IN THE STORE!
JOE LYNN TURNER
Submitted By Caroline Walsh on
This is James and Cassie and we're pleased and honored to have Mr. Joe Lynn Turner, with us.
How are you doing today? We guess we'll pull a Sludge and start out by asking you to talk about your current project which would be your new cd �The Usual Suspects�. So, tell us a little something about it, if you could. (In response to this question, Mr. Turner kindly provided the following):
THE OVERALL SOUND OF "The Usual Suspects"
"I have been defined many times in my career and identified with many rock genres from blues to metal. This particular album is a return to my more melodic rock sound. In a sense, it is where I come from according to people who first got to know my work with Rainbow. In some ways it is better written than my previous disc, 'JLT.' It's got bigger choruses, stronger hooks and amazing production. Yet just because I am using the word 'melodic' does not mean it is wimpy. It has a definite edge to it. Like good sex....you have the rock 'em sock 'em moments and extremely tender moments. It is multi dimensional."
"For those who may not know, 'The Usual Suspects' is the title for a Kevin Spacey movie but that really is not where the album title came from. My collaborators and I were sitting around having lunch and joked about how we have always referred to each other as 'the usual suspects.' And then we thought, 'what a great name for the CD.' That is what my manager, Mark Wexler and I have always called everyone who plays on this album. This has always been an inside joke. So now it's out in the open. The musicians on this record are people who have always been there for me, happy to help out and devote their time. We all toured together as the 'JLT All Star Band' in the 1990s and they all have played on one or more of my albums in the past."
"Chris Marksbury, who I worked with on "JLT" returned with some great material. My dear friend and producer, Bob Held contributed. An old friend, who I worked with in the past, Vick Le Car, wrote some songs and I also collaborated with my fellow Hit Squad buddy, Ricky Byrd, who worked with Joan Jett and other artists."
* Guitars: Al Petrelli (Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Savatage, Trans Siberian Orchestra)
* Guitars: Karl Cochran (Ace Frehley, Steve Marriot, Eric Singer)
* Drums: John O'Reilly (Rainbow, Ritchie Havens, Blue Oyster Cult)
* Keyboards: Paul Morris (Rainbow, Doro)
* Keyboards: Andy Burton (Ian Hunter)
* Bass: David Z (ZO2, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Trans Siberian Orchestra)
* Backing Vocals: Nancy Bender (Internationally popular session singer)
"We recorded at Al and Karl's home studios. When we needed a big studio for drums we went to Bear Tracks in Suffern, New York. That's the same studio Rainbow recorded part of 'Bent Out of Shape' and where I mixed 'Rescue You' at back in the 1980s. It's a great place! We also used Paul Morris's home studio. It's really amazing now with the technology that you can record in such intimate places. I actually laid down most of the vocal tracks and keyboards in my own home. We moved the studio equipment into the living room on the lower floor. One of my wife's clinics is also in our house so she and I had to coordinate my recording time so that it did not conflict with her clients' appointments. It was a challenge but also very comfortable to be able to sing in my own living room. Gary Tole, who has also worked with Bonjovi and other artists, engineered again. We also used him on 'JLT' and really like his work."
"As long as you have the right technology you sound just as good if not better whether you are recording in someone's home or a studio. The key is a decent sounding room. In my case, we experimented with the vocals in my lower level living room and it sounded great. No soundproofing at all but hopefully we did not keep the neighbors awake. And if we did, maybe they liked what they heard. Gary Tole's rig is portable and had everything we needed. The beauty of this style of recording is there is no clock ticking away, no worries about how much studio time you are taking. This enhances the creative process. It's also one of the reasons the album took so long to record. Because we had this luxury of using mobile units and home studios we did not want to sacrifice quality and sometimes quality takes time."
THE CREATIVE PROCESS...
"We re-wrote 4 tracks and had to cut 4 or 5 good songs that we hope can re-surface later at some point. We shifted direction a bit. The decision to make it a bit more melodic came very natural. For example, the song, 'Power Of Love' on the demo was much lighter and when we did the track it ended up being much heavier. The song transformed itself in the process. That is really how it is supposed to happen�the magic of the process of creativity. You never really know what is going to come out. It is like being pregnant with a child and not knowing what that child will look or be like until birth! You may have a pre-conceived idea but you are always somewhat surprised by the outcome."
True story. The rise and fall of an individual. Someone who went from prominence to anonymity.
WHAT CAN I DO
Wrote with Ricky Byrd. Rocky, blues, uptempo. It's a "have fun" kind of number. About a guy screwing up with his girl, what he can do to get her back. Jerry Lee Lewis piano stylings.
About temptation. How many times you keep repeating bad behavior and patterns. You know it doesn't really serve you in a positive way but you do it anyway.
It's been around for two years but did not fit the other albums. Mid tempo. A soulful Street of Dreams type song. Rhythm and Blues tinged with harmonies. About someone who has missed out on love. Begging the question are you ready to be really loved?
REST ON MY LIFE
Having a fantasy about loving someone and then finding someone who fulfills your fantasy. Melodic. Big chorus.
Uptempo rocker. A road song about a guy who gives up everything, including love, for his music. His mistress is his music.
Political situation. People who really make money on the misery of man or at the expense of others. Dark, heavy, moody.
INTO THE FIRE
Not seeing the truth. Afraid to take chances. Afraid to open your mind. You have to get into the fire and be burned by the truth sometimes.
About a back talking bitch of a woman. Her words just cut you to the bone, like a jacknife.
BALL AND CHAIN
About something or anyone that drags you down. In this case it was about a disease but we did not really describe that when we wrote it. It can mean many things to many people.
LIVE AND LOVE AGAIN
It is about someone still searching for that love. After a broken love affair they are still searching and asking themselves if they will ever find true love?
POWER OF LOVE
Anyone or any place where there is a struggling against the odds to make things work and the incredible power that love has to beat those odds.
I just recently picked up "The Usual Suspects" and honestly am really enjoying it. It doesn't have any attempts to "fit the current climate" or "adapt to change" or what have you... It's what we'd expect and want from a Joe Lynn Turner album, melodic hard rock. Why do you think so many artists from your genre try to "adapt to change?" And, if I can ask, why haven't you?
Because I would rather be more true to myself. Many of them have done it to stay alive and perhaps for money. You can't blame them for trying but something does not ring true or authentic about it in many cases.
Do you think music has gotten to the point where metal just got so loud and unmelodic, if that's a word, that it almost has to come back in order to sustain itself?
Yeah it has gone off the hook. Screaming death metal speed metal is often just loud for the sake of being loud ror so it seems. It seems there are a lot of players but not much music. .
"The Usual Suspects" is listed as an import here in the US. Is there any plans of a US release date?
It is for sale to USA residents via my website. However, as far as a USA label release...no definite plans as of this moment.
You are due to join the New Japan Philharmonic at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, in early August, to perform some Rainbow classics, how did that come about?
They actually contacted me a year ago but my schedule was booked up. However, it was something I definitely wanted to do so we decided to wait until this August to do it and I am packing for Japan as we speak!
You've had occasion to work and tour with many legendary acts and managed to become a legend yourself. When you were a kid, what band or musician did you hear that made you say, "I want to do this for a living!"
Deep Purple was one for sure. But it was probably Grand Funk RR that provided that definitive moment for me when I knew I had to continue on with music and pursue it seriously as a career. I saw GFRR at Madison Square Garden and the rest is history! Thankfully, I later met Mark Farner and thanked him for my "life."
Did you think you'd still be doing this, in 2006, back in '76 when you were with Fandango?
I never really thought about it. I took one day after the next. It's more than 30 years and here I am still doing it. I'm thankful and blessed. Thanks to all my friends and fans.
One of our complaints about rock bands in the current state is that few of the new bands seem to be having fun and nobody seems to have much by way of a personality. Do you think the "Rock Star" is an endangered species?
It's a dying breed. I do not see many that fit that "name" even though the media will call them rock stars or infer they are "rock" stars. You see rap stars on the cover of major consumer rock mags. This sort of thing has denegrated the title. It's a sign of the times. To a be a rock star in the past there were points you had to cover. You had to be a bit arrogant, usually somewhat to very talented and have a special visage/image.
You're heading to my neck of the woods in Tucson, Arizona for KLPX Fest 2006. The line up for that show includes yourself, Blue Oyster Colt, and Alice Cooper. That is one hell of a line up! Two part question for you, are you looking forward to this historic concert?
It's gonna be tough coming out from LA and doing a daytime show. But I am looking foward to it. I was on KLPX and talked to the morning show about it as well. I am friends with Buck, have spoken with Alice, Pat Travers and I go way back. It will be comfortable.
And second, with a line up generating as much attention around here as it is, would you ever consider packaging that bill up and touring with those guys?
Sure, let's hit the road. I'm down with that! It would be great!
As a musician, does it ever get under your skin when you turn on a rock radio station and hear a song that isn't as good as something you've recorded yet gets a lot more air play?
Sometimes yeah it pisses me off but I do not let it eat away at me. It's only a passing thought when it happens.
Your collaboration with Akira Kajiyama ("Fire Without Flame") has been recently released. We�re heard it described as �a must for all melodic hard rock fans� and proudly having a copy, we agree. Can you tell us a little about the album?
Akira wrote the music tracks and I wrote the melodies and lyrics. Akira plays all the instruments and I do all the vocals so the project is billed as "Akira Kajiyama + Joe Lynn Turner." I am very proud of the record but as for telling you about what I think...what I think is not as important as what the fans think. We have received some great reviews and positive comments and thanks for your kind words also!.
We're interviewing some up and coming rockers like a new band called Big Cock (they're putting the hard back in hard rock, you know). Any words of advice for any aspiring musicians trying to get into the business?
Get a reality TV show LOL! Then you become this huge icon and in some cases, without all the hard work and time you needed to put in back in the pre-reality TV days.
We recently interviewed Erik Turner of Warrant. They have a really good new album out but say they'll only be doing one song off the album at concerts because the fans want the classics. What can we expect to hear at a Joe Lynn Turner concert? Anything off the "Fire Without Flames" album or the classics from Deep Purple, Rainbow, and your solo stuff?
A mix of everything...Rainbow and DP classics, some of my solo material. As far as FWOF...that's not in the set yet but it would probably be a great live song to play.
If you were to put one song you performed on in a time capsule to be preserved for people to hear 1,000 years from now, what song would you pick to sum up your contribution to rock 'n' roll?
One song does not sum up a career. Throw this question out to the fans.
By the same token, what song, if any, do you wish you hadn't performed and wish you could erase from your catalog?
No... even the mistakes have a purpose.
KLPX Fest 2006, the classic rock festival is coming up, in August, in Tucson, AZ. Are you looking forward to playing on a bill with friends Alice Cooper, Pat Travers and Blue Oyster Cult?
Absolutely! It's even more fun when you know the people on the bill and are friends with them and in this case, I am!
What do you think the biggest misconception is about Joe Lynn Turner?
I am not sure what conceptions people have. Maybe that when they meet me that I am so accessible and friendly? And some who do not know my "resume" very well think I am ONLY a hard rock or metal singer and writer which is not true. I am not miopic.
If you have a one word answer that sums the person up, that will do. If you'd like to share a thought or memory, we welcome that as well! Alice Cooper
Icons of rock and great golfer
Ronnie James Dio
A gentleman rock star
Great friend and talent...we go way back
Shin-ju and amazing talent
Philosopher of rock
I'd like to thank Mr. Joe Lynn Turner for spending this time with us at the Metal Epicenter. Do you have any closing words you'd like to share with your fans, site links, or anything like that?
Thanks to everyone for their support! I am humbled by your devotion and passion for my work. Thanks to you and your affiliated websites for giving me this opportunity to chat with you as well. Peace, JLT
Once again, thank you for doing this.
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