Joe Lynn Turner Interview

by Adam Harrold

Were it not the way things were done on RockSomething, there should really be no need to give Joe Lynn Turner an introduction. Having sung on Rainbow, Deep Purple and Fandango records, many solo albums and in the Hughes/Turner Project, surely the man deserves to be recognised by anybody on a site about rock. Adam Harrold was very fortunate to get hold of one of the greatest rock vocalists around to talk to him about the latest album, working with Blackmore and Malmsteen and of course that voice…

RockSomething: "The Usual Suspects" has been received very positively - seemingly more so than "JLT" and "Slam" - why do you think this is? Has the new record label helped?

JLT: I think this is because the new album is overall more melodic rock and closer t the Rainbow sound that fans seem to best associate me with. Those 2 other discs had songs that had the sound but not as many of them. As for the record label, I'd rather not compare one label to another because I have good relationships with all of them but I will say that Frontiers did an exceptionally great job promoting this and it was great working with their staff.

I really enjoyed "The Usual Suspects", one of the main reasons, is because your vocals are slightly more reminiscent of your Rainbow days. Would you agree? If so, was this a conscious effort, or did it just kind of happen?

I agree and I guess you could say it was done on purpose. I had heard some talk that was not true at all and that was that some fans had thought that I had lost my vocal range because I was singing more in my lower register in recent years This was because I thought the songs would sound best sung that way it was not because I lost my range. I can still do 4 octaves (at least) and on this new album I did try and show off the fact that I can still use my entire range. Thanks for your kind words.

How long did it take to do the vocals?

I can't remember exactly but we did take longer to do everything on this record because it was done in private home studios including my own. The technology available makes it possible for you to get a great sound without going to a big studio and then paying by the hour.

What are your favourite parts of the album?

I know this sounds cliché but it's an honest answer and that is...I like all aspects of it in a different way and for different reasons. My songs are like my children...all different but still special to me in some way.

When and how did you discover that you could sing not only incredibly well, but in so many different styles?

As a kid I would sing anything on the radio. I especially liked Motown and soul. I lived in a racial community....among a lot of black people. I used to serve in Catholic mass as an alter boy and then later that day I would go to the black church and sing in their gospel choir with my friends.

Your songs quite often talk about love and the loss of love, are they often based on real experiences, or are they sometimes fantasy?

Both. Sometimes they will come from a conversation I have with someone. A person might mention a situation they are in and that inspires me to write a song. Sometimes I will read something that will give me an idea.

Are you enjoying the song writing experience more as a solo artist, or were there perhaps times with Ritchie Blackmore or Glenn Hughes that were better?

I cannot say better I would have to say different. When you write solo you are left to your own one to disagree with you. I do not enjoy one way or another more. The creative process is always exhilarating. 12 hours can fly by if you are what I call "in the zone," creatively. I think this is the same in any creative profession.

Thinking of song writing, Malmsteen is someone you worked with on the "Odyssey" album, and he's well-known for writing completely by himself - was that different for you?

The album was one of the best Yngwie or I had done. In my opinion it launched his career to a higher level, commercially. He has been chasing the formula and has not really found it with others since then in my opinion. Was it different? Different for him, because he was challenging it.

Many people seem quick to suggest that Blackmore is a hard man to work with, yet you seemed to get on fantastically, why do you think this was? And do you still talk?

I think it is because he and I had mutual appreciation for each other and what we could contribute plus we both have a sincere appreciation for the art of the song. Ritchie and I have not had a conversation recently but that is not because we have any problems. He has been busy with his Blackmore's Night project and I have all these things I am always involved with. I would love to talk to Ritchie again and it would be great to work with him again as well.

Rainbow always had fantastic lead singers - but do you think that you were the one to make the albums more accessible to a wider audience?

Yes, thanks, I believe that is true. Thanks again for the compliment.

What have been some of the highpoints of your career?

Too many to name but probably some of the great shows we had with Rainbow such as at the Budokan in Japan. And, then being asked to join Deep Purple.

And low points… Disappointments?

It was disappointing what happened with Deep Purple. I would have liked to at least finish the next studio album with the band that we had started. There were some amazing songs in the works that may never see the light of day.

Which albums are you the most proud of - and why?

Like I said... they are all like children to me. I like them all for different reasons.

Many people might not realise that you played guitar with Fandango and later drums with Heaven. Do you play any other instruments!? And have you never been tempted to do all of an album yourself?

Yeah I can program machines... I can play bass and guitar and could do colour on keys. But as primarily a singer and guitarist I think to do an album where I played everything would be kind of masturbatory. I like team sports and working with people is a team sport.

What are your plans for the future?

I am planning some USA dates in California. There is also some talk about a few shows in Russia and Japan. I just finished working with Japanese guitarist Akira Kajiyama and that disc should be out soon. I am still playing some Hit Squad dates. There is so much going on and in the works I even lose track! Check the website and it will keep you up to date with all the news that is confirmed.

Finally, is there anything you'd like to say to readers of the site/your fans?

Thank you all for your support. Your support and encouragement helps to motivate me and keep me going!

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