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Monday, June 4, 2012

Joe Lynn Turner: On Near-Punch Outs With Blackmore, Magic With Malmsteen In New Interview

Obi-Dan from Geeks Of Doom spoke with legendary singer Joe Lynn Turner recently about a number of topics. A few excerpts from the chat follow: 

Geeks of Doom: A lot of people have talked about their troubled relationship with Ritchie Blackmore, but how did you get on with him? 

Joe Lynn Turner: "The only difficulty we had once was we were going to have a punch out and we threw everybody out of the dressing room and we were staring at each other, glass of scotch in hand, yelling, ‘Fuck you!’ All of this kind of stuff. I said, ‘You want to hit me? Go ahead but you better take your best shot because I’m coming back (at you).’ It just kind of ended into a drinking session and talking it out and everybody was against the door kind of listening, I’ll never forget that; it was like a comedy and we ended up laughing hysterically about the whole thing and because of what jerks we were and how foolish we were about things! We thought about it: what’s the problem here? You’re the singer, you’re the guitar player. There’s no problem here, you’re doing a different job than I am. We got along great, I can honestly say Ritchie and I had a very frank, honest relationship. He had said to me, ‘I don’t like to get too close to people’ and we’re drinking again and I said, ‘I know that this will come to an end at some point.’ …but I think there were evil forces at work beneath this. I was surprised (at) the Stranger In Your Ass album or whatever it is (laughs – referring to the final Rainbow album Stranger In Us All) because he had promised me to do a third Rainbow album and I thought it would have been brilliant just three, done. Except for the EPs and all that other crap and that would have sort of rounded out the trilogy, that would have been great. I was a little surprised but in getting friendly with Doogie (White, lead vocals on Stranger...) …Doogie kept telling me that he kept saying, ‘Sing it like Joe Lynn Turner, sing it like Joe Lynn Turner would sing it!’ (laughs)" 

Geeks of Doom: From Rainbow you worked with Yngwie Malmsteen, who is another ‘character’… 

Joe Lynn Turner: "Oh isn’t he?! I love him to death, though. He’s so crazy. I’ll tell you in one simple way we made up tour shirts that on the front said ‘you can’t intimidate me’ and on the back said ‘I toured with Yngwie’! (laughs) He puts you through the ringer. He put everybody through the ringer and as Nietzsche says ‘what does not destroy me makes me stronger’ and I think that’s how we all came out: much stronger individuals, much more knowledgeable. Psychotic, but knowledgeable! Look, Yngwie’s a brilliant guitarist, I’m not going to take that away from him. He’s got the gift. He said he saw the schematics of everything in his mind before he even did it. I think I brought him out quite a bit, I think we had the best album of his career, probably one of the best of mine. I mean we really had some magic going on and I was just disappointed that we didn’t do at least a second one, I thought that could have been even more brilliant. But he’s a tough guy to get along with and he seems to feel that he has to control everything and I think by witness of the Odyssey album that he doesn’t have to control it…and it’s just a cornerstone album that I think many people still have in their libraries because how do you get much better than that? The combination between his style, playing, song content, commercial content for Christ’s sake; it’s not a dirty word…it used to be a dirty word and I still can’t understand why. The same thing with Purple, the whole idea with that was to make Purple a bit more commercial but yet still retain Purple and I think we did that (on the) Slaves and Masters album." 

Geeks of Doom: When you joined Yngwie and Purple and Rainbow you were joining well established bands. You not only seemed to fit in well, but your arrival often triggered their most successful period. 

Joe Lynn Turner: "Well how about that! Thank you, I’ll take that as a compliment…I took enough shit for it, you know, in the press and I had to prove myself. I remember somebody saying once ‘You know you’ve got some big shoes to fill’ and I said ‘I’m going to make my own footprints.’ I was arrogant about it because in those days you had to be because if you weren’t arrogant about it and strong and had that fire of desire to do this thing you were going to be crushed, just crushed. I think that I had to have that, I think that also sharpened my skills and also gave me a bit more of a pointed direction because I had so much coming down on me. When you’re on the pitch if it’s not a pressure game you could relax…you always try your best but when you’re under pressure and it’s in the finals you really got to show your stuff. It was the fact that I was always in the finals with these bands because they were well established, legendary or whatever, even Yngwie he was this gifted guitar player. Somebody had to come up and it was me…Yngwie he was jealous in my opinion of that, he really felt put out which I can’t understand because again just like Ritchie and I figured out: you’re the guitar player, I’m the singer. It’s Plant and Page, it’s Mick and Keith; it’s what rock and roll was always made of." 

Read more at Geeks Of Doom.


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