those days like? Were you a nationally touring band or just a regional act on the east coast of the US?
Joe Lynn Turner: We were a nationally touring band and opened up for many major acts. As you said, we had 4 albums on RCA and that was a major label. Those days were great… my first introduction to being a “rock star”! The unfortunate happened when we got our equipment stolen and disbanded but that lead to RAINBOW. So, one door closes and another opens.
Mark Balogh: You joined RAINBOW in 1980. I’m sure you’ve been asked a million questions regarding Ritchie Blackmore and it’s all well-publicized anyway so no need to go there. But here in 2007 if you had to describe Ritchie, in let’s say two words, what would they be?
Joe Lynn Turner: A perfectionist.
Mark Balogh: You went the solo route in 1985 with the release of “Rescue You” but prior to that there were rumors you up for slots in SURVIVOR & TOTO. Can you share with us a little bit about that?
Joe Lynn Turner: It was more like FOREIGNER and BAD COMPANY. Lou Gramm went back to FOREIGNER eventually so I never joined them. I do not recall offers or interest from SURVIVOR or TOTO.
Mark Balogh: You joined forces with YNGWIE MALMSTEEN in 1988 for the “Odyssey” album. It was certainly Yngwie’s most commercially successful album and obviously Yngwie is hugely influence by Ritchie Blackmore and you were in only a few years removed from RAINBOW and their most commercially successful period. Did Yngwie pursue you because of those reasons?
Joe Lynn Turner: It was record company executive Jim Lewis who really got us together. His thought was along the lines that Yngwie needed a well-known singer and major players in the band to make his act more marketable and take his talent to the next level of commercial acceptance. I do think Polygram did the right thing and the record we made helped launch him to a wider public arena… beyond the technical neo-classical prodigy.
Mark Balogh: In 1991, you joined DEEP PURPLE for the excellent “Slaves & Masters” album and it seems some would classify the band as part Purple and part RAINBOW with some even dubbing it “Deep Rainbow”! Did you face any flack at the time from fans?
Joe Lynn Turner: We took a lot of hits, especially me. Hardcore fans, especially in the UK, they wanted the “Machine Head” version of DP back and this meant that some of them may have not really listened to the album… they had an emotional reaction because they wanted the other lineup. We had a great album, great tour, played in areas that most bands were afraid to go during the Gulf War. Now PURPLE sounds more like “Deep Dregs.” It’s not a bad sound at all, just different.
Mark Balogh: HYou also started work on a follow-up record with Purple. How much, if any of that work ended up being “The Battle Rages On” record?
Joe Lynn Turner: There are two tracks that I know of for sure…“Stroke of Midnight” (“One Man’s Meat”) and “Lonely for You.” There might be one more.
Mark Balogh: What made you decided to go back to your solo career in 1995 with the release of “Nothings Changed”?
Joe Lynn Turner: After PURPLE, I had taken a break from being in the music scene 100% of the time. After a couple years, I wanted to get back into it but with a very personal and organic sounding album, which I think this is. I am considering re-doing one or more of the songs on this record because the fans seem to want to hear it plus it’s a hard disc to find.
Mark Balogh: I recently saw you in concert (Clifton, NJ) with your solo band. They (along w/ yourself) were absolutely great! Can you tell us a little bit about the current lineup you’ve been playing with?
Joe Lynn Turner: Karl Cochran, Greg Smith, Carmine Giglio, Mike Sorrentino… all of them have incredible musical resumes and pedigrees. Probably most notable as far as my history goes (most) were members of RAINBOW and BLACKMORE’S NIGHT. That’s not why they are in my band though. It’s because I’ve known these guys before and worked with them before I formed the JLT Band and before they worked with RAINBOW or BLACKMORE’S NIGHT. But that’s all OK.
Mark Balogh: You’ve also played some shows recently in Europe & Japan with another former RAINBOW singer namely Graham Bonnet. How did this alliance form between you two and can you tell us a little bit about those shows?
Joe Lynn Turner: It was a promoter’s idea and ended up being a good one. I toured with him in Japan and Finland. He’s a great guy and singer plus easy to get along with. The shows were kind of like a tribute to RAINBOW… people loved it!
Mark Balogh: You are fresh off your appearance at the melodicrock.com 10th Anniversary concert in South Bend, IN. Can you tell us how Andrew McNeice got you involved with his show and tell us a little about your performances on the day?
Joe Lynn Turner: I have known Andrew for many years… we’ve done a few interviews and I am a big supporter of his website. So, when he asked me it was a “no brainer” decision. I was in! It was a great time and I had a blast! Great to see all these guys I performed with and the audience was really responsive. I hope it helped Andrew and his website.
Mark Balogh: Since you both sang for Yngwie Malmsteen at one time did you and JEFF SCOTT SOTO share any good Yngwie “stories” while together at the show in So. Bend? LOL
Joe Lynn Turner: : There are so many stories… I could fill a book… LOL! Let’s just say that Yngwie’s reputation precedes him. I am not going to let the cat out of the bag because some of the stories are things we may not want to see in print… LOL! Jeff’s stories are different but still the same in a way because of Yngwie’s personality and work ethic. We call it the “Yngwie Experience.” Like Disney… he’s a destination… LOL! People who have worked with him have this bond just like solders in the same platoon or foxhole.
Mark Balogh: Being in this business as long as you have, what are some of the things that most surprised/overwhelmed you about the industry, what are some of the things that most disillusioned you?
Joe Lynn Turner: Surprised? I am always surprised by the reactions of fans and their take on the music. I never know how they will react and it makes life interesting. Overwhelmed? By the pressure to try to live up to legend standards… trying to be brilliant all the time. Disillusioned? The business is an actual business and not about art and talent. It’s more about marketing, selling a product than delivering real art. Not many that are in the business end of it know music. The “suits” are more marketers than musicians.
Mark Balogh: Artists will always be ‘all for’ their new material, as it is fresh and is their current expression but with all the albums you have appeared on, can you name some of your favorites pieces of work from your back catalog?
Joe Lynn Turner: “Bad Blood” and “I Believe” from “Nothing’s Changed”. Under-rated albums like “Holy Man” and “Slam” all contain great material. It’s tough to answer this question because I’d rather get feedback from the fans as to what they want to hear.
Mark Balogh: Now let’s finish up with a fun little word association game… I’ll throw some words, names, and dates at you and you could give me your thoughts on them.
- JLT: What about it? LOL! “Rescue You.” It was a great time for me. Promoting a solo record, touring. Good year for wine, too, LOL!
- Tony Bruno
- JLT: Excellent player and guy!
- MOTHER’S ARMY
- JLT: Bad luck, great project.
- BIG NOIZE
- Mark Wexler
- JLT: Best friend, manager, trustworthy.
- HIT SQUAD
- JLT: A blast… lots of fun.
- Jack Ponti
- JLT: Just great. One of the best characters I know. Like family… you may not talk to him for a long time but when you do, it’s like time has stood still.
- BLue Deville
- JLT: A milestone, a lot of fun! I learned a lot from it. Great experience!
- JLT: Turning the corner… and then eventually starting up my solo career again. Moving on… out goes the old in comes the new!
- Herb Newman
- JLT: Magiman… photographer and has a costume shop, great guy!
Mark Balogh: So what does the future hold for Joe Lynn Turner in terms of recording, touring, etc.? Are you working on any projects at the moment?
Joe Lynn Turner: Recording and getting ready to do a second SUNSTORM is what I am doing as of right now during this interview.
Mark Balogh: Joe, I guess that’s about it for now. Is there anything you would like to add?
Joe Lynn Turner: Thanks to friends and fans who stand behind me and support me. They are the main reason why I do this. Reaching out and connecting with them! Thanks and Happy Holidays to all!
Mark Balogh: Thanks so much Joe for talking with us here at Rockeyez.com. It’s been a pleasure and continued good luck in your career.
Joe Lynn Turner: Thank you for your support!